Technology is the Future of Aviation Industry

Technology is the Future of Aviation Industry

Technology is an interesting word.  A common definition for technology is “the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry.” As we begin to come out of the COVID downturn, post pandemic expansion could grow at a more rapid pace of growth than anyone could have anticipated. While aircraft manufacturers and equipment suppliers are constantly making technological advancements, producing newer and more amazing machines to operate continuously, the truth is, airlines cannot adapt quickly enough.

Aircraft and engines are becoming more autonomous, and aircraft systems are being designed to function without depending on the pilot or the technician. We are starting to see headway with electric jet engines strong enough to make worthwhile flights. Aircrafts are being built from lighter and more durable composite materials. Considerable investments have been made in the creation of biofuels, which also would reduce emissions. Airlines and FBO’s are making strides in wifi connectivity both on the ground and in the air. Working wireless connectivity and entertainment have almost become an expectation from customers.

More importantly, they are communicating more data to air carriers and OEMs on their own, and are becoming more reliable and safer because of this. However, with the cost to implement significant upgrades along with the time to implement into an operational fleet, it almost seems the deck is stacked against the air carrier. But is it?

Despite the cost of implementing newer technology, modifying aircraft as much as twenty years old, and continuing to meet the demands of the industry are just a few of the challenges that hamstring air carriers from catching up to the technological curve. With this comes a different type of technology – the ability to implement these modernizations on dated airframes and engines. The crux of the matter isn’t whether we have the technology to increase efficiency, revenue, safety and the quality of the passenger experience. The issue is in having the foresight to know what technology to implement, when to implement it, and finding innovate ways to do so.

Data driven innovation may seem cliché, but it is the key to implementing technology (or better harnessing it) in the next decade. Unfortunately, many aviation firms are either overwhelmed with data and suffer from “analysis paralysis” syndrome that everyone hates to hear about. Many others have also taken rather poor care of their data, which either makes it unreliable or it isn’t telling the whole story. Before project management can even begin to implement new technology, many fail to dive into their data to clearly see what their best options are.

This may seem rather crazy or even impossible, but if you have worked with air carriers or other aviation firms, you’ll know that speed to completion is often the number one objective. Many feel that there simply isn’t enough time to scrub data, analyze it, and then put a reasonable project plan together. Then come the project extensions, cost increases and poor KPI performances. And then more nay-sayers commenting how most technological ventures are gimmicks and fail to provide the promised value.

Although it will take time, consider it a onetime upfront cost. Whether you are in the aviation business or the one offering the technology, the integrity of the data is crucial to the furthering of the business partnership. Once you have command of the data, you can make reliable predictions, realistic projections, and meet or beat the expectations of the product. Change management becomes much less volatile, and your return on investment is realized.  This should lead, at last, to a decline in the one metric about change programs that we all know — failure rate. And along the way, we may finally solve the great puzzle of why so many technological transformation efforts fail to meet expectations.

Weekly Brief

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