How the aviation industry changed over time

A hundred years ago, flying was just a fantasy. Nowadays, the aviation industry is one of the largest corporate industries out there. Though born through massive competition among plane manufacturers in the United States, it started growing as specialized companies from Europe joined the race. Jet manufacturers from Brazil, Australia, and Canada also played an important contribution in raising the standards for modern airlines.

A bit of history

Airlines grew with an incredible after World War II. Then, the recession of the early 1980s made airlines come up with new ways to attract new passengers on their flights while keeping older customers loyal. Just like today, bankruptcies and merges to avoid bankruptcy were a common fear in the aviation industry. Because aircraft manufacturers were in financial trouble, they had to strongly cut down on production. In the meantime, the flying customers turned into almighty Gods in the eyes of airline companies. That is because their contributions represented the only way to save themselves from dissolution.

aircraft flying over city

Cheap flights, anyone?

To attract more passengers, airline companies began competitions to offer the best flight deals. This was great news to frequent business travelers and budget travelers alike. As frequent flyers became all the rage, and airline companies did their best to increase the number of members in their clubs. Therefore, the benefits of frequent flyer programs were much more varied than today. Unbelievable as it may seem, airline companies even joined forces with telephone companies to offer bonus miles to those who switched their phone services.

The rise of small-town airports

Commuting by plane became popular for those who had their workplaces and homes in different cities or even different countries. While small-town airports began to appear all over the world, commuters started leaving their cars to travel by plane. Thus the aviation industry grew even larger.

Keeping up with the times, airline companies changed the term from stewardess to flight attendant.

Inside Singapore's Jewel Changi Airport
Inside Singapore’s Jewel Changi Airport

Airports like small towns

More crowded skies brought on the challenge represented by massive air traffic control in the aviation industry. For better coordination, airlines needed to work together in harmony to plan and develop larger airports. Some of them turned into small towns, spreading on large surfaces and on several floors. There, travelers have a wider choice for eating and shopping while waiting to take off. At the same time, luxurious lounges become popular with travelers who choose to pay a bit more for increased comfort and service. Some airports have childcare available and even merry-go-rounds for the little ones to enjoy.

More in-flight perks

Inside the planes themselves, passengers have many ways to pass their time in the air. Depending on the length of the flights and the cost of the plane tickets, one can enjoy in-flight movies on individual screens. At the same time, music lovers also have radio and music choices, while readers have in-flight magazines to browse. For those who bring their own electronic devices, there are USB plugs available to charge them should their batteries go out.

A hundred years ago, just thinking of flying from A to B on the Globe was a fantasy. Over time, the aviation industry changed so much that not even one’s wildest dreams could have thought of it the way it is today. And as low-cost airlines make flying affordable for everyone, the aviation industry as a whole is becoming more and more concerned about protecting the environment. So it must be very challenging for airlines to offer longer flights at lower costs while decreasing the carbon footprint. But the aviation industry never ceases to amaze and I’m personally looking forward to observing how it changes in the next decades.

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aviation industry quick history lesson text over image of plane wing and fluffy clouds seen out of the airplane window
aviation industry quick history lesson text over image of flight passenger hand holding a paper plane by the airplane window
aviation industry quick history lesson text over image of plane flying over two twin tower skyscrapers

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3 Thoughts to “How the aviation industry changed over time”

  1. So many things changed….

  2. Nic

    It’s so interesting the development in aviation and travel over the years. I’ve flown from NZ to the UK and back and the same with Australia and back in the space of 18 months and in relative terms for not so much money! I can also fly from the UK to places like Oslo or Milan for under £20, crazy!! At the same times we’ve also had companies like Thomas Cook closing down, one of the oldest travel companies because they didn’t move with the times!

  3. So so so many changes! My favorite has to be that some airports are like small towns! I find it so fascinating to be at an airport with so many amenities and things to do. If makes my flight anxiety much less.

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