Trends Outlook 2019

Current trends in aviation – the outlook for 2019

Jennifer Weitbrecht
2 pictures
6 minutes

2018 was another exciting year for aviation. Projects such as the Perlan Project and Odysseus are milestones that make history. There have also been many developments in the area of technology – new materials, technologies and an increasing focus on sustainability are changing aviation. We will give you the outlook for 2019 and what is likely to happen in the near future.

Review and outlook for 2019 – growth in the global aviation industry

The aviation industry recovered in 2018 according to Deloitte. Passenger aviation had a stable year thanks to the increasing demand for flights and air travel, amongst other things.

Further growth is also expected in 2019. An increase is forecast especially in the production of commercial aircraft. The number of orders placed for new aircraft remains high in the commercial aviation sector. This is also due to the rise in oil prices resulting in increased demand for the next generation of fuel-efficient aircraft.

Demand for commercial aircraft

Currently, the number of orders placed for commercial aircraft remains at an all-time high – at more than 14,000 aircraft. It is likely that the number of aircraft produced worldwide will increase to 38,000 within the next 20 years and an increase in production will be needed to continue to satisfy the demand.

A decline in wide-bodied aircraft, as the Airbus A380 for example, is expected again despite the overall increase in demand, partly due to the fact that airlines already have a stable fleet of this aircraft. Airlines will delay increasing their fleet wherever possible because it is likely that more efficient wide-bodied aircraft will be developed. The launch of the Boeing 737-8 and Airbus A321neo will reduce demand due to the enhanced potential of small aircraft today.

Challenges for the aviation industry

It is likely that aircraft manufacturers will increase growth in the industry through higher production rates, but this may result in supply chain disruptions. Suppliers will also be faced with a strong increase in demand due to the growth, but not all suppliers will be able to increase and optimise their own production to match the demand. According to Deloitte, aircraft manufacturers should therefore focus on bolstering and stabilising the supply chain as well as on effective programme management. The use of advanced technologies to optimise productivity and efficiency is also continuing to gain importance and this is needed in order to rise to the challenges facing the industry in the long term.

WingMag’s sponsor SFS, a supplier of aircraft components, always keeps an eye on the changes in the industry so that they can safeguard their own position as an innovative and reliable supplier.

Is the aircraft manufacturer duopoly facing competition?

Of course, rising demand also results in new production programmes entering the market. Suppliers from Russia and China in particular are attracting attention. This may pose challenges in the short term to the current duopoly – comprising Boeing and Airbus. However, these new companies will face a few hurdles in the long term. First and foremost, aircraft manufacturers need a safe and reliable track record to ensure that they are widely recognised. Other hurdles include acquiring orders from global airlines and managing cost and time overruns as well as obtaining certification from the regulatory authorities.

International trade agreements and tensions

Changes to international trade agreements can result in supply chain disruptions and higher costs as free trade is very important to the aviation industry. Growing transatlantic and transpacific trade tensions may affect taxes and import duties for raw materials, such as steel and aluminium. Companies should therefore focus on maintaining long-term partnerships and managing their global supply chain relationships.

Continued strong merger & acquisition activities

It is likely that the previously highly fragmented supplier base will become more concentrated in the near future. The increasing pressure in terms of costs and rising production rates has led to the merger of some suppliers. Size, cost efficiency and a stronger negotiating position are what counts. This trend will continue because aircraft manufacturers are constantly keeping an eye on their profit margins.

We may even witness mega deals as large companies are increasingly focusing on vertical integration. Small and medium-sized companies are acquired in order to gain access to new technologies and markets. There have already been significant mergers and acquisitions in the last two years.

You can read the complete Deloitte report here.

Material trends in aviation

The trend in the aviation industry is clearly moving towards lighter weight construction and therefore more fuel-efficient flying. Newer aircraft models, such as the Airbus A350, are made of lightweight composite materials, so-called thermoplastic composites. The advantages include improved fuel efficiency due to a reduction in weight, simplified production methods and faster assembly.

We will soon highlight the role that Victrex plays in this respect in another blog article.

Time and cost-saving assembly is vital

Time is a critical factor in the production of aircraft, which has a significant impact on costs. Consideration is therefore given to assembly options that are as simple and fast as possible when developing aircraft parts. Innovative aircraft elements, such as the Bracket Logic Concept developed by SFS, offer significant time and cost savings. The modular fastening system for trim panels is lightweight and withstands the day-to-day loads imposed during aircraft operation; it also helps to reduce noise and can be assembled without any tools, thus enabling easy alignment and adjustment – for maximum efficiency.

Current trends in the aviation industry

We have already mentioned some of the trends from current research.

Of course, we will keep you posted on the current trends and developments in the coming year. Have a good flight into 2019. Fasten your seatbelt … 

by Jennifer Weitbrecht

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