The Next Decade of Air Travel
Over the last 70 years, the global airline sector has been a source of untold technological advancement. Amid seemingly endless airline mergers and industry-wide business challenges, the “innovation factor” of air travel can be easy to forget – but it’s exciting to imagine what the next decade of air travel has in store.
As competition between carriers at has steadily increased over the last few years, many airline brands have been tight-lipped about their behind-the-scenes efforts to shape the next generation of air travel. But what we know for certain is that the next decade will continue to see advances in eco-friendly technology convenience, and consumer engagement. Here are just a few of the most interesting developments on the horizon.
Airlines Will Turn the Skies ‘Green’
Lowering emissions and increasing fuel efficiency has been a long-term priority of airlines for decades, and they’re making stunning progress: Research shows that today, the entire U.S. commercial aircraft fleet emits just one-third of the CO2 per passenger mile as it did in 1970.
In the years to come, the ‘green’ factor will play an even bigger role across the industry. A purely solar-powered aircraft recently completed a trip across a large portion of the Pacific Ocean from Hawaii to San Francisco (and lasted three days in flight without fuel), signaling the potential for solar energy to be harnessed across the airline space. In addition, industry stakeholders are expected to increasingly retrofit their fleets to make existing aircraft more aerodynamic (and thus faster and more fuel-efficient) and to optimize their air traffic management efforts to help reduce their carbon footprints.
So Long to Turbulence & Mechanical Delays
The in-air experience will be more pleasant for travelers of the future, as well, as more “connected” systems inside the aircraft will mitigate mechanical issues. Kevin Bowcutt, a Senior Technical Fellow at Boeing, told Travel & Leisure that he anticipates the planes of the future to have nervous systems that will help eliminate mechanical delays: “They’ll know not only when things are broken, but when parts are starting to decay or break down,” he said.
Turbulence may also become a thing of the past: Boeing is just one airline developing systems designed to help pilots view air patterns as far ahead as possible, and divert from choppy conditions sooner than they can today.
Passenger Experience Comes First
But a less bumpy ride may prove less important to airlines’ revenue than a better relationship between the carrier and its customers. To conquer their business challenges in the ever-changing online travel market, airlines increasingly recognize that they need to compete with online travel agencies and other aggregators (not just other carriers) to better “own” their customer base.
Beginning with the travel planning process, airlines of the future will be more engaged with passengers than ever – deploying stronger digital marketing strategies designed to drive loyalty by delivering greater value to return customers who book directly. Fully mobile-optimized airline websites and mobile booking, check-in, and security tools will also help airlines better engage consumers through digital messaging, targeted offers, and location-based promotions and partnerships. And maybe that will be the real innovation of the next decade: a new approach to creating long-term customer value.
To find out how many global airlines are already boosting digital customer engagement through performance marketing, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.