National Aviation Day is coming up on the 19th of August 2022. On this day, the aviation sector would probably breathe a sigh of relief that the pandemic is over. The sector had suffered due to the pandemic with a drastic fall in bookings and revenues. Thankfully, things are improving now.
At this juncture, it is important to understand what the road ahead is. What would happen to air travel in the coming years? Most importantly, what is the future of air travel? When we move into 2035, how would air travel be? We look at the answers to all these questions.
The Future of Air Travel – Trends and Predictions
1. Concerns of travelers
Air travelers are today much more conscious of the environment. A study showed that more than half of air travelers expressed concern about climate change and wanted air travel to be carbon neutral. It is now up to the aviation sector to respond to this. Already, efforts are on to try and make air travel more sustainable. This will accelerate in the coming decade.
Price and connections are two other issues that air travelers are concerned about. This is already apparent in booking websites. The sites allow air travelers to search for flights based on price and the number of connections. Increasing costs are a concern and this is something the aviation sector needs to focus on.
2. Improved in-flight entertainment
In the future, improved in-flight entertainment can be expected. Apart from screens for movies and shows, there would be other options too. Gaming options would increase in the future. There are even proposals to offer e-courses during the flight. Any interested passenger on long flights can complete a short course by the time the flight lands.
3. Immersive experiences
Air travelers can expect immersive experiences during the flight. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality would be used in flights. British Airways has already introduced VR headsets on a trial basis. This could become common in the years to come. There are also measures to focus on passenger wellness. Lighting that helps in regulating the circadian cycle and reducing noise has already been introduced by Panasonic. These trends will continue to pick up.
4. The use of air taxis
Air taxis or flying cars that would be helpful for short journeys have been spoken about for some time. Aviation firms are working on this concept and in the next decade, this could very well be a reality. The idea is to create air taxis that are powered by electricity. These air taxis would be eco-friendly and useful for short-duration flights and local trips. It is expected that a 5-seat air taxi can be operational by 2025.
5. Supersonic flights can be back
The Concorde used to be a craze in the last century but went out of business. There is a plan to bring back supersonic flights. It is expected that by 2029, a supersonic flight would start operations. These flights would travel faster than the speed of sound and would make long journeys faster.
6. Innovations in cabin designs
Many innovations are planned in the design of the cabins. These could become a reality within a few years. Airplanes, particularly the budget ones, would want to accommodate more people on a flight to maximize their revenue. It is expected that double-decker flights may become operational. These flights would have more passengers without compromising customer comfort.
7. Planes powered by hydrogen
Hydrogen as a fuel is a clean source of energy. It could help the aviation industry improve its reputation by making it more eco-friendly. By 2035, we could have such hydrogen-powered planes in operation. These planes would not only be less harmful on the planet but would be larger and carry more passengers.
8. Increased automation
Automation is already being used by the aviation industry. The autopilot mode has been in operation for a long time. The future can bring in pilotless planes that can even land and take off automatically. Artificial Intelligence would make this a reality. Automation would also impact the aviation industry and increase customer convenience. There is a likelihood of automation replacing manual jobs that are repetitive in nature.
9. Improved airport operations
Airport operations would improve thanks to the use of new technologies. Baggage check-in and collection would become more customer friendly with the use of technologies like RFID. Passenger queues that are a major issue today could disappear. Smart terminals for passengers will ensure faster check-ins with screening, customs, and baggage handling all integrated. These functions could even happen off-site.