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Nick Magliocchetti

Guest Article

Nick Magliocchetti, CEO of Waves.

Is aviation about to change?


viation is one of the most exciting sectors for potential tech disruption. After Uber and Airbnb disrupting taxis and hotels, it seems about time for improvements to the aviation industry. There is too much reliance on large airport hubs, too much inefficiency in fuel
usage, and security queues are too long.

Fortunately, there are lots of businesses popping-up which aim to improve many aspects of the flying experience. Crowdfunding, in particular, is helping more of these innovative businesses get started, changing the way we fly forever.

So what technologies can we expect to see in the near future?

Getting you there quicker

Most of us have checked-in online or via our mobile devices, taking our boarding passes with us to the airport. This has reduced queue time and the reliance on check-in counter staff. In the future, we will be able to do the same for security.

For example, Waves uses a secure online security system to match and check identities before customers arrive at the airport. The process is approved by the BAA, so it matches the high security standards of typical commercial flights, yet drastically cuts down the time from arrival at an airport to take-off.

Currently, aircraft need to be manually checked between each flight, which can take up to three hours, depending on the size of the aircraft. Fortunately, the future of flying will include automated aircraft checks conducted by robots and AI, which will speed-up the process considerably.

Fly Waves

New technology, such as 3D printing, will allow for new aircraft and engine design possibilities. For example, there are already teams working on 3D printing new thinner, low-drag wings from layered composite materials. This will allow for the return of supersonic flights, but with far higher safety standards.

Getting you there safer

Currently in the works are helmets that include an augmented reality (AG) display. This will allow pilots to keep track of all of the controls, alerts, signals, etc. more easily. It will also allow pilots to undergo more immersive training - visualising exactly how the aircraft will react in various circumstances.

While we expect that there will always be some sort of pilot sitting at the controls, we will increasingly begin to see AI taking the controls. At first, AI will make small adjustments to the flight course and aircraft environment in order to maximise passenger comfort and safety. As the technology gets more advanced, AI will take more of the controls away from pilots, adapting to conditions with reactions far faster than any human.

Greener flying

Flying is one of the safest forms of transport, but it is also one of the least environmentally-friendly. It is no surprise, then, that there are billions of dollars of investment going into developing more fuel-efficient engines and flight solutions.

One such solution is to make use of the massive amounts of data available to understand customers’ travelling behaviours and adapting to better meet their needs. For example, data can help us understand which flights, on which days, at which time of year are the most and least popular. A suitable aircraft can then be chosen for the number of passengers, rather than using a larger, less efficient craft.

As with cars, airplanes can be vastly more fuel-efficient, using fully-electric engines. Unlike cars, however, designing a fully-electric aircraft engine is incredibly complicated, so will take much longer to develop. In the meantime, we expect to see hybrid electric-fuel engines that lessen the reliance on conventional petrol.

Using data to reduce costs

We’ve already seen how data can improve fuel-efficiency, but it can also be used to anticipate customer numbers in order to reduce crew requirements and engine maintenance. For example, Waves uses data to anticipate passenger numbers, allocating the most suitable aircraft. This saves fuel and means ‘planes can be staffed appropriately.

More choice of airports

Currently, most flights travel through main airport hubs, such as Gatwick and Heathrow in the UK. These airports are well-equipped, but they can also be expensive. After all, there are so many flights and passengers to handle.

However, there are thousands of local airports and hangars dotted across every country which can often be used at much cheaper rates than the main transport hubs. We will see these being used more frequently to save costs, share the burden, and help people get closer to where they actually want to be.

Getting you exactly where you want to go

As well as flying to local airports, reducing onward travel time, airlines will begin partnering with other airlines, local taxi companies, and even boat taxis in order to get travellers exactly where they want to go. Passengers will be able to travel to the closest airport to their final destination, have a taxi pick them up, and then jump on a boat for those more remote locations.

What’s more, these services will be linked seamlessly together. As soon as you step-off one form of transport, you’ll step straight onto another. Not only will this make travelling quicker, it will be far easier and stress-free for travellers in remote regions to get from A to B.

Aviation is the future of travel. By no other means can you travel as far, as fast. With so many exciting future innovations looking likely for air travel, flying will be even faster, cheaper, safer and much more environmentally-friendly. This is great news, particularly for people living in remote regions such as the Channel Islands, Shetland, the Western Isles and Orkney.

Fly Waves Team

The Waves Team

Nick Magliocchetti is Co-Founder and CEO of Waves - a new data-driven airline currently servicing the Channel Islands. Waves is predicated on the idea that technology and data can make flying cheaper, quicker, and more fuel-efficient. Waves holds an Aircraft Operator’s Certificate (AOC) for the Channel Islands, but will be expanding to serve the rest of the UK and Europe in 2018.

Waves
www.flywaves.gg
BlueSky Business Aviation News | 7th December 2017 | Issue #442
   

 

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