Last Year and Next Year – Where We’ve Been and What We See Ahead
British Airways Boeing B-787-10 arrives at Boston with resumption of international travel.
Our three digital aviation magazines Photorecon.net, ClassicWarbirds.net and CivilAviationWorld.com cover a lot of ground where history is concerned. Through our lenses and keyboards, we strive to bring interesting accounts of contemporary and bygone aviation endeavors to our pages, for anybody to enjoy. Our team of writers and photographers are already planning to attend certain aviation events in 2022 to continue our quest to record history, such as air shows, trade shows, military exercises and commercial flight adventures.
Boeing C-17A transport arriving Manchester NH before a U. S. Presidential visit.
From our combined personal archives, we’ll publish past visions that took place decades ago, sharing our good fortune to be at the right place at the right time to take a snapshot of a historical airplane or a view an interesting event.
Here are some newsworthy items that we’ve noticed in 2021; we wonder what some of the new years’ topics in aviation may attract our attention and focus.
Matt Younkin during his aerobatic routine at EAA’s AirVenture Oshkosh 2021.
Air Shows Return! Air shows are great gatherings of people and machines which provide excitement and opportunities to exercise your imagination. With crowd restrictions somewhat eased in 2021, many yearly and biennial events were held, with some interesting limitations. One such show was the Pease Air National Guard’s Thunder Over New Hampshire, which was capacity-controlled to limit crowd size. Others, like Ontario’s Airshow London – SkyDrive and the New York International Air Show at Orange County Airport, have reserved spaces to park and watch the flying presentations from your own vehicle and seats, while there were no static displays. Still others, like the EAA’s huge AirVenture Oshkosh 2021 went on with few restrictions.
British Airways has resumed A-380 service as passenger loads approach 2019 numbers in some markets.
Commercial Traffic Rebounds: Airlines are back to operating close to their high 2019 numbers as far as flights and passengers are concerned (at least in the U.S. – our most-heavily covered market). Fewer daily flights, sometimes using larger aircraft that weren’t seen in the past, seem to be a trend. New entrant airlines like domestics Breeze and Avelo, and international companies like Play and Norse Atlantic Airways ASA are just a few of some 90 new airlines that plan to begin service within the next years (according to the Wall Street Journal).
The Airbus 380 fleet, pretty much grounded as the COVID-19 worldwide passenger drop occurred, has made a return to the skies, at least for a short time as business and pent-up leisure demand requires the type’s capacity on some international routes. Belly freight, an important source of revenue for many airlines, went away when the mass groundings of 2019 and 2020 occurred. It is slowly returning, but…
New FedEx B-767-300F; the airline ordered eighteen of these in 2021.
Air Freight Traffic is Rising: What began as a worldwide emergency airlift of medical supplies to respond to COVID-19 is now an uptick in regular air cargo as sea and land cargo shipping has reached or exceeded capacity. In recent months, both Boeing and Airbus have sold new B-767 and B-777 and A-330 and A-350 air freighters at a higher than average pace. Even with passenger jets’ belly cargo space, new demand for air freight is blossoming. Problems with ground and sea shipping congestion have shown a spotlight on air cargo.
A former passenger B-767-300ER converted to freighter, seen at Anchorage, Alaska.
Passenger to freight (P2F) airframe conversions, using older passenger jets and turboprop transports, is a suddenly booming business.
A Boeing B-737-MAX9 back in operation.
There are a few thorny issues that haven’t been resolved in 2021 too. Although the B-737 MAX jets have returned to service after a lengthy grounding, the prolonged certification process with the new Boeing B-777-9 and construction anomalies with some B-787s have delayed development and deliveries. Airbus’ new A-350 has some identified construction issues too. Airliner orders are still being juggled, with some cancellations and delivery delays requested by customers, but some recent large orders have been finalized.
A new and possibly crippling blow to airport capacity during bad weather events is the much heralded 5G mobile network rollout, which seems to infringe upon radio bands that allow aircraft radar altimeters to be used to reduce their landing weather minimums. In a rare move, both Boeing and Airbus sent a joint letter to U.S. officials stating a large amount of flights’ safety could be affected.
What’s ahead in 2022?
A U.S. Air Force HC-130 dragging a pair of CV-22 Ospreys.
The year 2022 is the U.S. Air Force’s 75th Anniversary. We’re watching for ceremonies and shows which highlight the technology and people who have made this force one to be reckoned with during conflict, and welcomed during times of disaster. Unfortunately, there has been plenty of both last year, here’s hoping next year will allow for reduced operational tempos.
A New Boeing B-747-8F at the EAA’s AirVenture Oshkosh 2021.
New Air Freighters and Service. We’ll try to keep up with the ever-changing air cargo industry as it adds aircraft and new capacity where it hasn’t been before. Large carriers such as FedEx and UPS have recently ordered new Boeing B-767 freighters. B-737 and A-321 freighters are increasing in numbers too.
Embraer’s new ERJ-195-E2 is one of a crop of new and more efficient airliners being fielded recently.
New Airline Startups and Services. We’ll keep up with new developments as well as look back at some long-gone companies which didn’t survive various events and economic hurdles. New airliner variants such as the Airbus A-220, Embraer E-195-E2, Boeing B-737MAX, B-777-10 and Airbus A-321neo/XLR and A-350-1000 variants are coming on line, we’ll have plenty of photos of these newer aircraft on our pages. There are new turboprop variants on the boards too!
The Lockheed Martin F-35C is one of three main variants of the new fighter.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 has just won new orders from Finland, Switzerland and the UAE in 2021. Belgium and Poland will receive F-35s too, and more competitions may mean more airframes ordered. We’ll keep our eyes on this noteworthy system.
Openers’ Blackfly is an all-electric single person VTOL transport.
Electric aircraft and a new breed of air taxis are being designed, prototyped and some are even flying. Remote control and autonomously operated unmanned aircraft are a reality, we expect to have a few articles about some of the innovations taking to the skies.
This Azores Airlines Airbus A-321-253NX “Magical” is one of the newest, more economical versions of the A-321.
In closing, we’ll keep telling stories about aviation through our photos and words. We update our content on a weekly basis, so by all means keep up with our digital aviation magazines! Don’t be shy about telling your friends to take a look too, because we’re happy to share our passion of aviation with anybody.
As the Assignment and Content Editor for these three aviation titles, I am humbled to be able to work with some truly great photographers and talented writers. We number around two dozen artists, historians, and scribes, telling our stories through photos, video and written words. I am really proud to be part of this group of passionate people!