What challenges will global civil aviation face in 2023?

What challenges will global civil aviation face in 2023?

1. Increased demand for air travel will continue

Demand for air travel has risen significantly in the past year as most countries around the world lifted restrictions. Airlines today can further tighten their schedules and move closer to pre-pandemic levels of passenger traffic. Well, since China has reopened the borders and the sky, there is every reason to believe that traffic volumes will again exceed last year's level, and passenger traffic will even be higher than before the pandemic.

On the other hand, problems have not gone away faced by airlines and airports last year. This is, first of all, the lack of trained personnel and rising fuel prices. And inflation is only going up.

However, the chances are good that the aviation industry can overcome these turbulent factors for an even better year.

2. Flaws in supply chains

In 2023, airlines will face a more difficult battle than the breach with flight support. Undoubtedly, airlines will want to increase capacity with new aircraft in their fleets, but last year there were many supply chain disruptions and this trend will unfortunately continue this year.

Global problems with a shortage of one or the other will certainly reduce the pace of production, as was the case last year, when there were not enough engines and other spare parts were not available. That is, aircraft manufacturers will face difficulties in fulfilling supply contracts, airlines are waiting for capacity stagnation.

3. Aircraft lease rates will rise sharply

However. While aircraft production and deliveries are struggling, airlines still have other options to expand their aircraft fleet. In particular, through leasing. See for yourself: during the pandemic, airlines have reduced their fleet by about 4 percent, while aircraft lessors, on the contrary, have grown by more than 15 percent with new equipment. Today they operate more than 50% of the world's passenger aircraft fleet.

One more moment. During the pandemic, airlines have seen delivery times for leased planes are shorter than when getting new machines from manufacturers, be it Boeing or Airbus. This means that the demand for leased aircraft will become even higher, and lessors will have the flexibility to raise prices. Given how hard inflation is hitting the aircraft leasing industry, rental rates are expected to rise as lessors need to cover capital financing.

4. The digitalization of airports will intensify

Airports have experienced many disruptions in 2022 due to being unprepared for a surge in demand. Some large ones have even resorted to artificially restricting passenger traffic as they struggled to avoid huge queues, delays and baggage confusion.

The situation has been improved thanks to the increased adoption of digital algorithms and artificial intelligence: reception and processing systems have appeared baggage, working without human intervention, the volume of passengers pre-registered for a flight has increased, passport control is increasingly being carried out automatically, etc.

These changes are key at airports today, so their presence and use will expand, and airport management will invest more in advanced technology.

5. There will be more environmentally friendly aviation fuel

The aviation industry is one year closer to zero carbon emissions. There is an obvious and understandable option with the renewal of an outdated fleet of aircraft for more modern and economical aircraft. But it is not a fact that it will be possible to quickly obtain a sufficient number of new twin-engine liners. Therefore, it will be necessary to rely on the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

SAF production tripled last year, but is still only about 1 percent of the volume planned for 2030. As more airlines look to the long-term use of SAF, this year the aviation industry will be forced to consider and find resources to expand production and further adoption of such biofuels.

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