Porsche Consulting: Regional aviation to stage a comeback


Regional aviation, from both the operator and manufacturer sides, is staging a comeback thanks to new technologies, according to Porsche Consulting.

The decline in regional aviation has been two-pronged. Firstly, the strong emergence of low-cost carriers, especially at second and third tier airports, has pushed numerous regional airlines out of the market. Secondly, the traditional regional carrier business model — high maintenance costs, high fixed unit costs such as aircraft asset depreciation due to their low utilisation, high variable unit costs such as fuel burn and high landing and handling costs for smaller aircraft.

Porsche Consulting said advancements in areas such as battery-electric powered motors and AI-based flight planning could reverse the trend which has seen many regional aviation carriers cease operations in the last decade. For example, 140 airfields in Germany meet the required 900m runway length for thin-haul battery-electric powered aircraft take-off and landing. On top of that, 45% of the German population lives within 20 km of these airfields.

The consultancy firm identified the seven key points of how regional aviation will make its comeback.

  • Environmental Performance: Due to their lack of fuel burn, battery electric powered aircraft have zero CO2 emissions in operation
  • Operating Cost: Battery electric aircraft are predicted to have 65% lower maintenance costs compared to kerosene aircraft and 30% lower energy costs
  • Flight Operations: Small battery electric aircraft need only a minimal ground infrastructure and thus can operate from small airfields that enable short turnaround times, flexible operation and low landing fees
  • Flight Plans: AI-based dynamic schedules that rely on customer demand increase market coverage and customer attractiveness
  • Mobility Concept: The integration of mobility provider partners enables customer-centric door-to-door mobility services
  • Aircraft Utilisation: Low noise emissions and the ability for conversion to cargo operation at night drive up revenues and increase aircraft utilisation.
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