It’s New Year, and besides making predictions about things that might affect life on board in the near future (see page 22), we’ve also been pondering what the year in space might look like.
I’m talking about the discussion around the different types of satellite communications of course, and the trade-off of cost vs speed vs latency. Our contributor Bernie Baldwin and the experts he spoke to know far more about this subject than I do; I’d stick my neck out to say that it is likely that we might see some airlines fit more than one antenna to work with multiple networks.
This would enable them to offer passengers a choice between ‘basic’ Wi-Fi (which they could
still charge for) and ‘best’ which might be used for business travellers who need to get some serious work done while on board.
With that said, I’m reminded of how many long-haul planes were expensively fitted with satellite phones in the late 1990s so that these hard-working executives could stay in touch with the ground… but in fact they were not used as much as the airlines had predicted, so we’ll see.
Elsewhere, a delegation of world leaders and other interested parties have once again used the COP summit to declare a commitment to sustainable aviation fuel. Ten per cent by 2030 sounds modest, but when you consider that only around 0.1 per cent of jet fuel sold is currently SAF, you’ll understand my scepticism on how and if this will be achieved. There’s no technical reason why it can’t be done though, and if some of the hot air from sustainability conferences can be turned into action, there’s
no reason why we shouldn’t see synthetic fuel production dramatically increase.
Finally, I hope you had an enjoyable holiday period and, whatever part of aviation you are in, I wish you a prosperous New Year.