What to expect in 2020 – 5 upcoming trends for Business Aviation

What to expect in 2020 – 5 upcoming trends for Business Aviation

As we approach the mid of September, with the end of the European Formula 1 period and the start of the school across most of the continent, activity in Business Aviation starts to dwindle. It is the time when operators look back into the traffic-heavy summer months and compare it with the previous years. Let us take a look at what the new year may have in store for the business aviation industry in the coming year. Let us look into what can be improved and what can be cut entirely or, for the especially courageous, looking into the crystal ball to find the next big trend of the industry. Let’s do just that and predict the top 6 trends for 2020 in Business Aviation. 

1. More technology

This prediction does not even need the magic crystal ball. Over the past years, we have seen the transformation of pretty much all aspects of Business Aviation into a more technology-heavy side. From crew scheduling to document management, many tasks that were previously painstakingly done by hand are now automatically managed. Algorithms and machine learning are no longer sci-fi terms, even for the traditionally slow to adapt BizAv world. Another area warming up to the latest technology is ground handling. Plenty of companies are offering comprehensive solutions for the management of FBOs and their core business, making handlers move away from paper and whiteboards to track requests. Further on, we will probably see more and more announcements concerning drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), with the commercial introductions of drone flights coming ever closer. 

2. More online brokerage

The next trend is also tech-related and has been touted for a couple of years already. Stratajet, PrivateFly, Victor, and others launched the trend of fast and easily accessible online brokers some time ago. Being able to see the expected prices has been proven to be a key decision-point for many business jet passengers, especially for the millennial traveler. And why wouldn’t it be? Time is precious, and having to wait for the traditional broker to quote back might be less desirable than getting an immediate quote that, in the end, might be off by a small percentage. Although we can expect to continue seeing both types of brokerages in the near future, online brokers will continue seeing their market share increase in 2020. 

3. More sustainability

Speaking of millennials, what else is of utmost importance to them, besides the immediate availability? That’s right, environmental concerns. We have already seen the frenzy around the sustainable alternative jet fuel (SAJF) at last year’s EBACE, and this is bound to continue. We have also seen more and more airports looking into offering SAJF, with fuel providers trying to appear greener and more sustainable. And no, this is not only an issue for the concerned millennial. Other companies focussing on a green reputation will not want to be an easy target of criticism when it comes to the usage of their private jet fleet. Any initiative promising to reduce the carbon footprint will find it easier to gain backers and interested parties. 

4. More economic uncertainty 

Talks of an upcoming economic downturn have been common, and the first signs have already appeared in Business Aviation. As the industry is usually quickly affected by the bad moods of the international markets, the number of flights might see a noticeable decrease. If there are fewer flights and the competition further increases, smaller operators might struggle in their fight against operating costs. Apart from the more drastic and permanent solution, options like buyouts or group purchasing organizations are appearing. As they promise cost savings and efficiency gains, small operators will have to decide how to handle a period of less activity without hitting rock bottom. 

5. More regulations

By now, pretty much everyone in Business Aviation is (or should) be aware of the ADS-B deadline. For the US, it will come sooner, in January 2020. Maintenance providers are reporting decreasing availability for the installation of the required components. If you are still looking into the options, it is now time to act as the deadline will most probably not pushed back, as many in BizAv had hoped. But not only ADS-B is looming on the horizon. Brexit is still a complete uncertainty, and especially British operators are concerned which framework will work for them in the time after Brexit (eventually) happens. Add to that the new regulations like CORSIA or voluntary regulations like IS-BAO, and you will understand why more operators are dedicating more and more time to this topic. 

               As we all know, if there is one certainty in Business Aviation, it’s the uncertainty. While the general direction (=using technology to reduce costs and stand out) might seem more or less clear for most players in the BizAv market, the practical usage and outcomes are yet to be defined. All of which poses challenges for many of the traditionally oriented companies, as they might struggle to commit, leaving their well-established comfort zones. However, this also means that the rewards for the ones committing are higher. Depending on the economic situation, we might see the results of those decisions rather quickly. 

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