Effects of Technological Advances to Aviation Sector
A few years back I was sat having a drink with a couple of clients in working for the Airport Authorities in Dubai. We were discussing the airports' future programme of works and the problems and issues that they faced when finalising the design for the Airport.
One of the greatest issues they faced was imagining what our airport experience would look like in 20, 30 or even 50 years’ time.
It was an interesting concept that I had never really considered until then. However, with technology advancing at such a rapid rate over the last couple of decades, what could we realistically expect our airports to look like in the not too distant future?
Maybe we won’t even need commercial aircraft as we’ll all fly on holiday in our own flying cars in 50 years. I’m obviously joking, however imagining the World in 50 years’ time is no easy task, even for the most creative minds out there.
Why Aviation Projects are Booming
Many airports must surely face this challenge as passenger numbers have increased at an exponential rate in recent times. Mainly due to air travel becoming more affordable. This shift has seen the Aviation sector become one of the constructions most buoyant industries with major airports around the world constantly carrying out major programmes of work to cope with demand. Based on the forecasts for air travel passenger numbers, it seems this looks set to continue for some time.
We’re forecast to see another 89% increase in passenger travel between now (3.8 Bn passengers) and 2035 (7.2 Bn passengers). Many major airports are having to make major improvements to their current facilities to cope with increased passenger numbers as well as striving to maximise the passenger experience at the airport.
This will include new build or refurbished terminals buildings, more technically advanced security & baggage handling systems for example.
Recruitment in the Aviation Sector
The increase of construction work within the Aviation sector will surely have an impact of the recruitment for such projects as clients, consultancies and contractors on such projects around the World compete to hire the most qualified staff in the market to work with them on their respective projects.
Due to the unique challenges working on airports creates, our clients working on airport projects consistently demand that candidates we introduce to them have prior experience on projects within the aviation sector. Nowhere is that more the case than when their role is to specifically work on the specialist services within an airport such as Baggage Handling and Security systems.
These specific areas of the projects seem to have been most heavily affected by technological advances in recent years, with incredibly high-tech systems being developed and implemented in many major airports around the World. For this reason, we find that where many clients show little to no flexibility when trying to find candidates to work for them in such specialist sectors within the airport.
This has led to vacancies within these specialist sectors such as Baggage Handling becoming harder and harder to fill in recent years. We had a Quantity Surveying role on Dubai airport several months ago that proved to be a troublesome role to find suitable candidates for. In fact, currently, we are on an assignment to find a Programme Director specifically to manage the upgrade of a complex, high-value baggage system on behalf of the Greater Toronto Airport Authority.
More details can be found on that vacancy here:
Programme Director – Airport Baggage Handling (Toronto, Canada)
This role combines the need for high-level Programme Director skills on major programmes of work, including leadership, ability to make high-level strategic decisions and stakeholder management as well as a good technical understanding of Baggage Handling Systems.
If you have this profile and are interested in a great opportunity to work and live in Toronto, Canada then I’d be very interested in hearing from you. You can apply for this position via the website or give me a call in our UK office to discuss in more detail.
In truth, the boom of the Aviation sector started many years ago. Particularly in the Middle East where Maxim has been very strong for many years. We saw major and consistent upgrades to the main airports in the likes of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Muscat. However, in reality, many other national and regional airports were seeing slightly less high-profile upgrades as well.
I think this is a trend we’ll continue to see for the foreseeable future based on the various major developments I’m aware of already. For example, the Greater Toronto Airport Authority Masterplan, which we are actively recruiting for is a 20-year programme of works (2017 – 2037). [https://www.torontopearson.com/uploadedFiles/GTAA/Content/About_GTAA/Strategy/Master_Plan/Toronto_Pearson_Master_Plan_2017_to_2037_EN.pdf]
Those construction professionals with previous experience on major redevelopment works or specialist systems will find themselves in high demand going forward (if they’re not already). I expect they will be until air passenger numbers from traditional airports start to plateau or decrease. Who knows when that will be! Maybe until someone designs those flying cars I was talking about earlier, or maybe we’ll all get bored of vacationing on Earth and start taking our holidays to Mars on Elon Musk’s new space shuttles.