As another year reaches us, it’s time to take stock and look forward to what the coming year might bring.
2021, like the year before it, has been one of unprecedented change and challenge for the aviation and air travel industries, marked by losses of airlines, popular aircraft types, and our airports reporting sharp declines in passenger numbers.
Yet since summer 2021 we have seen a return to growth and, barring any further restrictions imposed by the latest Covid variant, we should see continued growth over 2022.
So what do we have to look forward to over the next year? And what, as aviation enthusiasts, might we enjoy through our hobby in 2022?
Must See Airlines in 2022
One of the newest airlines in America, Breeze Airways recently took delivery of its first Airbus A220 and has plans to increase its network coverage this year.
Northern Pacific Airways
A new airline hoping to develop an east-west transit hub at Anchorage using a fleet of six Boeing 757-200s. Planning to launch in 2022.
Set up by the founder of Airblue in Pakistan, this is a new Californian airline hoping to start in Spring 2022.
Italy’s new national carrier is slowly painting the former Alitalia aircraft in its own blue livery, and is one to try out this year.
Scandinavian Airlines is planning to introduce two new subsidiary airlines in 2022 – SAS Link and SAS Connect. Look out for their aircraft (Embraer 190s and Airbus A320neos respectively).
A new Colombian airline recently took delivery of its first aircraft, an Airbus A320. It will start services soon.
This much talked about UK airline hopes to begin low-cost flights between the UK and India in 2022. It has already taken delivery of its first Airbus A330, which has been used on cargo flights so far.
The second incarnation of Flybe is due to start flight in Spring 2022. Will it survive? Will it grow? One to watch out for.
Greater Bay Airlines
This new airline in Hong Kong hopes to establish a regional network around South East Asia with Boeing 737s.
A new Taiwanese carrier which has been getting a lot of attention since its launch two years ago. In 2022 it hopes to drastically increase its long-haul reach, so we’ll hopefully see it coming to the USA and Europe.
Must See New Liveries in 2022
Recently introduced a new livery on one aircraft, which will be rolled out across the fleet.
Royal Jordanian Alia Retro Scheme
A smart retro livery launched in November 2021, harking back to the original national airline of Jordan.
Delta Team USA
Set to remain on this A330neo for a few years, this is a special livery supporting the US Olympics team.
Set to be introduced in 2022 is the new livery for Icelandair, with different colours across the fleet.
Must See New Aircraft Types in 2022
Air Canada Boeing 767 P2F
The fashion for passenger-to-freighter conversions continues with Air Canada receiving the first of its Boeing 767-300s in December.
Air Vanuatu A220
A new Airbus A220 operator set to receive its first aircraft soon.
Hawaiian Airlines 787
The Hawaiian carrier is looking forward to introducing the Dreamliner on its long-haul services in 2022, complementing its Airbus A330s.
Iraqi Airways A220
Another new A220 operator about to commence flying with the type, and it looks really smart!
The German national carrier may have streamlined its long-haul fleet as a result of Covid. But it is set to introduce the Boeing 787 in 2022.
This hotly anticipated Chinese airliner hopes to challenge the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX, but will it succeed. First deliveries are set for 2022.
Southwest 737 MAX 7
The smallest variant of the Boeing 737 MAX is due to enter service with Southwest Airlines in 2022. They have ordered hundreds of them to replace their older 737-700s. I wonder if any will wear the special liveries we know them for?
See Before It’s Too Late!
In this final section, we take a more negative viewpoint and look at the aircraft we may want to see in 2022 before they’re gone forever.
There are now very few 727s in active service compared to the number built. None are flying regular passenger services, with only cargo, military and VIP variants still flying. Our recent guide covers where to see a 727 (click here).
Cubana is the only airline still flying the Ilyushin Il-96 in passenger service and, thanks to the pandemic, these flights are still quite sporadic. While it’s technically still in production, there are only Russian Government and military variants readily active, so it’s quite rare to see or fly on one any more.
2021 saw the retirement of the Air Chathams Convair 580 fleet. These were the only sure way to get a flight on this now rare type, albeit after making your way out to New Zealand to do so. Now, there’s only one airline – Nolinor in Canada – with a passenger-configured Convairliner in service, and this does not operate scheduled services. The few other remaining active aircraft are in cargo service. I don’t think it will be long before there are none left flying.
The only three airlines still flying the Airbus A310 are Ariana Afghan Airlines, Iran Air and Mahan Air, along with some military and government operators. These are not easy to fly on, and the age of these airframes means they will not be long off reaching the end of their useful life.
There are estimated to only be 6 active Il-62 aircraft in commercial service, alongside however many remain in service with Russian government and military organisations. In fact, only 2 are in passenger configuration, operated by Air Koryo in North Korea, and are not easy to arrange a flight on.
Two more are operated by Rada Airlines as freighters and do tend to roam about Europe, Asia and the Middle East regularly, so if you’re lucky you’ll be able to see one this year.
What else are you looking forward to seeing in 2022? Leave a comment below!