Over the past decade, there has been a lot going on in the aviation industry. But unless you subscribe to industry-specific publications, you probably wouldn’t know about it.
For example, established players are rushing to digitally transform their infrastructure. The goal here is to boost efficiencies and enhance customer experiences. Startups have also popped up all over the world to try and make their mark in a highly competitive and challenging environment.
The Emergence of More Electric Aircraft (MEA)
The race to build a more fuel-efficient aircraft is ongoing. The goal is to find innovative ways to reduce the dependence on fuel, acquisition costs, and the total cost of ownership. This approach will help drive demand for electric aircraft.
While the ultimate goal is to build and scale an All-Electric Aircraft, we’re still quite far behind. This can be attributed to the following challenges:
- Environmental sustainability
- Power density
- Thermal management
The good news is that we are seeing a greater interest in MEA. So you can expect to see a more incremental approach that takes new components and systems available today and incorporate them into current aircraft fleets.
You can also expect to see more technology deployments that will help cut operating costs, fossil fuel burn, and the overall impact on the environment. While airplanes will still heavily depend on the consumption of fuel, we will see a lot more electrical components in the near future.
This is important as the Environmental Protection Agency found that jet engine exhaust is a significant contributor to environmental change and a substantial risk to public health.
For example, large commercial jets account for 12% of all emissions from the global transport domain. By 2050, that number is expected to rise by 50% (with the increasing demand for travel), so the time to act is now (and some have already got the ball rolling).
Boeing’s B787 is an aircraft in the MEA segment. It has successfully balanced weight and fuel consumption to deliver the same power as an ATF powered aircraft engine. However, the range of flight is slightly less compared to other aircraft in the same engine power segment (but that can change).
As operational costs start to fall by a few dollars per person per mile, you can expect to see a significant transformation within this space.
Digital Checklists and Flight Docs
As mentioned above, the aviation industry is also going through complete digital transformation. This can be attributed to the need to update legacy hardware and software, increase efficiency, and achieve better integration with new technologies.
For example, digital solution providers like OBDS (Onboard Data Systems) help major airlines switch from paper to digital tools, both on the ground and in the cockpit. This approach helps improve safety, enhance flight efficiency, and cut operating costs.
However, to consistently deliver high-quality products and services, OBDS hired us to upgrade their existing architecture and features and build Windows applications for one of the top clients Bombardier.
Cloud-Based Platforms for Commercial Airliners
Airlines are also leveraging cloud-based platforms to improve collaboration, boost productivity, and minimize downtime (for aircraft). As these platforms are specifically designed for the aviation industry, planes can be serviced quickly and get back in the air much faster.
The Atlanta-based startup, Synapsemx, for example, alerts airliners early via email, in-app notifications, or text to possible malfunctions and mechanical issues. As a result, airline companies can be well-placed to initiate repair and service protocols proactively while maintaining compliance with governmental auditors and inspectors.
There’s a lot more going on within the industry, but it gives you an idea where the sector is headed. The future of aviation is digital transformed, electrical, efficient, and environmentally sound.