How global events shake up our industry
Steffen de Vries - CEO
The aerospace industry is heavily influenced by developments around the world. We push limits to respond to demand. But how is our industry affected when there is a global event? And, more specifically, how does it affect Aeronamic? Due to the current circumstances, Steffen de Vries believed it was time to share an update on that very subject.
We want to highlight three major events that heavily impacted the world as we know it: the pandemic, the Russo-Ukrainian War and the rise of green aviation.
The pandemic: forecasts indicate recovery
Steffen de Vries: “Some were predicting otherwise, but after the pandemic people want to get back in the air again, perhaps even more than ever. Just look at the crowded airports or at the figures for that matter – the RPM (Revenue Passenger Miles) in the USA is higher than ever before. In our line of business, we work with forecasts to anticipate customer demand, and we have a window of about half a year before we start supplying for them. Working in advance means having to look into the future and the future of commercial aircraft now looks promising again. The forecasts indicate recovery as the world slowly shifts back into its previous gears. As we learned from global crises in the past, the curves show a dip which then rises again. By next year, we expect there to be a full recovery. It has already begun for narrow-bodied aircraft, but the wide-bodied aircraft will follow. Since people aren’t yet traveling intercontinental much, aircraft are flying fewer hours which results in less maintenance work for us.”
Russo-Ukrainian War: increase in defense
“We are all shaken up by what’s going on in Ukraine. And the harsh reality beyond the emotions becomes evident when it comes to defense. Countries are increasingly aware of the need for security, policies are being renegotiated, and long-term purchase decisions are being made. The result? Fleets of military aircraft are getting much bigger than expected. But just because production has been taken up a notch, that doesn’t mean supply will directly follow. If anything, the backlog is increasing, since there is a limit to what the industry can produce. A materials shortage is imminent, which will affect everyone worldwide and therefore also our industry. A lot of materials used to come from Russia, but there is now a purchase ban, of course. We also have to deal with the rising price of materials. In short, we have front-row seats for the war’s impact on the industry.”
“But the silver lining is that we’re in a position to do more than just sit and wait. Warfare nowadays demands modern solutions and the F-35 is in a leading position. And since there is an increase in orders for this aircraft platform, we can use our expertise to contribute to global security, working in close collaboration with Lockheed Martin and the Royal Netherlands Air Force. Next year will see the beginning of the maintenance work contract on the PTMS-system for at minimum all F-35 fighter jets in Europe. All maintenance work will take place at our location in Woensdrecht, where we are currently in training.”
Green aviation: hopeful prospects
“We have achieved a major feat: to have been awarded a grant from the Dutch government’s National Growth Fund. The sum they invested makes it possible for us to speed up the development of our e-compressors and realize more demonstrators. Within this field of green aviation, our first target market is UAM. We have chosen this simply because you can implement new technologies here very quickly. Looking forward to the years ahead, 2035 will mark the rollout for ‘greener’ narrow-bodied aircraft and in 2050 we foresee major leaps in sustainability for wide-bodied aircraft. For the long term, we have set up a timeline for the development of technology for all markets. We push limits! One notable takeaway is that our aerospace technology can be used in products outside our industry, in which case they will contribute just as much to a more sustainable world! Take industrial heat pumps, to give just one example. We find the diversification possibilities very exciting! During the upcoming ILA Berlin Air Show and the Farnborough International Airshow, we will be able to share more information on our amazing electrification developments. We hope to meet you there and we look forward to the opportunity of introducing you to our Mission Zero program.”
What effects of global events have you seen or experienced firsthand in your field of business?