- Tech runs, paperwork walks: we’ve seen how aviation tech can advance at incredible speed in 2019…and then be left waiting for the rest of the industry to catch up.
Manufacturers of pilotless passenger aircraft are one such example. EHang, the pioneering Chinese technology company for autonomous aerial vehicles (AAVs), completed a passenger-carrying demonstration flight with the company’s 216 AAV in August 2019. But getting the tech right is only part of the challenge. Commercial pilotless operations won’t happen for any manufacturer until passengers and regulators are satisfied flights will be safe. AAVs will only soar when everyone, and everything, is ready.
The internet, too, is an example of technology being held back by outside forces. Crossing borders with ease, the internet is a huge boost to international cooperation and, therefore, private aviation. But the growing geopolitical fragmentation of the internet, a concept known as the ‘splinternet’, continued to cause our industry concern in 2019. Bizav suffers when digital walls block the flow of our data.
The feeling that bizav can’t exploit the full potential of technology right now can be frustrating. But, in the end, progress is an unstoppable force, as we will see in 2020.
- Supersonic aircraft: although Concorde retired in 2003, there is still huge global interest in supersonic aircraft. The development of supersonic private jets by companies including Aerion continued in 2019. Partnering with Boeing in February of this year, Aerion plans first flight of the company’s AS2 supersonic business jet in 2023.
- Sustainability on the agenda: 2019 was the year sustainable objectives came to the fore. This month, for example, Canada’s Harbour Air carried out a successful flight of a seaplane described by the company as “the world’s first all-electric commercial aircraft” – the first step in an exciting journey towards making our industry carbon-neutral.
- Move over, please: slot congestion at busy airports intensified in 2019. Across private aviation, we all understand the need for airports to handle huge numbers of passengers through airline flights planned months in advance. But we need to make sure private jets aren’t being squeezed out when capacity is tight.
- And keep moving…: it’s been great to see private aviation confidently embracing the benefits of mobile tech this year, including our new Schedaero crew app. And more customers than ever are sending requests through Avinode’s smartphone app. Mobile solutions will remain central to digitisation in 2020.
- Wait for it…: despite the fears of some industry insiders, the continuing uncertainty over when and if Brexit would happen in 2019 didn’t cause chaos for private aviation in the UK. We should all take confidence from that fact.
It’s nearly time to say goodbye to a fascinating 2019. Here at Avinode Group, we can’t wait to see what 2020 will bring.