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Throughout the decades, industries have experienced disruptions due to technological advancements. While many industries have seen these disruptions impact businesses and developments, the aerospace industry has remained largely unaffected. Though advancements have been made to improve aircraft size and efficiency, the mechanics behind the crafts and the ways in which they are manufactured had stayed predominately consistent. Now, however, digitalization is predicted to transform aerospace.

A new wave of technological advancements and consumer demands are beginning to mold the industry’s business model. These disruptions prove enough to significantly alter the industry within the next years to come.

With an increasing demand for air travel and economic growth, the aerospace industry is currently boasting a profitable period that is predicted to continue. This demand is spurring manufacturers to produce large volumes of aircraft each month and shows no signs of slowing. Currently, 26,000 aircraft are in service and by 2028, that number is expected to increase to close to 38,000 crafts. International hubs are also predicted to increase, as well as the revenue passenger kilometers.

Digitalization will begin to reshape the aerospace industry as it grows. Incorporating smart technology will allow planes the ability to use real-time data to adjust flight routes. With these advancements, planes can minimize turbulence and maximize fuel efficiency. Predictive maintenance will also become more prominent in the industry, incorporating algorithms and analytics that will be able to precisely determine when parts of an aircraft should be replaced. Not only does predictive maintenance ensure an aircraft’s safety, it also ensures the parts’ full lifespan is utilized.

Other advancements include additive manufacturing, or 3-D component printing. With this type of manufacturing, parts can be produced closer to the repair sites of the aircraft. While advancements and acceptance may still be in the distance, single-pilot operations and autonomous or remote-controlled aircraft are beginning to be seriously considered as viable options for the future.

Airline and traveler demands are also furthering digitalization. A demand for connectivity is contributing to advancements in communication. These advancements seek to cultivate relationships between customers and airlines and provide valuable information for manufacturers looking to differentiate their products and services.

Spurred by customer demand, the aerospace industry will also begin focusing on “green” operation, reducing emissions, increasing fuel efficiency, and developing technologies to shorten travel time. Manufacturers are beginning to consider electric engines, which will not only increase fuel efficiency and release fewer greenhouse gases, but will also reduce noise and promote night flying.

With these advancements, aerospace manufacturers will need to efficiently develop and modify designs to keep in pace with technological developments and consumer demands. Even further, manufacturers may need to learn how to get ahead and stay ahead of digitalization disruptions before and as they happen.