It’s a fact that everyone in the industry blames the market for everything that’s wrong with our industry. Following Friedrich Nietzsche’s belief that “stability is an illusion, progress is reality”, I know we cannot do anything but accept the fact that everything is changing – including business aviation – and we need to adjust. On top of this, we are also experiencing a generational change, a change that is so profound that we often hear older generations decrying the newest generation as being incapable and destined to destroy the stability they worked so hard to build.
But it’s more than just a new generation. Change is also being driven by a fundamental change in how we do things, thanks mainly to technology. As today’s iGeneration, or ‘Millennials’, are the first generation to have grown up with technology, they are often at the forefront of this change. Add to this differences in the way they were raised and you begin to understand the Millennial reputation for being demanding and putting their own happiness first. After all, this is the generation that thinks twice about where they spend their money, opting not to buy or wear a product that was made via the mistreatment of workers or the environment. But this generation is also the most highly educated and the creators of social media. As a result, they are masters at getting what they want while not compromising their beliefs.
In the former Eastern Europe CEE countries, this generation has another factor added to their spoiled lives. After the fall of communism, prior generations worked hard to make sure future generations, such as the Millennials, had a better life and were equipped to avoid conflicts.
This all matters of course because this generation is the new decision maker – the ones who will (or won’t) be buying planes in the coming decades. Knowing this, we need to adjust and change. For example, someone who believes in the values of luxury and prosperity may have difficulty marketing an aircraft to a buyer who is more interested in whether they can use all their Apple devices on board and the environmental impact of the jet than things like range.
The CEPA generation
This generational change can best be framed as a changing of the guard in business aviation, and a topic that we will dive into during next week’s CEPA Expo in Prague. What are the trends? How do we understand the needs of both today’s and tomorrow’s clients and how do we meet them? Is ‘Uber Air’ really a possibility? These answers and more will be the focus of a dedicated session on 20 October. Known trend-watcher Tom Palearts will present the results of his recent generational study and give tips for how the industry can best prepare itself to market to and work with the next generation of bizav buyers.
To ensure this conversation isn’t one-sided, for the first time ever, the CEPA Expo is hosting an aviation career day. Here we will bring in some of the youngest and brightest in upcoming talent and match them with some of today’s industry leaders. The goal is to help both the job seekers better understand the industry and the industry to better understand their future employees.
The message here is that if we’re going to succeed tomorrow, we need to adjust and realign today. All generations need to approach our changing industry with an open mind and learn from each other. With a cross-generational view, bizav will most certainly continue to grow.