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07. February 2024

2024’s biggest business aviation trends 

Throughout 2023, industries across the globe were tasked with navigating an increasingly complex business environment. The ongoing fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic intensified supply chain delays, staff shortages and interest rates, while the effects of rising geopolitical tensions and economic recession continued to cloud initial optimism.

It’s safe to say that the business aviation sector was not immune to the pressures felt by organisations around the world, and the market will continue to face evolving macroeconomic headwinds throughout 2024.

That said, 2023 was the year of advancing technology, the beginnings of environmental breakthroughs, and changes in the way people travel. These transformative developments taking place have the potential to reshape the way charter customers fly, and how management companies operate.

Our team has reflected on some of the key advancements that took place last year and outlined what is to come in the year ahead.

 

The Bounce Back of Business Travel

The world is still adapting to new norms following the Covid-19 pandemic, which disrupted people’s travel patterns. Business aviation proved resilient during these turbulent years, offering passengers the ability to travel more freely. The exclusive nature of private flying meant that customers could be assured that their trip would follow stringent hygiene protocols, which led to an influx of new business jet customers.

In 2023, we witnessed the bounce back of corporate travel driven by evolving business needs and a renewed focus on face-to-face engagements. It’s likely that this trend will continue into 2024, with an increasing number of corporations looking towards private jets to match these revived requirements.

The Global Business Travel Association's latest report projects that business travel will surpass 2019 levels in 2024, two years earlier than predicted, as business travel spend is forecast to reach $1.4 trillion. The report signals a shift in expectations, indicating a strong rebound and a positive outlook for the business aviation community Advancements in inflight Wi-Fi services means that business travellers can take calls at 30,000ft off the ground at ease, while larger jets can transport whole teams from A to B in a matter of hours.

 

The Future of Digitalisation and AI

We witnessed the rise of platforms like ChatGPT in 2023, which initiated the widespread use of AI. As governments around the world start considering the potential regulation of AI, an increasing number of business jet operators have begun realising its influence and integrating advanced technology, such as real-time analytics and predictive maintenance. Access to a wider range of data points can support operators in tailoring their services to meet the needs of their customers, while simultaneously informing decision making.

While the use of AI in business aviation is still in its infancy, major discussions at industry events in 2023 such as the Paris Airshow and the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) underscored the industry's commitment to a human-centric approach to integrating AI. The EASA EAI Roadmap 2.0 emphasizes safety, security, AI assurance, human factors, and ethical considerations, highlighting the pivotal role AI plays in the industry’s future, and it’s likely conversations on AI will continue taking place at this year’s events, such as the Farnborough Airshow.

As we move beyond the current application of data technology and digital tools, the industry is exploring the potential of AI in a number of different operational processes, such as booking, routing and autonomous flight, as well as within MRO and safety. AXIS Aviation is looking forward to driving further enhancements in the use of AI driven technology that promises to strengthen efficiency, reduce costs, and open new frontiers in business aviation.

 

Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Milestones

There were significant milestones that took place within the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) space in 2023, following an influx of private capital and commercial innovation. In China, eHang announced that its flagship eVTOL aircraft had officially become the world’s first certified autonomous, passenger-carrying electric air taxi – marking a significant milestone in the industry’s step towards sustainable flight.

It’s likely that throughout 2024 we will continue to see OEMs designing vehicles for a multitude of use cases, such as emergency response and airport shuttle services. In fact, during the Paris Olympics this summer, eVTOLs are set to transport members of the public to different locations throughout the city.

While there are still several years until these aircraft become commercially viable, we can confidentially say that 2024 will be a critical year for the AAM sector. With analysts closely monitoring certification programs, there is room for even more investment, groundbreaking achievements and technological breakthroughs.

 

Sustainability Focus

The environmental impact of private jets faced scrutiny in 2023, which was intensified by climate activist protests at events such as EBACE. Under the spotlight, an increasing number of operators have reconsidered their sustainability initiatives and taken active steps to reduce their impact on the environment.

In 2024, we predict that business aviation will continue to work through these challenges head-first. The integration of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is just one example of how business jet operators will work towards government net zero targets. While delays could impact the delivery of SAF, when combined with existing carbon offsetting programmes, optimised flight routes, and fuel-efficient technologies, it becomes clear that the industry is prioritising sustainability and actively working to reduce its carbon footprint.

At AXIS Aviation, we believe that truly effective sustainability needs to be the baseline, and not an add-on. We will be working throughout the year to review our processes to ensure we are doing all we can to reduce our impact on the environment.

 

A Positive Outlook

These trends signify a dynamic and transformative year for the business aviation sector. The intersection of digitalisation, sustainability, and the resurgence of business travel sets the stage for a future where technology, responsibility, and adaptability are key pillars.

In the upcoming year, AXIS Aviation is embracing a period of strategic growth and development. Our plans to add additional aircraft to our fleet means we are well positioned to support new and existing clients throughout the new year, while evolving to meet the changing needs of our industry.

 

In 2024 we hope to stay true to our commitment to innovation, sustainability and safety and contribute to the industry’s upward growth trajectory.