Our ever-changing world: opportunities and challenges
Air travel has helped shape the world we live in. Sights, experiences, opportunities and connections that would have been closed to most only a few decades ago are now accessible for millions of people.
The pace of change in this globalised world is not going to slow. New aircraft technology, automation of passenger processes and digital disruption of established business models will constantly present new demands and opportunities.
A changing, more connected population
Forecasts suggest that in future the world’s growing population will include more people who identify as diverse 5 and global 6 . Driven by these demographic shifts, global air passengers could double in 20 years 7 .
Within three years there could be 50 billion connected devices 8 . The proliferation of data will increasingly personalise our travel experience. And, while you may never be able to ‘Uber-hail’ a plane, more flexible schedules to meet demand could be possible. We need to adapt and innovate to meet the challenges of changing technology, competitive new modes of transport in our market and, of course, climate change.
More choice of destinations
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated from Bristol to the USA and Mexico in summer 2017. The latest generation of mid-size passenger aircraft, of which the Dreamliner is an example, could make more long-haul routes possible from Bristol Airport in the future. New aircraft such as the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX are quieter and more fuel efficient.
Manufacturers are already considering future concepts to push aircraft performance even further; easyJet has just announced its ambition to move to electric aircraft. Recently the Government announced plans to encourage the development of low carbon aviation fuel from waste10.
How we can meet the opportunities and challenges
Better connectivity for business
One in five local businesses in the West of England already credit Bristol Airport as being a factor in their choice of location11. In 2015, passengers from the South West of England and South Wales using the London airports faced additional time and surface access costs of £182 million, wasting a total of 512 million minutes in the process12.
A streamlined passenger service
Customer demand for streamlined products and services which save time will increase as technology develops. There is also emerging competition with new modes of transport like high speed rail for domestic and short-haul European destinations. Innovative techniques and working practices, such as remote security screening, remote check-in and facial recognition will help us adapt and prosper in this brave new world.
Reducing our energy use and increasing renewable energy
Across the country, renewable energy generation has risen from just two per cent of total production in 1990 to more than 50 per cent in 201713. We want to play our part. Energy efficiency will continue to be an integral element of the design process for any new infrastructure and we will be exploring a range of renewable sources as we develop our Master Plan.
Connectivity on the ground
A big issue for Bristol is getting to and from the airport itself. In the long-term, we would like to see decision-makers take account of the need for better connections to air transport, and make the airport part of a truly integrated road and rail transport system. In the short-term, we will look closely at our on-site infrastructure and the way we connect with local networks. We also need to consider how advances like connected and autonomous vehicle technology could change the way people access the airport.
5 Future Proof – Britain in the 2020s, IPPR report, (2016). 6 BBC World Service poll, (2016). 7 Airbus Global Market Forecast, (2016). 8 White paper on the Internet of Things, (2011). 9 Sustainable Aviation Noise Road-Map. 10 Future fuels from flight and fright competition: feasibility st udy, Department for Transport 2017. 11 Business West: Local Business Survey, (2014). 12 Analysis of Bristol Airport catchment leakage to London Airports, York Aviation, (December 2016). 13 National Grid, as reported by BBC News, bbc.co.uk/news/business-40198567.