Opinion: Why We Are Betting On 2022

airliner flying in front of clouds and sunbeams
Credit: Ipopba/Getty Images

The final weeks of 2021 felt like a punch in the gut. Hopes for a more “normal” holiday season were dashed by the emergence of the highly infectious omicron variant, which sent COVID-19 cases spiking higher than ever. Thousands of flights were canceled because so many pilots and crews tested positive. Offices emptied (again), New Year’s Eve parties were canceled, and people waited in long lines to get COVID tests. In some respects, especially in hard-hit places such as New York, it felt like the dark times of 2020 were back.

But they are not. The good news is that the aerospace community has learned to live with COVID-19 and all the curve balls that it throws at us. I predict that 2022 will bring an accelerated climb out of the abyss, not a return to the mass shutdowns, lockdowns and terrifying uncertainty that we saw when the virus emerged two years ago. There will be more focus on bread-and-butter issues such as supply chain disruptions, production ramp-ups, government defense priorities, hypersonics, workforce challenges and, of course, competition between Airbus and Boeing.

Exciting new markets will continue to emerge and grow in areas such as space, propulsion and advanced air mobility (AAM). The maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) market is rebounding. And efforts to make aviation more sustainable will grow even stronger in the face of climate change. Forecasters are sounding themes of cautious optimism about 2022 and its potential upsides. Kristine Liwag, head of aerospace equity research at Morgan Stanley, estimates that aerospace stocks are still trading at a 27% discount to pre-COVID levels.

At Aviation Week, we are investing in a brighter future. Underscoring our longstanding commitment to editorial excellence, our team will add three full-time journalists in early 2022 to bolster coverage of space, technology, MRO and business aviation. The Aviation Week Intelligence Network, which saw an unprecedented increase in demand for market intelligence, data and consulting services over the last three years, is growing its data research and analytics team, investing in new products and expanding our footprint in the Asia-Pacific market. On the technology front, we are migrating to an entirely new customer data platform that will bring together our vast global audience databases more effectively on a single platform to simplify your experience with our content, products, services and people.

It has been a tough 18 months for Aviation Week’s events business, which returned in 2021 with eight in-person events. This year, the team is planning 22 live events across the MRO, AeroEngines, A&D Supply Chain and Routes series, focusing on key trends and innovations and reuniting our communities to exchange ideas and do business face-to-face.

In the coming year, you will see Aviation Week double down on coverage of the technologies and regulations that are reshaping aviation into a more sustainable industry that can achieve a long-term goal of net-zero emissions. In the last few years, these efforts have moved from being “good PR” to a business imperative.

Our industry has made great strides in the last 50 years in producing quieter and more fuel-efficient airplanes, and its share of carbon emissions is sometimes overblown. But if we fail to find ways to make airplanes pollute less, the industry will come under intense political and societal pressure. Already in Europe some are calling for a ban on short-haul flights.

There is no consensus on how to get to net-zero aviation. Should the industry pursue moon shots like hydrogen propulsion, which Airbus, with government funding, is aiming to roll out by 2035? Or will more incremental approaches such as sustainable aviation fuel be the key, as Boeing argues? Large electric airplanes remain a dream, but the technology is showing signs of breaking out in smaller aircraft and the new AAM sector.

And that is where Aviation Week comes in, giving you unbiased and educated reporting and business intelligence from the world’s premier team of aerospace journalists and analysts. We will provide the information and explain it and let you judge it, just as we have for the last 105 years.

COVID-19 will still be with us a year from now, and there certainly will be more curve balls thrown our way. But the future looks bright.

Joe Anselmo

Joe Anselmo has been Editorial Director of the Aviation Week Network and Editor-in-Chief of Aviation Week & Space Technology since 2013. Based in Washington, D.C., he directs a team of more than two dozen aerospace journalists across the U.S., Europe and Asia-Pacific.


1 Comment
Competition between Boeing and Airbus ?
Having a look at lack of 787 deliveries, large delays in 777X certification, and slow recovery of 737MAX, I don't think there is competition anymore as Boeing has defeated itself.