The Future of Air Travel

“The airfreight industry is continuing their expansion, and tackling the final frontier, space. In May 2012 the privately owned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket took a nine-day trip that delivered 1,300 pounds of scientific cargo, food, and clothing to the international space station, beginning a new area for expansion” (Terry). While this expansion to air carriers is not going to be large for the time being, the future of space travel is an unknown territory that could become huge in the future. As more space stations are being created and the technology increases the only way to transport goods to space is by air. In the future if space stations do increase or even if there will be people living in space the future of air freight will be endless and see a huge growth.
But on planet earth, perspectives on the expansion and demand of air travel are a bit mixed. A hurting economy, high fuel costs and security concerns make further expansion in the field seem difficult. The industry depends heavily on fuel prices, which makes for high price volatility and a lack of stability in air transit. An example to show this was that Southwest Airlines first-quarter fuel bill was 478 million dollars higher in 2012 than in 2011. As stated above as well, the economic downturn has had a large effect on the industry, specifically in Europe. Declining consumer confidence has also weakened the demand in Europe and leaves the air freights future uncertain. Lastly, there has been a recent trend to nearshoring, bringing US manufacturing companies plants closer to the US, in places such as Mexico and South America.
As air carriers are facing challenges with the three above obstacles, areas for expansion are popping up. Developing markets in Asia in countries like China are supplying opportunity. As Chinese manufacturers are shifting manufacturing plants from the coast to inland areas, air carriers are needed. Additionally Brazil is supplying opportunity with the development of their economy. Air carriers must look to accommodate these new areas to gain business with large manufacturers. Also, ecommerce and the need to deliver goods the next day have helped increase the need for air as the mode of transportation to be able to do the fast delivery times.
For the time being air carriers will continue to be used the same amount and in order for air carriers to grow business and usage they are going to have to lower the cost and find areas that need the fast delivery.


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