Those of us who flew also 25 years ago will remember that things haven't really changed much. 25 years ago the sky was full of 707s, 727s, 737s, 747s, DC-8s, DC-9s, DC-10s, Tristars, One-Elevens, Tridents, VC-10s, Caravelles while CV-880/990s and Comets were being retired. A300 was the new plane while Concorde production had just been halted when #16 would be finished as a white-tail. Political battle over the Concorde's right to fly was singing on its last verse. Ten "development aircrafts" for the A320 had already been flying scheduled service for some years - with the name "Dassault Mercure" painted on them - they retired just before yesterday because they were too noisy like their similar aged 737-200 cousins.
The biggest difference from 25 years ago:
25 years ago we walked from the gate onto the tarmac and climbed the stairs to the airliner. After landing, the same in reverse order.
Today we walk from the gate onto the tarmac and enter a bus which in 15 minutes brings us to the airliner which is parked one or two miles away. And then we climb the stairs. After landing the same in reverse order. Because the airports have become more crowded.
What else has changed: The 30 years old Scandinavian DC-9s have been repainted a few times, and during one of these processes they lost the beautiful Viking ship dragon head up front. Shame on those painters!
What will happen during the next 25 years: Traffic will continue to grow fast until 2010, then stabilize on double compared to today. One or two new airliners will have been designed and built in numbers. The mega-hubs will have shrunk in importance. Traffic will be more point to point. The major developments will not be on the airliners, but in ATC procedures, opening the sky for much denser traffic. Anyway there will still be delays caused by traffic congestion. And: Scandinavian's A321s, which will now be 23 years old, have been repainted with dragon heads up front.
Best regards, Preben Norholm
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs