Trends in the Airline Business for 2021
As we look forward to the world of aviation in 2021, we realize that the future of SAF is very promising – Bloomberg News reports that more widespread use of jet biofuels is expected in the coming years, and it’s important not to lose sight of the end goal.
In the meantime, Northwest Advanced is committed to staying focused on our core business goal to produce and provide sustainable aviation fuel to Delta Airlines starting in late 2024. As we work toward our goal, we understand that there will be a great many factors impacting aviation in the next few years. Let’s have a look at some of the trends developing for 2021 in the airline industry.
The Safety – Travel Precautions
Traveling in 2021 via major airlines through terminals means you’re likely going to have to prove to the flight crew that you’ve tested negative for a COVID-19 test days before your flight, at the departing airport, and at the arriving airport. This is on top of the other required masks and hand sanitizer you’ll also need access to during your flight.
For example, Travel & Leisure reported recently that Delta has launched two pre-flight testing pilot programs for flights from Atlanta International Airport to Amsterdam and Rome. Travelers going to the Netherlands now have to take a COVID-19 test at least five days before arrival in Amsterdam, take a rapid test before boarding, and then take a second PCR test upon arrival in the Netherlands. Travelers on their way to Rome also have three tests to take – one 72 hours before departure, a rapid test before boarding, and a second rapid test upon arrival at the airport in Italy. Everyone should expect other potential restraints on traveling by any method other than a car in the coming months.
The Security – Protecting crew and passengers
The elements of airport and airline security have ramped up in the past year due to the COVID-19 crisis, and further security measures may take hold in 2021. USA Today outlined a few areas in which passengers need to be compliant in order to fly. This includes wearing a mask over the mouth and nose before, during, and after the flight while in the terminal. If you don’t wear a mask, you may be asked to leave your flight. You might even be banned from future flights. TSA agents will usually be on hand to give you a mask if you’ve forgotten to bring one.
Passengers are also being required to state that they have tested negative for COVID-19 or “show proof” that they are negative. Trying to fly if you have the virus could get you on a no-fly block list administered by the TSA. Some airlines, including Delta, are not booking middle seats until March 2021, in order to provide passengers with additional safety on flights.
In the future, another security measure will likely emerge in the form of a Digital Travel Credential (DTC) to replace the traditional passport. It’s being looked at and examined by key industry bodies like the ICAO. Having a digital identity card may alarm some people, but for airline passengers, it seems to be the step in the right direction to add a layer of security and flexibility for travelers.
The Savings – Moving to SAF by 2030
As airlines use this pandemic to look at every part of their business to find out how to reduce costs, it is also under industry goals to reduce carbon gas emissions. A top priority for airplane makers is having the ability to reduce an aircraft’s fuel consumption. The team at Northwest Advanced Bio-Fuels, LLC is committed to working with Delta Air Lines on its goal to use sustainable aviation fuel in order to become carbon neutral by 2030.
The global CORSIA agreement is the industry agreement for moving forward with sustainable aviation fuel opportunities. The pilot phase begins in 2021. The United Nations group ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) announced its next call to supply carbon credits under the global aviation offsetting CORSIA plan. The intake runs through February 10 and is open to emissions unit programs to apply for eligibility.
The Recovery – Moving Ahead
The major airlines have just gone through a year of business uncertainty, and in 2021, are charging ahead to find new ways to attract customers back to the airports. As mentioned above, Delta is maintaining its leadership position in setting standards and is keeping its middle seat un-booked until March to give its customers extra comfort and safety during flights. Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian expects 2021 to be a year of recovery, and the airline expects to be cash-flow positive again by mid-year, 2021.
Other airlines are looking to lower fares temporarily to bring back customers. And all the airlines are behind vaccination efforts to keep everyone clean and safe and to bring a sense of calm to flying again.
These are a few of the aviation and airline trends we see in play during this new year. NWABF remains committed and excited about the future of sustainable aviation fuel. We continue on a forward path to develop our Grays Harbor, WA Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Project to produce and supply 60+ million gallons of SAF annually for Delta Air Lines.
David P. Smoot
David Smoot has an extensive background in Project Development, including the Financing and Technology Integration for those Projects. Mr. Smoot also held positions of upper management with leading companies in the Computer Software and Hardware industries, including the Financing and Leasing industries specifically related to those industries prior to moving into the renewable energy industry which morphed into renewable fuels. Smoot has created a turnkey solution model not yet seen in the industry.