Air and sea transportation are vital parts of our world. Their use is so finely woven into the way we live that life would not be the same without them. They grant us the ability to have access to goods and services from around the world that impact our employment levels, the healthcare industry, education curriculum, and, of course, trade. We build our future based on this connection to the outside world.
This includes the future of aviation.
Sustainability: Key Focus Factor for the Future
To succeed within the realm of connected transportation, including aviation, it must possess a few distinct characteristics.
What good is a method of travel if it is not accessible? Whether people or goods, they need to be able to access transportation and arrive at their destination in a suitable amount of time. This requires both streamlined efficiency and speed. Working together helps make this all a possibility.
If growth and development keep increasing, the demand for this type of mobility will continue to intensify. As a result, finding ways to improve ability with minimal sacrifice will be necessary.
The real question of the future becomes: How can we maintain these things while applying sustainability for a healthy environment? With the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development looming overhead, sustainability has been the new buzz term for quite some time. The transportation industry must now try to figure out how to have it all – accessibility, efficiency, speed, interconnectivity, and sustainability. Meeting these goals is going to be what the future is all about.
Sustainable Mobility For All (SuM4All)
Sustainable Mobility for All (SuM4All) is a program created by the World Bank. It is designed to bring together a vision for all types of mobility and how they can interconnect in the future to meet sustainability and efficiency goals.
SuM4All has developed guides to help implement beneficial mobility methods globally – including within the aviation field. A few of the most critical aspects of this tool include ease of access to countries and cities, both primary and otherwise, while keeping accessibility efficient, safe, and secure for everyone.
Innovation and Technology
As with anything in the future, technological innovation plays a significant role in the future of aviation and other mobilities. Certain things are already being considered and addressed to change our mobility in the future.
In aviation, incorporating concepts like artificial intelligence, blockchain, robotics, biometrics, autonomous devices, and more are already being researched. Imagine the possibilities of a future with crewless aircraft…
Biofuels with various sources are proving to be promising on a smaller scale, but making them more widely accessible and affordable is a challenge for the future. There is also a huge push to find alternative fueling methods, such as electric aircraft, which is a possibility.
Even the World Economic Forum has suggested that the government and those within the private sector that have vital information regarding the innovations mentioned above should come forward. Sharing knowledge in meeting the future development of modes of mobility to meet its goals should be a significant objective.
While new tools and technologies have been implemented in some areas, they have yet to progress toward streamlining mobility. Instead, some innovation has had negative consequences. The technology is great and effective, but its delivery does not mesh well with the current mobility methods, making things less efficient and more complex. In other words, the exact opposite of the goal.
As we advance in the future, mobility methods, including aviation, need to work to bring new innovative technology into the industry on a large scale. Once this becomes more of the norm than the exception, it will likely yield more positive results.
The Continued Growth of the Aviation Industry
For the most part, the aviation industry has been on an upward swing in its growth for decades. After all, flying is the only way to get from one geographic location to another in hours and minutes, regardless of the terrain.
The aeronautical industry generates opportunities for travelers, jobs, and economic growth while boosting trade and tourism worldwide. According to the ICAO, if the aviation industry keeps moving in this direction, it will “contribute 15.5 million in direct jobs and $1.5 trillion of GDP to the world economy. Once the impacts of global tourism are taken into account, these numbers could rise to 97.8 million jobs and $5.7 trillion in GDP.” Keep in mind that these flights are made up of passengers as well as cargo.
Again, the focus becomes how this level of growth – which is phenomenal – can be maintained sustainably.
The Wrap Up
The future of aviation rests in the hands of all modes of mobility. Sustainability and innovative technology will only allow efficiency, accessibility, speed, and interconnectivity if all modes of transport are united in their efforts.
This unification requires an in-depth look at the current state of our transportation systems and how the new ideas can be implemented to have the greatest positive impact across the board. As innovations are brought to the table, the lines of communication need to be open for everyone in the transportation sector to decide if and how it is a good fit. Only from there can implementation be considered.
As mentioned, the demand for transportation and travel is going to continue to grow – especially in the field of aviation. This means there will be a demand for pilots, aviation maintenance technicians, air traffic controllers, and others in the industry. It also means that engineers, researchers, scientists, and those in the field of innovative technology will have to work together to make this growth sustainable.
Mr. Matthew A. Johnston has over 23 years of experience serving various roles in education and is currently serving as the President of California Aeronautical University. He maintains memberships and is a supporting participant with several aviation promoting and advocacy associations including University Aviation Association (UAA), Regional Airline Association (RAA), AOPA, NBAA, and EAA with the Young Eagles program. He is proud of his collaboration with airlines, aviation businesses and individual aviation professionals who are working with him to develop California Aeronautical University as a leader in educating aviation professionals.