Commercial Aviation Trends 2023

What does 2023 have in store for commercial aviation? Many believe the industry is set for relatively smooth sailing after the turbulence of recent years. From a return to profitability to the advantages of connected aircraft and more, here are five commercial aviation trends for 2023.

Global Airline Industry Returns to Profitability

More than 4 billion passengers are expected to fly this year, prompting the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to announce the global airline industry will post a net profit of $4.7 billion in 2023, the first profitable year since 2019. Increased customer demand is good news for the industry and a sign of resilience post-pandemic.

5G Connectivity

Telecommunications companies are set to implement 5G by July 2023 after delaying 5G deployment in January 2022 due to concerns the frequency would interfere with aircraft’s essential systems. With a ruling by the European Commission in November 2022, airlines can provide 5G connectivity on planes in the EU. In the United States, the work to outfit aircraft with filters and radio altimeters to safely operate when 5G launches as mandated by the Federal

Aviation Administration should largely be complete by mid-2023. Once 5G networks are deployed into mission-critical applications such as aerospace and defense, it’s extremely important that Internet of Things (IoT) devices are designed to face the rigors of these environments. 5G will enable new and improved technologies including connected aircraft and more, and will bring about enhancements for both operators and passengers.

Electric Aircraft

The global airline industry approved a resolution in 2021 to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. In pursuit of that goal, many companies are working to develop electric aircraft. Like electric autos, electric aircraft rely on batteries to generate power. The challenge is to develop a battery that is light enough for flight. As battery technology continues to improve, electric aircraft will play a significant role in achieving aviation’s net-zero and sustainability goals.

Advanced Air Mobility

Vertical take-off/lift (VTOL) aircraft manufacturers have made significant progress in the past year. With dozens of eVTOL manufacturers around the world busy developing their aircraft, here are a few that have released their certification plans: Beta Technologies and Joby aims to certify by 2024, and Lilium in 2025. While the industry is excited to begin operations, there are still a few hurdles to overcome including battery technology challenges, regulatory and certification complexity, and limited infrastructure to support AAM. On the plus side, industry and authorities like NASA have been working side by side and have recently crash-tested an eVTOL concept. Expect more progress with Advanced Air Mobility in 2023.

Predictive Maintenance

Approximately 30% of delays are because of maintenance issues, according to PwC. The earlier airlines can catch issues the more flights take off, saving time and money. Modern and connected aircraft create more than 30GB of data each day that hold valuable insights regarding aircraft performance and potential issues. Using this data, airlines can proactively maintain their aircraft to keep operational.

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