The aviation industry is experiencing rapid growth. The growth is contributing significantly to the growth of the global economy and at the same time presenting numerous challenges that put the industry’s future at risk. According to estimates provided by IATA, the total number of passengers will continue to rise in the next two decades and double by the year 2034. Moreover, the number of destinations will continue to increase as nations upgrade their infrastructure and open new routes.
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As a result, airlines will be compelled to up their flights, renew their fleets, and address the various challenges that affect their operations. An important strategy to maintain the rapid expansion and enhance profitability is to address the contemporary issue affecting the industry. The major issues include security, customer experience, and sustainability. Failure to address these challenges will compromise the sustainability of aviation.
The safety and security of passengers is the most critical challenge facing the aviation industry. In 2016, aviation stakeholders gathered in Germany to discuss the growth of the industry and ways to enhance its sustainability. One of the key issues discussed during the meeting was how to improve security. The aviation industry has been a major target of terrorist groups, and so, airlines and governments should identify and implement measures to enhance security (WSP, 2016).
The goal is to enhance security without making travelers anxious or uncomfortable. Global airport security came under scrutiny after the attacks in Brussels in 2016 (WSP, 2016). An attendee at the conference suggested the creation of a balance between invisible security and comforting safety. Passenger comfort can be increased by making travelers aware of the necessity for more security and involving professionals in finding solutions to security challenges (Campbell, 2016).
The security measures implemented by the aviation industry are tighter and more effective than the measures put in place by other transport industries. In that regard, it is very safe, though there is need for enhanced security. Globally, there have been few reported incidents of insecurity. However, experts have projected that increased growth will pose increased challenges.
The attacks in Brussels brought the spotlight on the security measures at airports. The attacks increased doubts as to whether airports have stringent measures to protect passengers. The challenge is to implement security measures without oppressing passengers or compromising their comfort (WSP, 2016). In 2013, only 16 fatal accidents were reported globally, thus making air transport the most secure form of transportation.
However, certain accidents that had devastating outcomes occurred. For example, the tragedies involving Malaysian Airlines (MH 370 and MH 17) are still alive in the hearts of the victims’ families, and the only way to honor their memories is through the enhancement of passenger safety in airports. It is important for airport staff to receive security training so that they can be aware of the security measures that apply at their place of work and the best practices for improving the safety of passengers. Security threats (terrorism and cyber attacks) are common occurrences and pose risks to passenger and airline safety. Aviation executives must ensure that their networks systems are secure and protected using advanced software programs.
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Another issue affecting the airline industry is the overall passenger experience that has been affected by the stringent security measures that have been implemented. In many airports, passengers are not treated like customers but as targets that should be monitored closely (WSP, 2016). Recent terrorist attacks on transport terminals have caused fear among players in the airline industries, and as a result, they have tightened their security protocols. Processing periods are longer and passengers are screened more. Airlines need to balance the need to monitor passengers and the need to offer them quality customer service (WSP, 2016).
The screening and processing procedures should be made faster in order to improve the overall experiences of passengers. The modern idea of an airport is sophisticated technology, innovation, and state of the art infrastructure. However, the most important aspect to consider is the treatment of passengers and the effectiveness of airline operations. The quality of the service offered and the comfort enjoyed during the journey determines the perspectives of the travelers (L. E. K. Consulting, 2017).
It is important for airlines to impress their passengers by offering quality customer service. They should not allow their stringent security protocols to change passengers’ perspectives in a negative way. Airlines ought to create welcoming environments that encourage passengers to spend more time and money at their airports (IATA, 2017). The goal should be to influence them into viewing airports as destinations. That goal can be achieved by offering better beverages, food, recreational activities, and customer services of high quality (WSP, 2016. Suggestions have been made that involve transforming airports into meeting destinations such that travelers can hold successful meetings within the premises.
Certain airports have achieved much with regard to modeling their premises as destinations by introducing short-stay hotels, high-end restaurants, casinos, and beauty stores. These goals of these amenities are twofold: to improve the customer experience of passengers and bring in revenue that can be used to improve airline operations (L. E. K. Consulting, 2017). Airports should maximize passengers’ dwelling time by providing the aforementioned amenities for both arriving and leaving passengers. It is imperative for airlines to transform into leisure facilities that offer important services such as shopping, dining, and recreation (WSP, 2016).
Technology is an important aspect of business in contemporary society. Airlines should find ways to incorporate mobile technology into their operations. The technology can be used to meet passenger expectation of their ability to control their journey and always stay informed on their flight schedules. One of the major challenges of technology is the issue of privacy and trust (IATA, 2017). The application of technology can pose several threats that include fraud, espionage, and cyber-terrorism.
Many corporations use customer data to advance their marketing strategies. Airlines should use customer data appropriately because if they mismanage it, then customers refrain from giving to them, which could affect the effectiveness of their operations (IATA, 2017). The issues of data privacy and surveillance should be addressed cautiously. Using technology to improve customer service is an effective strategy of mitigating the challenge of enhancing the quality of customer experiences.
It is necessary for airline operators to realize that customer loyalty and retention is based on value-driven services, and so, they should offer personalized offers that improve customer experiences (L. E. K. Consulting, 2017). For example, increasing the number of payment methods and improving the existing ones would enhance the quality of services offered. The aim of embracing innovation in the airline industry is to provide customers with seamless and frictionless experiences.
Sustainability and Economics
The future of aviation is promised only if the industry implements sustainability measures that focus on finances and the environment. The airline industry is very competitive because air travel supports the global economy by connecting worldwide marketplaces. Larger airports compete with each other to become the core of air transport for both passengers and airlines from different countries around the globe (IATA, 2017).
In the contemporary business world, globalization has made international business easier, and airlines are positioning themselves to take advantage of the situation. In that regard, business pressure will increase and airlines will be required to provide more and better services that suit the varied needs of a global clientele (IATA, 2017). Increased competition and globalization has necessitated the transformation of airports into destinations. This has resulted in the construction of innovative infrastructure, which has a significant contribution to global carbon emissions. The main hurdle is the modernization of airports without an increase in carbon emissions.
The impact of the aviation industry on the environment will increase as more people travel by air. Approximately 2 percent of global carbon emissions originate from the aviation industry (Ketteley & Webster, 2017). International Air Transport Association (IATA) projects that the number of passengers will double by the year 2034. Effective environmental management will be achieved through increased collaboration among the different players in the various transportation sectors.
Aircraft noise is another issue that should be addressed for enhanced sustainability (Environment, n.d.). The flight paths of aircrafts affect the lives of many people. Moreover, the air quality around airports is very low due to the gases emitted by aircrafts, cars, and energy generation within airport premises. Aircraft noise also causes disturbances that have led to restrictions and constraints that have affected capacity development in many airports (Environment, n.d.). Several fuel-usage minimization strategies have been developed and implemented in the aviation industry. However, fuel consumption is still high (Ketteley & Webster, 2017).
The airline industry has several economic benefits that include employment, production, transportation of passengers, and enhancement of global business operations. Despite the provision of these benefits, the airline industry has several economic costs that pose a major challenge. Rising fuel costs make up the largest expense of the aviation industry. High fuel costs affect the economy because passengers pay more, jobs are lost, flight schedules are reduced, and some routes are eliminated (Ketteley & Webster, 2017). Moreover, these cuts and increased expenses result in high prices for service amenities. It is imperative for airlines to adopt innovative technologies that lower fuel consumption or that facilitates the use of alternative fuel sources.
The aviation industry has several benefits that include promotion of the global economy and the creation of a global transportation network. It is the safest mode of transport and its growth in the last decade has been rapid. However, the industry is experiencing several challenges that pose risks to its sustainability and long-term profitability. The three major challenges are security, passenger experience, and sustainability. The high rate of growth being experienced in the aviation industry poses challenges that require the implementation of mitigation strategies to enhance sustainability. Enhancing security without oppressing passengers and lowering the quality of their challenges is difficult.
However, failure to address the challenges will result in long-term problems that will affect the industry and the global economy. Airlines should modernize their infrastructure, enhance security while improving passenger experience, and embrace innovations that improve fuel consumption. In addition, they should address of environmental impact of their aircrafts and operations.
Campbell, K. (2016). Meeting airline safety and security challenges amid big regional disparities. Web.
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Environment: Under the public and legislative spotlight. (n.d). Web.
IATA. (2017). Future of the airline industry 2035. Web.
Ketteley, J., & Webster, V. (2017). Carbon challenges facing the aviation industry. Web.
L. E. K. Consulting (2017). 2017 state of the industry: Airlines. Web.
WSP. (2016). Growing forward: Challenges for the aviation industry. Web.