Executive Summary

IATA has forecasted that passenger demand to double over 20 Years with the fastest-growing markets in Asia and Sub-saharan Africa. This is no surprise that the emerging and frontier market economies account for the biggest growth in the near future. This is great for the aviation industry.

This report is about the future cultural conflicts we identified when we looked at the aviation industry. Here are the key issues we see the aviation industry will need to look at:

  1. The new growth markets are all in cultures with little tradition for aviation. The entire culture around how to behave in an airport and in an aircraft is developed on European and North American norms and values. All the new growth markets have cultural norms and values that are very different. That will cause cultural clashes, conflicts, unsatisfied passengers, rising costs for the airlines and airports and tremendous pressure on airlines and airports to resolve these conflicts.
  2. Being overweight and obese will challenge airports and airlines in the future. In 1995 45% of the US population was overweight. in 2016 it was 73% Almost all countries can record tremendous growth in the number of overweight and obese people. A Harvard study suggests that over 57% of today’s youth will be obese at age 35. They will require more space and time in the airports and many of them will have difficulties fitting into modern economy-class seats. Dissatisfaction, complaints, negative press coverage and political pressure will be inevitable.
  3. Life expectancy is soaring in many parts of the world. In developed economies more and more elderly people are agile till very late in their lives, they have money and love to travel. But they require more time in the airports going through security and when boarding an aircraft. How will that be perceived by other passengers who are in a hurry to get to the gate as quickly as possible and de-boarding the aircraft as quickly as possible? A conflict between age groups is imminent. Costs for airports and airlines will rise too, but who shall pay?

This article covers the three cultural issues in more detail and provides recommendations for what has to be done.

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Dr Finn Majlergaard
Dr Finn Majlergaard

CEO Gugin, Professor, Keynote Speaker, Author

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