The team at aircraft interiors supplier, FACC, have been making projections about the post-pandemic aviation world, and predict that while global megatrends may permanently change the aviation industry, the market for civil passenger aircraft will continue to experience strong growth – just of a different kind, with the coming decade shaped by climate policy and environmental protection.
For the aircraft interiors sector, big influences would be the need for new materials to be used, and more efficient manufacturing processes and digitalisation implemented. Further influences that FACC predicts include the growth of urban air mobility, which will require an entirely new category of aircraft, and the ongoing privatisation of aerospace, which could create new opportunities for the entire aerospace industry.
With these market predictions in mind, FACC is preparing itself for the next decade with a new strategy intended to see it profit from changes in its core business, embrace climate protection as an opportunity, and advance into new markets.
The megatrends shaping aviation
FACC believes there are four megatrends currently shaping the aviation industry that will have a direct impact on the group’s core business.
- The world’s population is projected to grow by 25% by 2050, while 80% of the global population has never flown
- Urbanisation is progressing rapidly: in 2050, 68% of the population will be living in megacities with more than 10 million inhabitants. New mobility concepts are required here.
- Climate change is turning into a defining issue, and the demands for green technologies and comprehensive environmental responsibility are becoming ever more important for the aviation industry
- New markets will also emerge as a result of further globalisation and digitalisation. The expansion of satellite communication and the associated commercialisation of space travel offer great market potential.
“FACC will contribute with strong product solutions and innovations in all areas, and meet people’s basic need for mobility in a sustainable and affordable way,” stated Robert Machtlinger, CEO of FACC AG. “Innovative lightweight solutions for the aerospace industry are, and will remain, our core business. We will continue to expand our lightweight technology expertise, and our involvement in new segments will allow us to build on our strong market position and achieve additional growth.”
Committed to the sky, at all levels
The aviation industry is, and shall remain, FACC’s core market, which the company says will expand by “one level both upwards and downwards” in this decade.
Regarding the (literal) upward expansion, drone technologies will make the airspace directly above the ground accessible for a broad range of mobility applications. The need for new solutions in the fields of urban and interurban mobility is increasing. Logistics, search and rescue drones, as well as electrically powered air taxis provide a response to this demand.
In parallel, FACC believes the fusion of the aviation and space sectors is being driven by the privatisation of aerospace. Outer space is developing into a significant growth market due to the increasing demand for carrier rockets, satellites and space applications.
“At both levels, our lightweight construction expertise is in high demand, and FACC will expand its business to cover these two areas. Our knowledge edge also enables us to score very highly in both market segments and further advance our expansion,” stated Machtlinger.
A sustainable future
FACC currently ranks among the top 100 largest aerospace groups in the world; by 2030, it expects to enter the top 50. Sustainability will be an important lever in achieving this ascent, particularly for the aircraft industry.
“Specifically in the context of climate targets, there is an opportunity to rethink aviation, said Machtlinger. “Innovative FACC technologies contribute to making flying more environmentally friendly, quieter and a more enjoyable experience for passengers.”
With regard to sustainability and the aircraft interiors sector, work will include aircraft cabins with an entirely new design, manufactured from renewable raw materials, as well as intelligent lightweight structures produced from 100% recyclable materials in short, energy-saving processes.
Three phases to success
FACC aims to increase its market position with a three-phase model:
- Phase 1: evolution. This phase focuses on performance. FACC plans to increase its market share in the existing core segments, while driving innovations in order to sustainably support the strategic goals of customers.
- Phase 2: transformation. The company intends to substitute existing components with new technologies and thus improve existing aircraft models with regard to sustainability. In addition, FACC will generate new growth and strengthen its market presence by entering new markets.
- Phase 3: diversification. FACC aims to disrupt and transform existing markets with “radically new” technologies. At the same time, the company seeks to sustainably expand into new markets, building on its lightweight construction expertise.
“Our know-how in the field of lightweight construction technology provides a strong competitive advantage. We will be expanding our portfolio both upwards and downwards, and we will also get involved in the new and highly attractive urban air mobility’ and space market segments,” explained Machtlinger.
Looking back but focusing on the future
The effects of the pandemic on businesses were abrupt and harsh. However, Machtlinger firmly believes that good times are ahead for FACC. “We were one of the first companies in our industry to fully respond and adapt to the changes currently taking place. The cutbacks were painful, but necessary. What others still have to tackle in the future is already behind us,” he stated.
“We have always come out of crises stronger than before, and we will do so again this time. With our new strategy, we have a clear goal and are looking ahead. Our course is clear: to seize the opportunities that lie ahead, and to steer the company back to its growth path.”