For decades, airplanes powered by oil have transported huge numbers of passengers from one place to another, particularly in the developed world. The industry has faced its fair share of challenges over those years—deregulation; bigger, then smaller planes; computer-armed customers shopping for the cheapest tickets; carrier consolidation—but the broader picture has always been the same: big bird, big crowd, Big Oil.
Not for much longer.
Every aspect of the passenger airline business is changing, in ways large and small. Together those changes will amount to a mega-disruption, upsetting almost every part of this model. Expect changes in what time planes take off and land, how they’re guided through the sky, and who’s in the cockpit. Back in the cabin, the demographics of passengers—and their demands—are also changing. Then there’s the aircraft itself: its size, its fuel, and even its destination.