19 December 2018

2018 Flashback – 2019 Preview

The aerospace and airport infrastructure industry is in the midst of a Golden Age. Never before have we experienced a near decade of continuous growth across the total spectrum of aviation and space related industrial activities. Aviation benefits from a growing middle class population eager to travel supported by affordable ticket prices, leading to an ever increasing demand for new aircraft, aircraft maintenance, airport development and infrastructure refurbishment. The space domain welcomes new entrants as private parties are offering cost-effective launch & exploration solutions to support ever-increasing earth observation and surveillance demands from governments and institutions around the globe.

To further the good news, our industry has shown resilience to external shocks such as 9/11, SARS, and various economic crises in the past. This may bode well for the future as challenges such as Brexit and trade wars combined with political unrest are looming, but we are not to lose sight of one factor that may jeopardize further growth within the aviation & space domain and that is: public opinion.

Currently, aviation forms 2% of all worldwide CO2 emissions but is forecasted to constitute 5% of all CO2 emissions by 2050 as international air transport continues to grow. Although the general public i.e. ourselves, enjoys the benefits of aviation and space exploitation, we need to be aware that the growing awareness of climate change due to CO2 in combination with health concerns driven by NOx and noise may tilt the public opinion against further growth, particularly in Europe. We are not short of willingness to improve as various (inter)national R&T programs such as SESAR, Clean Sky and Intelligent Thermoplastics attest. However, speed is of the essence here i.e. technology developments aimed at making air transport cleaner are to be accelerated in order for us to meet societal & market needs. Thus, 2019 presents itself as a year of continued growth for our industry, but also as a year where we have to communicate and show that the aviation & space community is addressing societal & market needs in timely and effective ways.

We realize that the NAG has to prove its raison d’être to you as a member each year. Being a member of a trade association is an investment which needs to show a valuable return, be it in new business opportunities, business contacts, and / or enhanced knowledge and experience. With this in mind, the NAG team will continue to organize (inter)national B2B networking events and trade missions, and plans to intensify initiatives to increase our members’ knowledge base by means of organizing sector based theme sessions around AS9100, human resources, regulatory issues, quality assurance, and aero engines with a focus on societal & market needs. We will also continue to strengthen the cooperation between our members as sharing experiences and networks has proven to be one of the most successful competitive advantages of NAG members.

The Board, management and members of the NAG team will try their best to meet your expectations, and where possible to exceed them in 2019. We wish you a healthy and prosperous new year.

– By René van Doorn, Chairman NAG