Monday Update – December 31, 2018

The Year Ahead – Fasten Your Seat Belts…

Next week, we’ll be posting Boyd Group International’s 2019 Aviation Projections

Some issues we’ll be covering…

The FAA’s Threat To The Drone Revolution: The potential is incredible. But what’s also incredible is the fact that the FAA simply views it as just a bunch of small flying machines that are mostly interruptions of their day.

Their lack of aggressiveness and vision is putting not only this industry, but aviation safety, at risk.

Aggressive Internally-Generated Airline Strategies. In 2018, there was a marked change. It’s now clear that major carrier systems each have their own clear, set-in-stone route strategy. They’re not looking for outside advice – their plans are in the works already.

The imperative for airports in 2019 will shift from the outdated goal of “making the case” for a random new route, to accurately predicting, identifying and matching carriers’ evolving growth strategies.

That 60-page “true market study” may impress the mayor, but it’s no longer a Delphi-like revelation to airline staff. Airports and communities must now adjust to airline strategies, not the other way around.

Two words: emerging airline fleet trends. We’ll look at this next week.

ULCC Wild Card: The ULCC product is largely based on impulse spending. When the economy is strong, there are lots of discretionary dollars in the market. When it goes up or down, ULCC traffic will be one of the first harbingers of the change.

Point: The US is facing a continuing strong economy and consumer confidence. Draw conclusions accordingly.

End of The “Iceland Option.”. Oops. The ULCC concept is based on more than just super-low fares. It also demands simplicity and familiarity with the destination. We’ll look at the collapse of the “Iceland-Option” – really low fares to Europe – in exchange for a stop in KEF.

But for consumers in the US, going to places like Cork or Oslo at cheap fares, with a stop at an airport many can’t spell, let alone have ever heard of, hasn’t translated in the same way as an impulse trip to Orlando.

Emerging Uncertainty Regarding China-US Travel. BGI has been at the forefront of analyses of the booming Chinese air transportation system. We previously were predicting over 25 million folks from China to visit the USA over the next five years.

We are the leader in advising airports and communities in crafting China-outreach.

But we are now suggesting caution… there are very real and very disturbing developments that may choke growth of China-US air passenger traffic – in both directions. Not to mention further Chinese business investment in the US.

And it has nothing at all to do with any US-China trade issues.

Message to US airports & communities: don’t jump into too many “trade missions” to China in 2019, without first getting a hard and honest view of what’s unfolding inside the place.

We will outline the emerging changes in this market. Not encouraging.

The Next Phase of Traditional EU Carrier Invasion. Year 2019 will see the new trans-Atlantic nonstops – particularly from secondary points on the East Coast. The dynamic of “road hubbing” will figure large on the whiteboards in planning departments at EU and UK carriers. Whole new market-decision criteria.

We discussed this at the International Aviation Forecast Summit last August – and it’s going to accelerate in 2019.

Think: Route capabilities of the A-321Neo.

More… Year 2019 will be one of change – mostly positive.

We’ll discuss these issues – and others for the New Year – next week.