ATM Modernization, Business & GA, Commercial, Military

Editor’s Note: The Macro View

By David Jensen | January 1, 2001
Send Feedback

As in Januarys past, we present in this issue an outlook of the aerospace electronics industry. Unlike past January issues, however, our outlook data has not been generated by our staff of aviation journalists, but rather by Frost & Sullivan, whose professional analysts have been monitoring trends in aviation for 39 years.

You will see that they have quite logically separated the aviation marketplace into five categories: air transport, military, general aviation/corporate aircraft, in-flight entertainment, and air traffic management. Their analyses not only indicate what trends to watch in each category, but also what drivers are influencing those trends.

Frost & Sullivan provides you with a near-term prognosis focused on aerospace electronics–a micro view. But what about backing up for a macro-view, looking at the entire aviation environment and farther into the future. Such a view has been constructed by Frank Marchilena, Raytheon Co.’s executive vice president and the president of Command, Control, Communication and Information Systems. He collected data from a host of surveys, synthesized the data, and then presented it at the recent Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA) conference and exhibition in Atlantic City, N.J.

Attending members of the air traffic management community listened to Marchilena intently, knowing they will be tasked to accommodate the aviation industry’s growth. And growth definitely is anticipated. In brief, over the next 25 years, here is what Marchilena had to say:

  • The world economy will see growth exceeding 3%.

  • Because air passenger and freight prices are expected to continue declining, civil aviation growth will be a solid 4% to 5%.

  • The nearly 2 billion air passengers currently traveling annually will grow to 6.5 billion by 2025.

  • In the United States, the number of large and regional air transport aircraft will double in 25 years, from 7,700 to 16,500.

  • Forty thousand additional general aviation aircraft will enter the U.S. fleet by 2025.

  • The U.S. air freight market will grow by almost four times by 2025.

  • The 450 FAA and contract towers in the U.S., now handling 68 million aircraft operations annually, will witness 65% growth by 2025, to 110 million operations a year.

  • Today, 53 million (60%) of the operations are instrument operations; in 25 years that number will grow by 75%.

  • Air route traffic control center (ARTCC) operations will nearly double over the next 2.5 decades.

  • Non-stop commercial air service will expand to more domestic and international cities, and much of this new traffic will originate and terminate at non-hub airports.

  • Major routes will see passengers and goods transported in 600- to 1,000-passenger aircraft.

In his talk at ATCA, Marchilena also outlined the technology we can expect to shoulder this growth. He said, "It is not unreasonable to believe that we will have low-cost computers that are 1,000+ times as powerful as today...we will have three-dimensional displays and will be able to access the computer using voice, too.

"Wide-band RF, satellite, and terrestrial communication lines will connect everything, no matter where you are [and] the Internet will carry virtually all information movement," Marchilena added. "I believe that most, if not all, of these kinds of technologies can, and will, be applied to the air traffic management business..." These technologies would reside in a future communications, navigation, surveillance/air traffic management (CNS/ATM) environment.

A pretty positive outlook for the aerospace electronics industry. But it is one filled with challenges, too.

Our Anniversary!

A brief note as we enter 2001: Along with the above comments about the aviation industry’s growth over the next 25 years, it is appropriate to report in this space that Avionics Magazine has grown and served the industry over the past 25 years. That’s right, 2001 marks our silver anniversary, which we will celebrate in a forthcoming issue.

And just as we have done during the last quarter century, we plan to serve you over the next quarter century by presenting the aerospace electronics industry’s new technologies, regulations and standards–as well as its trends and outlook.

Receive the latest avionics news right to your inbox