CEOs and senior executives from across the airline industry met to discuss the future of aviation during this year’s Skift Aviation Forum.
The event organized by Skift, a popular US travel industry news site, brought together the sector’s most influential and creative minds who participated in sessions examining the future of aviation globally and exploring a variety of topics critical to the industry today like sustainability, network planning and innovation, among others.
During the Forum, Skift partnered with revenue management company FLYR and its industry and domain experts’ team to ask more than 500 CEOs and senior airline executives about crucial topics ranging from artificial intelligence to startups.
Industry optimistic on recovery of business travel
Among the survey’s key insights was that global business travel still lags behind 2019 levels with businesses spending 933 million dollars on business travel in 2022, compared to the 1.4 trillion dollars spent in 2019, according to the Global Business Travel Association.
Despite these numbers, CEOs and other decision makers across the industry remained optimistic about the global corporate travel recovery, with 75 percent of them responding that it will eventually return to pre-Covid levels.
On the other hand, airline executives seemed rather pessimistic about hitting climate goals.
Only 37 percent of those asked believed that the aviation industry will meet its 2050 net zero goal with airlines currently exploring ways to institute sustainable fuel, investing in carbon offsets, and researching other new technologies.
With airline startups appearing with more frequency since the pandemic, airline executives were also asked if they would invest in them.
Only 6 percent answered positively with almost 65 percent of executives saying that it would depend on the attractiveness of these startups’ business model.
Looking into the ever-evolving, post – pandemic future of the air travel world and its relation to technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), 60 percent of airline executives said that AI’s biggest contribution to the industry would be to deliver more personalized customer offers and experiences.
Meanwhile, 23 percent believed AI will be most impactful in total revenue optimization across fare, ancillary, and third-party pricing decisions.
Skift’s annual forecast of the 2023 travel trends titled “Megatrends: Defining Travel in 2023” will take place online as well as in New York and London, in January.