Aviation Wrap-up February 2024: New Missions Ahead

February 2024 saw aviation establish some new priorities, remain committed to ongoing missions, generally optimistic, and giving recognition to the busiest airports in the United States. Providing better service to the growing number of senior travelers is now receiving more attention from airlines and airports alike. The industry continues to implement new strategies and tactics to reduce its carbon footprint. Then there is the air cargo segment which, for the most part, has air freight operators feeling optimistic. And, in case you were wondering, which U.S. airports were the busiest in February, well OAG ranked them based on airports with the most departing seats. Keep reading our Aviation Wrap-up February 2024 for more info.

Preparing for the Senior Travelers Boom

The graying of our populations is well underway. It is estimated that by 2050, there will be two billion people aged 60 years or older among us. These seniors will soon become one of the largest groups of global travelers. That is good news for the aviation industry but will require a concerted effort to prioritize their air travel needs.

This is not to say that airlines and airports have been making inroads in this area, but much more needs to be done to support senior travelers in their mobility challenges. Initiatives include improving and widening walkways with added handrails, shorting walking distances, providing technology-driven assistive services, and expanding measures to help seniors more easily navigate their way through the airport, and more

The industry is stepping up to address this need. Airports are applying leading-edge technologies to provide, for example:

  • Special assistance: Autonomous wheelchairs use built-in cameras and sensors to detect obstacles and are equipped with audio to signal foot traffic in the vicinity. These vehicles take passengers to their gate or restroom and autonomously return to their charging stations for subsequent users.
  • Visual interpreting service: this service helps users navigate, read, describe, and interpret visual surroundings to support visually-impaired passengers.
  • More streamlined airport navigation: Lowering airline ticketing kiosks for instance enhances accessibility for wheelchair users. In the near future we can expect AI-powered kiosks.

Aircraft manufacturers are also adopting new strategies to better support senior travelers, which include:

  • Designing new seats that cater to individuals with mobility issues such as those using wheelchairs. The seats enable passengers to remain in their wheelchairs during flights instead of having to transfer to a standard aircraft seat.
  • Improving restroom designs to help people with mobility issues and in particular those using wheelchairs.

New Initiatives for More Sustainable Air Travel

Driving the aviation industry’s heightened focus on sustainability have been safety concerns and enhanced customer service standards. New initiatives being deployed include those relating to wet-air-producing jet lag solutions in order to reduce travel times, reduce carbon emissions, and improve passenger experience.

An example of how aviation companies are responding is Ecojet’s goal to offer zero-emission flights in hydrogen-electric aircraft by 2026. Their aircraft’s only emissions would be water (along with the production of electricity for it to operate), to reduce air distance and move closer to net zero emissions.

In addition to reducing emissions, there are gains to be added from increased sustainability relating to operational cost reductions, a company’s environmental sustainability portfolio, profitability, and an improved brand image.

Zero-emission flights thanks to hydrogen-electric aircraft could be a reality by 2026.

Optimism in Air Cargo

Based on a recent survey conducted by Air Cargo News, air cargo operators are optimistic that 2024 will be a good year. They expect that both volumes and rates will increase in the next months.

Air Cargo News surveyed 150 airfreight professionals in January and found that they believed the market would improve in the second half of the year. In part, their opinions were based on the poor performance of 2022. The airfreight professionals’ responses reflected those of, IATA and Xeneta, which expected an increase in demand of 4-5% and 1-2%, respectively. As for demand performance, in the two weeks leading up to January 21st, 2024,  air cargo demand was up 5% year-on-year according to data from WorldACD.

Regionally speaking, growth in air cargo was greatest in the Asia-Pacific region at 52.8%, followed by North America at 15.2%, Europe at 11.9%, and Southeast Asia at 11.2%. As for market segments that reflected the most growth, e-commerce was expected to continue dominating the rankings and expected to grow the fastest at 55.9%, followed by pharmaceuticals at 9.7%, and automotive at 7.5%.

Regarding air freight rates, 42.2% of survey respondents predicted an increase, 51.1%  predicted a decrease, and 26.7% were expecting prices to stay the same.

Another question posed in the survey related to sustainability and specifically sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs). A high percentage of respondents (66.7%) believed SAFs would play an important role in air cargo performance.

Overall, the feeling of optimism was evident within the air cargo segment.

The Busiest Airports in the U.S.

OAG recently ranked the busiest airports in the United States in February 2024. The rankings were based on the number of departed seats. It is not surprising that the same airports appear in this month’s list as have ranked in previous months.

Once again, Atlanta Hartsdale-Jackson, consistently one of the world’s busiest airports, topped the list with 4.48 million, followed by Dallas Forth Worth with 3.78 million seats. In third place was Denver Airport with 3.5 million seats. With a footprint of 52.4mi², Denver also happens to be one of the largest airports in the U.S. and the second biggest in the world.

Also ranked from 4th to 10th place were:

  • 4th: Los Angeles International, 3,294,554 seats
  • 5th: Chicago O’Hare, 3,217,187 seats
  • 6th: Orlando International, 2,907,336 seats
  • 7th: Miami International, 2,782,790 seats
  • 8th: New York JFK, 2,704,681 seats
  • 9th: Charlotte Airports, 2,650,689 seats
  • 10th: Las Vegas Harry Reid, 2,645,988 seats

While these airports performed strongly domestically, no U.S. airport made it onto the list of the busiest international airports.

>> What strategies do you think are crucial for the aviation industry to prioritize in the coming months to address the needs of senior travelers, enhance sustainability, and ensure continued growth in air cargo? Share your insights in the comments below!

Related Posts

0 comments on “Aviation Wrap-up February 2024: New Missions Ahead

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *