Monday Insight – August 19, 2019

Some Contrarian & Futurist Issues To Consider

Aviation Ten Years From Now – Get Ready

Next week, the top thought leaders in aviation will be gathered in Las Vegas at the 24th Boyd Group International Aviation Forecast Summit.

We want to acknowledge all of our sponsors and exhibitors, and especially our Platinum sponsors United and Southwest.

Exploring A Very Disruptive Future

Unlike other events, this is a gathering of not just people, but of ideas, vision and new perspectives. Airline and industry CEOs and executives from across the industry will be with us, exploring what they see in the future.

Just of thought-starters, let’s touch on some of the foundational issues we’ll be dealing with at the Summit.

Aviation’s Evolving Role in Global, Intercontinental and Regional Communication.

Today, the speed and depth of new communication channels have changed how we live, do business, and even how we approach day-to-day business.

The “pipelines” are now nearly instantaneous… email, messaging, transmission of data, information exchange, and – critically – ideas and visioning. These have completely changed how people are making decisions, planning new dimensions, and moving the world ahead.

But 0ne channel of communication that’s not changed much in terms of speed is air travel. Airplanes are no faster than in 1980, or 1970, for that matter.

Think about it… in the 1980s, there was a lot more need for physical, face to face interaction to exchange ideas and data, i.e., a need to go and do a face-to-face.

Now, these new channels of information flow have made a lot of that unnecessary.

Think about it. Aviation has now a fundamentally different role as a communication channel… not a declining one, but other modalities of human exchange are today a lot faster and a lot more efficient.

Yet, millions of dollars are spent every year on programs aimed at desperately bringing back the air transportation system that existed in a world without these new pipelines.

Think about it.

Then consider how aviation’s new role will evolve in the future.

The industry leaders at the IAFS™ will be exploring aspects of this next week in Las Vegas.

Global Interaction & Trade – It’s Fixin’ To Move Here. Soon.

We’ve mentioned it before.

All the hand-wringing and finger-pointing and angst often expressed regarding how America’s airport system has fallen behind the rest of the world are nonsense.

Yes, they are trendy and accepted as fact, but in the context of the global future, quite ignorant. Just fake news.

Like we noted above, the role of aviation as a communication channel is evolving – but that doesn’t mean declining.

In the new global system, we’re going to see massive changes in manufacturing, distribution, and logistics. Wrenching changes for some areas of the world, but for the United States, we’re in the right place at the right epoch.

Hint: With “cheap labor” being replaced by more efficient robotics, the manufacturing playing field between Shenzhen and Spokane will be leveled.

Hint: think new aviation modalities – think drone.

Time is money, and time from production to consumption will move to the forefront of priorities. Those low labor cost goods in Asia need to be shipped to a port, trans-loaded onto a boat, travel 20 days or more to the Port of Los Angeles, then wait another three days to get put on a container train and finally a truck to a distribution center in Lubbock.

Futurist concept in light of all this: aviation and America’s already in-place system of 4,000 airports will be a huge part of the new world of manufacturing and logistics. One that has value no other nation can touch.

Think about it… or, better, join us at the IAFS™ where aviation thought leaders will be discussing the industry changes that will be contributing to these new dynamics.

Air Service Trends – The Crunch Is Over

In the past two weeks, yet another dozen 50-seat jets have been retired from US fleets.

A lot of ambient thinking is that this is just more bad news for small community air service.

It’s actually positive. The “bad news” for small community air service – such as it may have been – is long past. Mainly, it’s part of a trend toward larger airliners.

We’ll be covering at the IAFS™ how not only larger aircraft will be replacing these retirements, but how just about any Part 139 airport at least has the foundation to look for impulse-based air service – i.e., the ULCC model.

At the International Aviation Forecast Summit next week, this will be a part of the Airports:USA® forecast session. Along with discussion of other trends, too, such as the internationalization of the interior of the USA.

The China Issue – Opportunities

Amid the smoke of battle surrounding the “trade war” with China, one key reality is often missed: the trade and interaction between the USA and China is not going away.

Lightweights who wouldn’t know China from a cheap set of Melmac are making political hay, decrying how the “trade war” is decimating Chinese investment in the USA. And how, for the first time in 15 years, Chinese tourism is declining – a travel sector that has delivered billions to US venues.

Veneer ignorance.

What they’re missing are a whole passel of growing pain issues in the Chinese economy that are driving these changes. Things that make the effects of the “trade war” get shuffled toward the bottom of the in-box:

Like the RMB-US$ exchange rate. Like the deflation of the discretionary income generated by the now-declining real estate bubble in China. Like the Chinese government tightening capital outflows. Like a banking system in the process of being re-structured. Like industries in parts of China going rust-belt. Like the financial bill hitting some cities across China that have built real estate developments that have produced huge apartment regions with no tenants. It goes on…

As for the decline in Chinese investment in the USA, these and other reasons are the direct cause of declining investment and leisure visitation. But in the last ten years alone, nearly $150 billion in FDI has come to the US from China. And it’s still here.

Point: it’s important that US communities and business don’t get economically sucker-punched into thinking that Chinese business relationships were just a passing fad. Continued preparation for outreach with China is more important now than ever.

Take it to the bank (a US bank, by all means) Chinese trade and business will eclipse the effects of efforts to level the trade system.

Where Else Are China Southern or Xiamen Airlines Planning To Land In The USA? And, we’ll be covering this at the IAFS™ – with a workshop from Tencent, China’s $400 billion travel and related company. Plus, our Airports:China™ session that will look at which US airports and communities will be first in line for new access from China.

Airport facilities will be a critical part of a nation’s ability to compete in regard to accommodating the coming changes in global trade.


In addition to the aviation leaders who will be participating at the International Aviation Forecast Summit, we’re excited to also welcome over 60 airline staff from carriers across the industry.

Making new contacts and laying the ground work for future liaison with staff from Southwest, Spirit, Allegiant, American, United, Delta, and more, will be a part of the IAFS™. Plus, it will be in a business environment far more conducive than 20-minute speed date events.

Welcome To Las Vegas!

Our hosts, the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority and McCarran International Airport have gone all out to welcome attendees at the IAFS™.  While in Las Vegas, be sure to take advantage of the great leisure opportunities the city offers.

Still Time To Join Us!

While this is now the most-attended IAFS™, Las Vegas is a venue that has lots of room… so, if you haven’t registered and can clear your calendar, click here.

We are looking forward to the most exciting and valuable International Aviation Forecast Summit yet!