While the industry consensus points firmly toward brighter days ahead, the coming upturn will not be without its challenges.

Emerging markets, re-engined narrowbodies, airline consolidation, new aircraft manufacturers, readiness for composite aircraft, engineering and pilot shortages, rising oil prices, managing increases in capacity and production rates are all part of the industry watch items as the world economy emerges from the worst economic crisis the aviation industry has ever seen.

With these items on the minds of the industry, the shape of that recovery remains an open question, says Jim Billing, Boeing market analysis director.

Rather than a sharp "v-shaped" bounce in GDP growth or a "double dip" recession, Billing says the shape of growth resembles a "square root" symbol with a sharp drop, bounce back, followed by a shallow slope trending back toward sustained growth.

Panelists Billing, along with Bob Lange, Airbus head of aircraft interiors marketing, Sanjay Mazumdar, CEO of Lucintel and Tim Garvin, vice president sales for Regent Aerospace, agree the industry remains uneven, with the emerging markets in China, India and the Middle East leading the way, with the US and Europe slow to bounce back.

This dynamic is driving consolidation of carriers in the USA and Europe as they are forced to compete with the rapidly growing carriers in the Middle East, which are quickly expanding market share.

One challenge that must be reconciled for the aircraft interiors sector, says Lange, is as airlines choose to consolidate for flexibility, product consistency and commonality in the cabin amongst varied fleets will become more difficult.

Source: Flight Daily News