Aviation in 2016: the highlights

January 9, 2017 in News for Clients

Aviation in 2016: the highlights

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2016 was a great year for aviation. But, before 2017 gets fully underway, we’ll review some of the highlights and trends that defined last year. This will help you prepare for the future and see where your strategy could improve.

Here’s our pick of the best:

Aviation growth

It’s a little early to find concrete year-on-year data to compare 2016 to previous years, but the estimated figures show clear growth in the aviation industry.

3.8 billion passengers – equivalent to over half the world’s population – were predicted to fly in 2016, up 300m on 2015.

Fuel costs have fallen by nearly 40% since 2014, while average airline profits have almost doubled over the same period. A mid-year report indicated 2016 would be the most profitable year ever for aviation, with combined global profits set to grow 12% to almost £30bn.

At the same time, average airfares were expected to fall by 7%, further incentivising passengers to take to the skies.

A number of massive aircraft orders were made in 2016. Iran Air has signed contracts for 100 new Airbus liners and 80 new aircraft from Boeing (the latter in a deal worth over £12bn), while the Bombardier C Series had its best year ever in terms of net orders. Boeing’s total order numbers rose from 116 in 2015 to 139 in 2016.

Orders of this size mean airlines will soon be on the lookout for more flight staff, further extending a job market already suffering from a pronounced skills shortage.

Growth has been steady across the global aviation industry. However, the aviation market in Africa is set to be among the fastest growing markets (approx. 5% year-on-year growth), while China is looking to consolidate its position as the second largest aviation market with major infrastructure projects in 2017.

Technological advances

Solar Impulse 2 became the first solar-powered aircraft to circumnavigate the globe back in July, heralding a new age for alternative fuel systems.

3-D printing has now truly made its mark on aviation. The new Airbus A350 models feature over 1,000 custom 3-D printed components.

New inflight entertainment systems – such as Thales’ AVANT system – have been snapped up by the likes of Singapore Airlines, giving passengers a second screen that can be linked to their smartphone.

Virtual reality (VR) has been incorporated into pilot training in a bid to alleviate the aviation skills shortage. Singapore Technologies Engineering debuted their new VR training systems at a host of airshows in 2016.

With such an abundance of technological advances made during 2016, hiring managers should be looking to the millennial workforce for their strong technological skill set and absolute familiarity with digital tools.

Farnborough International Airshow

Taking place right next door, this bi-annual event was the highlight of the 2016 aviation calendar at AeroProfessional.

Opened by then-Prime Minister David Cameron in July, Farnborough International Airshow defied gloomy industry expectations and treacherous weather by generating orders for 856 aircraft, requests for 1,407 engineers and other commercial activity worth a combined total of over £100bn.

73,000 aviation industry players visited the show this year, and were treated to a host of new exhibits, as well as Boeing’s centenary display.

At the public show, visitors enjoyed an airshow that featured a broad selection of iconic aircraft from throughout history.

Regulatory changes

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called for governments to adopt regulations that align with ICAO’s policy guidance, IATA’s core principles on consumer protection and the Montreal Convention 1999 (MC99).

IATA and ICAO also held a seminar to look at concerns currently affecting the industry, most notably disruptive passenger behaviour. Participants concluded by calling for a multi-disciplinary approach that includes government representatives, airlines, airports, handlers, bars and restaurants.

There you have it – a round-up of the highlights that made 2016 a stand-out year for aviation. But, how do you intend to deal with the skills gaps such growth will inevitable create?

Call on AeroProfessional to help you make sense of aviation industry trends and adapt your staffing to meet ever-evolving requirements.

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