New year, new normal, the whole world is trying to reinvent itself. The aviation industry also cannot stay outside. In a picture of many difficulties and challenges remaining, the aviation industry has been actively changing and putting on a “new shirt” following new trends. It is expected that in 2022, air passengers will enjoy many quality services from both new and old airlines, aircraft manufacturing companies as well as airports.
New airlines, flight routes and aircrafts
Launching a brand new airline amid the pandemic is a bold, even risky, and seemingly crazy decision for investors. Around mid-2022, Bonza, Australia’s sole independent low-cost airline, is set to take off in the sky. As asserted by Tim Jordan, founder and CEO of Bonza, the future of travel will only improve. For him, low-cost does not imply poor quality. Tim Jordan sees low-cost airfare as a way to make travel more accessible to those who wish to fly for pleasure rather than work.
In the US, another low-cost airline, Northern Pacific Airways is also aiming to debut in 2022 with the ambition of making Ted Stevens airport in Anchorage (city of Alaska) a hub connecting the US and Asia via its fleet of Boeing 757-200 narrow-body passenger jets. Hong Kong’s new airline Greater Bay is also preparing for its first flight in 2022. In India, ultra-low-cost startup Akasa Air is finding a way to join the race by this summer.
Photo: Northern Pacific Airways.
Whereas some airlines also have plans to revive or launch new routes. Jet Airways, the airline that retired in 2019, is getting ready to start a new life in early 2022. Norse Atlantic Airways, the airline launched last February, has introduced its long-haul low-cost flights between Europe and North America for this year.
Breeze Airways continues to grow its network across the east, mid-west and south of the US. The carrier is set to put its brand new Airbus A220 airplanes, some of the most comfortable, quiet and spacious jets, into service during the second quarter of 2022.
United Airlines, the big name in the aviation industry, is boosting its trans-Atlantic network in summer 2022, adding new flights to Bergen in Norway, the Mallorca and the Canary islands in Spain, etc. The airline is also bumping up its London services, with extra flights from Boston, Denver, Newark and San Francisco, as well as adding additional services to Munich, Milan, Berlin, Rome,…
Aircraft manufacturing companies such as Airbus or Boeing also continue to develop new kinds of aircraft. Airbus has delivered 460 new airplanes as of the end of October 2021, and aimed to build more of its popular A320neo family, especially the longer A321neos that can hold up to 244 passengers in an all-economy layout.
Enhanced cabins and seats
Newer airplanes with enhanced seats, newer entertainment systems, at-seat power and faster Wi-Fi are currently updated by airlines quickly. At the moment, there are quite many airlines offering in-flight Wi-Fi but only some of them allow passengers to use free Wi-Fi such as Emirates, JetBlue, Air China, Philippine Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Nok Air, etc. Other notable updates are space-saving seats so that passengers feel like they have a bit more space on board while the distance between the seats does not change.
Especially for passengers in the business class, their requirements and desires will be even higher. In addition, more and more aircrafts are equipped with premium economy class cabins. Emirates is the latest airline to add the middle-cabin, announcing an upcoming 18-month program to install premium economy seats in 105 Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 airplanes.
Aircrafts’ economy cabins will also get some technology upgrades such as fast-charging USB-C sockets, seatback entertainment system, in-flight ordering and payment features integrated with mobile apps, or allowing passengers to use Bluetooth as United Airlines did in summer 2021.
After a range of international airport openings in recent years, 2022 is set to be relatively quiet on this front. However, some new terminals will be launched in New York. For instance, LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal C, home to Delta Air Lines, which is due to open in spring or Terminal A will open at Newark, just across the Hudson River from Manhattan, later in the year.
Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok will have its Satellite Terminal 1 in October, following numerous scheduling delays linked to the tourism slowdown during the pandemic. In addition, Chennai International Airport (India) will open its own terminal, which will replace the now-demolished terminals 2 and 3 this year. Delhi Airport’s T1 Terminal is currently under construction to double its capacity from 20 million passengers per year to 40 million passengers. The Maldives’ Velana International Airport is adding a new seaplane terminal and a new runway to accommodate larger aircraft.
Airport expansion can help passengers have more space and feel safer while limiting close contact somewhat during the epidemic.
Cautiously adapt to revive
How Covid-19 progresses, especially new variants, is the major question not only for the aviation industry but also the whole planet. Besides, one of the top concerns for both airlines and passengers in 2022 is managing vaccination certification, especially about booster or third doses. People are aiming for a digital QR-based standard (possibly the EU’s Digital Covid Certificate), but a lot of work and negotiation will be needed.
By all efforts to revive and grow, the aviation industry of 2022 is expected to conquer the most demanding customers. Upgraded and newly manufactured aircrafts, new flight routes, expanded airports and the introduction of a wide range of airlines will give passengers more choices, and simultaneously feel safer and more comfortable. No matter how heavy the loss is due to the crisis, but with a good vision and determination, the aviation industry as well as other businesses in the industry are still able to regain what they lost.