Digital Transformation in Aviation

Before the pandemic hit, airlines were on a steady and stable growth trajectory. More and more passengers were taking to the sky, be it for business or holiday, and the pace of digital transformation was beginning to build real momentum.

In 2018, around 4.3 billion passengers used commercial flights. And in 2019, global aviation profits reached around $30 billion.    

But, in 2020 global profits turned to losses of more than $137.7 billion.

That’s a lot of money lost. And with it came inevitable layoffs and major setbacks.

However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And it’s a digital one.

The Digital Light at the End of the Tunnel

The Aviation industry has been at least somewhat resilient in the face of the global challenges that they’ve had to endure.

Delta Air Lines, for example, had the best response to the pandemic. They focused on cleaning procedures, like electrostatic disinfectant of all planes, gate areas and bridges. They were also the first to commence boarding from back to front.

Alaska Airlines also created policies that cater to their passengers by including free masks, limiting and controlling capacity, and offering elite status to loyalty members.

Regardless of the extreme losses and inevitable paradigm shift, the industry is predicted to make a major comeback through the use of emerging technologies, process changes and passenger experience. 

The best way to make a significant comeback? Through digital transformation.

While some airlines and airports are already investing in digital transformation, many are still slow to adoption.

But not for that much longer. 

According to IT Pro Portal, digital transformation is considered a major priority for airlines. More than 90% of leaders say that they are looking to invest in digital initiatives to improve customer experience, airline performance, and to remain competitive. Best of all, airlines around the world are making tremendous investments, with 68% of airline leaders agreeing that upgrading their IT infrastructure and software is a major priority.

So How Will This Transformation Help?

Despite the clear desire for change, most initiatives are still in the early stages. A staggering 8% report that they’ve spent three years or more actively working on these innovation-driven projects. 

And while it might feel like slow progress, the industry still faces many setbacks. From legacy infrastructure and thinking to red-tape and bureaucracy, the challenges are diverse and plentiful.

But with the right attitude and approach, digital transformation will inevitably make a profound impact on the aviation industry as a whole. 

Those that make proper use of it are taking advantage of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) to optimise their spend, offers and efficiency. 

They’re able to now set themselves apart from competitors and offer unrivalled passenger experiences.

Take AirAsia, for example, where they’ve tackled the issue of passengers presenting travel documents by introducing facial recognition for things like check-in. Cutting back on time and expenses.

Lufthansa uses virtual reality (VR) headsets at check-in to upsell and offer upgrades from economy to premium. How does it work? By using VR headsets, passengers can see the purported benefits for themselves. They can experience the cabin, extra room, and improved comfort. All from the check-in desk. 

The result? A dramatic increase in the number of passengers paying for the upgrade.

With digital transformation, the list of benefits can drag on. 

Consider the real-time data sharing between pilots and operations, used for better routes, fuel optimisation and decision-making.

Begin Your Airline Transformation Today

Airlines still need time to recover from the major losses and setbacks that they’ve faced. And unfortunately, digital transformation isn’t a one-size-all, plug-and-play solution, either. 

The industry needs to have the ability to cut across numerous disciplines and cater to world-class best practices to deliver on its promises.

And airlines will require partners and talent with the skills to help them fully achieve digitization in the present and in the future. 

Interested in Digital Transformation? Head this way…

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