by Oleksandr Plyska, Vice President at Sigma Software Group
This summer, the International Paris Air Show made a triumphant comeback after a four year break.
The 54th edition of the event was undoubtedly the largest and most inspiring industry event ever, connecting 2,500 exhibitors and over 300,000 visitors.
Impressive numbers aside, I want to share with you some trends shaping the aerospace and aviation industry that I observed while at the show.
Sustainability emerged as a paramount focus for nearly 90% of the market players.
While there are significant challenges to overcome, the industry is making progress towards reducing its environmental footprint and becoming more sustainable.
This progress will likely continue as technology and awareness of sustainability issues grow.
It was inspiring to witness how big players like Boeing and Airbus not only talked about sustainability but also actively developed new solutions aligned with the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).
This is, for sure, going to be integral to every project or product that is developed during the next decade.
During the Paris International Air Show, a collaborative effort among manufacturers, suppliers, and stakeholders took centre stage, with a strong emphasis on advancing sustainability within the aviation industry.
This emphasis was unmistakable as a significant number of orders and intentions were made for new hybrid and all-electric aircraft, and the adoption of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
Furthermore, this commitment to sustainability was underscored by the procurement of more than a thousand fuel-efficient commercial airplanes, with Airbus and Boeing leading the way.
The 821 Airbus aircraft ordered during the event will bring a substantial reduction in carbon emissions compared to the aircraft they are replacing.
Similarly, Boeing’s 737 MAX and 787 Dreamliner demonstrated their potential in achieving the same environmental goals.
The Boeing 777-9, the world’s largest and most efficient twin-engine jet, builds on the success of the 777 and 787 Dreamliner technologies.
Despite its impressive size, it offers a 10% reduction in fuel consumption compared to its predecessor.
Worth mentioning is also the European Space Agency’s ambitious Zero Debris Charter initiative to push commercial and institutional actors in European aviation to adopt more sustainable space debris practices.
ESA, Airbus Defence and Space, OHB, and Thales Alenia Space have joined forces to support this ambition to tackle the pressing issue of space debris.
As anticipated, Defence took on considerable significance in light of the evolving geopolitical landscape in Europe following Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.
Numerous countries are making substantial investments in defence technologies, encompassing versatile multi-mission drones, diverse air and missile defence systems, self-defence mechanisms, and intelligent technologies tailored for the upcoming generation of fighter systems.
It’s evident that defence technology will emerge as a pivotal domain in the coming years.
One of the most discussed topics was definitely defence against hypersonic weapons, which Russia has been deploying in the Ukraine conflict.
During the Paris event, the French state research and development centre, ONERA, showcased a concept for an unmanned hypersonic aircraft.
Another outcome of the ongoing war on the borders of Europe is the increasing attention towards kamikaze drones.
Their effectiveness was demonstrated even before the onset of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, and more and more players are entering this arena, offering both conventional and unconventional solutions.
Throughout the event, one common thread prevailed: technology has become the central driving force behind every solution in the industry.
For instance, eVTOL solutions are revolutionising the aviation landscape. Companies like Wisk, Volocopter GmbH, and Lilium are leading in the electric aero taxi sector, with the potential availability of some solutions as early as next year.
However, regulatory frameworks and safety considerations remain significant challenges in realizing the full potential of eVTOL.
It seemed apparent at show that the aerospace industry expects Air Advanced Mobility (AAM) to become a reality soon. Nevertheless, Wisk, recently fully acquired by Boeing, is in no rush.
The company decided to enter the market with a fully autonomous aircraft, skipping the intermediate step of coming to market with a piloted aircraft first.
This means that certification for Wisk will come around 2030, and not in the 2025-2026 timeframe that other AAM firms are targeting with piloted systems.
Lilium, Volocopter, Archer, EHang, Joby Aviation, Airbus, Overair, and other manufacturers showed real potential for that during the Paris exhibition.
During the event, experts said this is the strongest aviation market in 35 years.
It was so inspiring to witness the industry rise with our own eyes and meeting our friends from SAS, IATA, and many other players we have successful case studies with.
At Sigma Software Group, we take pride in helping our customers overcome challenges by providing innovative solutions, leveraging 12 years of expertise in delivering software to aviation.
Also, our partner and portfolio company INPUT SOFT solves Resource and Data Management challenges for ground handling operations.
We attended the International Paris Air Show with a group of colleagues, so in addition to this overview, I asked them to share their own reflections.
Artem Shevchenko, senior project and account manager at Sigma Software Group
The 54th edition of the International Paris Air Show was not just an exhibition of technological marvels and aerospace innovations, it was a testament to the industry’s resilience and adaptability.
Sustainability, as highlighted during the event, was not just limited to hybrid aircraft or sustainable fuels.
The call for greener aviation, accelerated by policy shifts like the EU ETS Directive revision, is pushing the industry towards a more comprehensive digital transformation.
This means using innovative technologies to optimise operations and meet strict environmental rules.
It is always fascinating to get a glimpse into a future where aviation is not just smarter but also greener.
Andriy Paramonov, senior software developer at Sigma Software Group
The aviation industry was heavily affected by the pandemic, leading to a slowdown in its development and the suspension of promising projects.
However, trends observed in Paris highlighted the industry’s resilience and dynamic post-pandemic recovery.
The conference showcased a significant interest in the further digitalization of aviation. The industry, traditionally led by mechanical and aeronautical feats, is now equally driven by software and data. believe there are still many areas ripe for improvement, including:
- Internet of Things: Onboard sensors and smart systems can predict maintenance needs, improve operational efficiency, and enhance passenger experience;
- Augmented Reality: This can be used to train pilots more efficiently;
- Big Data and Analytics: These can enhance route optimisation, fuel efficiency, and offer personalised customer service;
- Machine Learning: It can be utilised to predict air traffic flow, manage airspace congestion, and ensure safe spacing between aircraft.
The improvements in the areas mentioned above can significantly benefit the aviation industry.
However, as digitisation increases and aviation becomes more interconnected and dependent on software, it also becomes a potential target for cyberattacks, leading to a rise in software-related security risks.
Given these considerations, it is crucial now more than ever to prioritise secure solutions during the planning and development of software for the aviation industry.
Furthermore, it’s vital for major industry players to collaborate in establishing cybersecurity standards and best practices for aircraft, air traffic management systems, and airports.