In this part of our project "Ideas for international airlines during and beyond the crisis". is about the question "What are the currently still helping, missing ideas (in the sense of immediate measures) - and possible new business areas for aircraft manufacturers that are lucrative beyond the crisis?"
In times like these, it becomes clear how interdependent both the airlines and the aircraft manufacturers are. It therefore seems only logical that they continue to work together on possible solutions and innovations for the industry and share possible risks among themselves.
The impression is growing that the industry is facing fundamental technological as well as structural changes. The trend towards smaller and more environmentally friendly aircraft is only one major element in this.
We would be very surprised if the aircraft manufacturers do not already have other suitable ideas in their drawers, which can now be used profitably for all concerned.
As a current immediate measure on the part of the aircraft manufacturers, the prompt development of modular protection concepts for the aircraft cabin promises grateful customers among the airlines. The complexity of the concepts ranges from simple respiratory protection masks, to dividers between the seats, to complete room dividers for the cabin, which enable safe transport in small groups, especially of passengers from risk groups.
The modular design allows a simple and quick adaptation of the protection concepts according to the hygiene standards/guidelines of the respective travel countries. These protection concepts are designed to provide passengers with maximum safety with regard to their own health while at the same time ensuring maximum passenger comfort.
The introduction Innovative boarding concepts on the part of the airlines, we have already discussed in the section Optimum presented. Long-term solutions from aircraft manufacturers envisage support for the boarding process by means of an appropriately designed cabin structure.
This can be realized, for example, by interchangeable passenger cabins. Similar to today's cargo aircraft, these are transported on platforms into the provided aircraft with the passengers who have already boarded. In this case, the entire boarding process takes place outside the aircraft.
This will ensure a high level of passenger safety, reduce waiting and contact times for passengers and result in shorter turnaround times for airlines.
The modular design of these cabin concepts also allows optimum adaptation to the respective load situation and flexible configuration of the different travel classes.
Smaller aircraft in trend
Even before the onset of the Corona pandemic, demand for wide-body passenger aircraft, especially those with four engines, was plummeting. Airbus announced the discontinuation of its A380 program in early 2019. Rival Boeing had also previously ceased production of the passenger variant of its B747 program.
The Corona crisis was not the first cause of the trend towards smaller aircraft in the aviation industry, but now it is all the more pronounced. Aircraft manufacturers can supplement this market as soon as possible with more environmentally friendly aircraft with low or, in the best case, even no pollutant emissions. The smaller scale of these aircraft also facilitates the timely introduction of new propulsion concepts based on renewable energies.
This category of aircraft can operate optimally primarily on short-haul flights at lower altitudes. As described in the section Immediate action In the future, it is very likely that passengers will again increasingly demand point-to-point connections. Thereby the regional airports (see Immediate action) are experiencing a renewed boom.
With the introduction of more environmentally friendly aircraft concepts by manufacturers, it is imperative that a fully futuristic aircraft and cabin design which will make these serious innovations directly perceptible to passengers.
In view of the technological challenges that these new aircraft concepts pose for aircraft manufacturers, it is also important to ensure that the time-to-market is reduced as much as possible compared to traditional aircraft programmes. For this purpose, it is important that the manufacturing companies advance their developments hand in hand with the airlines.
Visions of the future
From the data provided by NEURONprocessing The ideas described so far show that for the airlines and especially for the aircraft manufacturers, it is not primarily a matter of returning to the usual situation before the crisis. Rather, the current crisis can open up new possibilities for manufacturers in the development area, the introduction of which on the market has so far seemed unthinkable or not worthwhile.
To get on the optimal line of development, fundamental changes in manufacturing operations and their supply chains seem inevitable. The global supply chains can be transformed on the way to the Optimum to make optimum use of their previous experience and infrastructure for the production of the new aircraft components and also to make these available in an international network.
In the next part of our project "Ideas for international airlines during and beyond the crisis". is about the question "Which are the currently still helping, missing ideas (in the sense of immediate measures) - and possible new business areas for airport operators that are lucrative beyond the crisis?".