The aviation industry’s top influencers and decision makers will soon convene outside London for the 48th Farnborough International air show. The event, which occurs from July 9-15, marks an opportunity to discuss the latest developments in civil aviation, aeronautics, air defense, manufacturing and innovation. To prepare for the event, Accenture has examined the latest industry trends and developments. Following are five stories we expect to be prevalent during Farnborough.
1: Concerns about fleet delivery delays, cancellations of orders, and the latest news from major manufacturers
Several airline carriers have recently cancelled orders of new planes from major airplane manufacturers. Other carriers have begun to express concerns publicly about extended delivery delays for the new planes. Large manufacturers remain bullish on their industry, but some rising and increasingly formidable competitors may come to Farnborough with more optimism about their own growth potential. The state of the manufacturing sector, and future market share fluctuations, will be a major storyline this year.
2: Russia’s unrealized potential
There were bold predictions and initial optimism during the past few years about Russia’s potential to become a major aerospace manufacturing player. But recent crashes of Russian airliners are the latest in a series of challenges that have hindered the Russian airline industry from realizing that potential.
The country’s aviation industry has yet to obtain the level of success some predicted. To be a new entrant in a mature market such as commercial or defense aviation, a safety record is a priority and prerequisite. Russian manufacturers are not convincing the market when it comes to safety, and it has kept the nation’s industry down as other markets have emerged. Russian corporations and those seeking to do business with them will be looking to Farnborough to determine whether the country will ever soar to the heights some once thought it could reach.
One recent development of note may turn out to be significant for Russia. Russia and China are reportedly planning to build a new long-range aircraft. This will likely be a hot topic of conversation at Farnborough.
3: Revisiting China and Brazil
The potential emergence of China and Brazil as major aerospace companies was one of the major themes at last year’s Paris Air Show. Although industry discussions of these two competitors have cooled somewhat, both nations continue to issue strong economic reports. A&D companies from both countries are strong suppliers as well as increasingly eager consumers, and the trend will likely continue for the next several years.
In particular, China’s Comac and Brazil’sare well positioned to excel in the turbo prop and business jet markets for regional travel; both markets are poised to recover. The future continues to look bright for these two major nations, and this future prosperity will be a prevailing theme at this year’s Farnborough.
4: Tablets in the cockpit and cabin
The(FAA) is considering replacing paper instructions and filings for pilots with customized tablet computers. This could eliminate voluminous paperwork associated with flight planning, thereby reducing costs, decreasing environmental impacts, improving record-keeping and reducing errors.
Similarly, some airlines are starting to consider tablets as a tool to provide in-flight entertainment and disseminate safety messages. This idea has significant appeal. The current trend in in-flight entertainment entails use of wires linking a personal entertainment system into each cabin seat. Although these individual systems provide flyers with a various options, they cost millions of dollars per plane and require extensive networking infrastructure. Innovative and economical ways to use tablets on airplanes will be an important business technology issue at Farnborough.
5: Austerity - a challenging foe for the defense sector
Many nations face massive budget deficits. With war conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq lessening and governments seeking to make cuts palpable to their voters, many Farnborough attendees will be looking for opportunities to reduce defense spending. At the same time, aging fighter jets need to be replaced and some countries such as China seem to be continuing to ramp up unabated.
In recent years defense aviation has viewed by some as a buttress against the impact of the global recession. But defense spending may start to scale back in several countries. Companies will be talking about how to reassess their commercial and defense aerospace investments.
Damien Lasou is the managing director of the Aerospace and Defense business within Accenture's Electronics & High-Tech industry group. He can be reached at Damien.firstname.lastname@example.org.