Tech driven megatrends to transform air travel over the next decade

air travel

Several powerful megatrends will exert an immense influence on air travel over the next decade, forcing industry, governments, and technology to adapt rapidly, according to a new report from air transport company SITA.

The Meet the Megatrends report examines 12 emerging technological, societal, traveller, and economic trends that will significantly change the travel landscape by 2033.

These megatrends do not exist in silos but operate in an evolving ecosystem with data at its heart.

The increasing willingness of providers to share data across the wider travel industry will help further accelerate these trends and pave the way to the more connected, seamless travel experience that passengers want.

“The air transport industry is at a post-pandemic crossroads, facing challenges from all sides,” said Ilkka Kivelä, SITA’s VP strategy and innovation.

“While the travel recovery accelerates globally, airports and airlines are scrambling to provide the seamless travel experience passengers expect, often with slashed workforces and squeezed budgets. The climate crisis demands swifter and more decisive industry action to make travel more sustainable.

“We now have an opportunity to reimagine the world of travel, connect the dots and transform travel with bold solutions that cross sectors and exploit the latest technologies.”

One of the key trends identified in the report is Gen Z and millennial travellers driving a digital transformation of the transport industry, demanding a more integrated digital journey, and accelerating the digital way of life.

Another power trend is the automation and emergence of smart airports. By 2030 metaverse operations will be commonplace at leading airports and play a vital role in optimising processes, avoiding disruption, and facilitating intuitive, immersive control of intelligent airports.

Meanwhile, electric air vehicles are expected to be ubiquitous at major international airports by the end of the decade, operating as an effective auxiliary service and revenue stream for airports and airlines.

“These trends are shaping SITA’s own innovation agenda,” Kivelä said. “We’re excited to be working across many of these areas and look forward to collaborating with partners to drive positive change across the industry.”