Dubai International (DXB) “change waiting time into gaming time”

Dubai International (DXB) “change waiting time into gaming time”

Dubai International “change their waiting time into gaming time”

 

Last week, Dubai International (DXB) introduced their new gaming lounge ‘Game Space’. By converting waiting time into gaming time at the airport, DXB hopes to enhance the customers’ experience.

Positioned in Family Zone at B Gates in Terminal 3, Game Space has 40 game stations. Each has 50-inch screens and side-by-side seating for solo and multi-player gaming options. Passengers can choose from 20 leading games to play including Fortnite, League of Legends, Gran Turismo 7, and more. Accommodating for the significant number of football fans visiting during the FIFA World Cup, Game Space also offers multiple football-themed games.

The gaming lounge attempts to reshape the waiting time at the airport into a fun, novel experience. Explaining the concept, Errol McGlothan, Co-Director at Game Space said:

“We are excited to work with Dubai Airports to deliver an innovative new gaming experience for travellers at the world’s leading hub. We know that gaming is incredibly popular in the region and Game Space will allow travellers to change their waiting time at the airport into their gaming time.”

Frédéric Briest, Co-director at Game Space added:

“Working with strategic gaming partners like ASUS, we believe that we have a unique collaboration to push the boundaries of what the lounge experience can be. We are delighted to provide unique and fun moments for beginners to experienced gamers transiting from Dubai.’’

Highlighting where this new addition sits in the airport’s already extensive offering, Eugene Barry, Executive Vice President of Commercial at Dubai Airports, said:

“We are delighted to partner with Game Space to launch this new gaming lounge for our global guests, which adds an exciting new element to our existing range of retail, food and hospitality partnerships across the airport.”

Game Space is open 24/7 with food and drink options also available. This will be accessible to all travels for a fee.

As CEO Dubai Airports, Paul Griffiths oversees DXB. Paul joined us at the World Aviation Festival this year in October, check out the full interview here.

 


Article by Jess Brownlow

 

Mastercard and Sabre’s Conferma Pay partner on virtual cards

Mastercard and Sabre’s Conferma Pay partner on virtual cards

Mastercard and Sabre’s Conferma Pay partner on virtual cards

 

On 28 November, it was announced that Mastercard is partnering with Sabre Corporation’s Conferma Pay on virtual cards for the travel economy.

Back in August 2022, Sabre acquired Conferma Pay to advance virtual card payments in the travel industry. Sabre Corporation is a leading software and tech provider powering the global travel industry. The recently acquired Conferma Pay is a leading UK-based FinTech company and a pioneer in virtual card technology.

In big news for the payments industry, Sabre’s Conferma Pay will now partner with the global pioneer in payment innovation, Mastercard. The partnership will include a minority investment in Conferma Pay by Mastercard.

Discussing the partnership, Roshan Mendis, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Sabre Travel Solutions said:

“Companies in the travel space […] need sophisticated solutions and seamless connections. Sabre is taking strategic steps to fulfil the needs of our industry, beginning with the acquisition of Conferma Pay. Now, the new partnership with Mastercard will help Conferma Pay to build new and enhanced digital capabilities in virtual cards, transforming the payment experience for issuers.”

Virtual cards have huge potential for the entire payments industry but hold a particular value for business payments in the travel industry. Sabre reported that the digitisation of travel payments with virtual cards helps address the historic challenges associated with B2B leisure and corporate travel payments. The securely generated, single use card numbers provide a link between booking and associated payments to third party suppliers. Travel buyers and supplier are therefore able to easily track and reconcile payments, as well ad benefit from flexible pricing, finance options, and enhanced security through card payment guarantees.

Explaining the prospects for virtual cards, Chris Fendley, Executive Vice President, Enterprise Partnerships at Mastercard said:

“A combination of experience, technologies and capabilities will accelerate travel payment innovation and drive inclusive and sustainable growth for the sector. Virtual cards deliver visibility, boost liquidity and increase control over B2B payment flows, which enhance payment strategies and empower organizations across the travel value chain to run, grow and protect their business, which has never been more essential.”

The partnership is an exciting development for travel industry payments.

 


Article by Jess Brownlow

 

Rolls-Royce and easyJet achieve a world first for sustainable aviation

Rolls-Royce and easyJet achieve a world first for sustainable aviation

Rolls-Royce and easyJet achieve a world first for sustainable aviation

 

On 28 November, Rolls-Royce and easyJet confirmed they successfully ran an aircraft engine on green hydrogen. This is understood to be a world first for the aviation industry.

Back in July 2022, the pair announced their partnership for developing hydrogen combustion engine technology capable of powering a range of aircraft. Since then, the companies have been trying to prove that hydrogen can safely deliver power for civil aero engines.

When hydrogen is used to generate electricity or combusted for motive power, the only waste product is water. Provided the hydrogen used is generated by renewable sources, it can offer a tangible reduction in emissions. In fact, hydrogen has previously been described by Grazia Vitaldini, Chief Technology Officer at Airbus as “one of the most promising technology vectors to allow mobility to continue fulfilling the basic human need for mobility in better harmony with our environment.”

Detailed in the press release, the test took place at an outdoor facility at MoD Boscombe Down, UK using a converted Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A regional aircraft engine. The green hydrogen was supplied by EMEC (European Marine Energy Centre) generated by renewable energy at their hydrogen production and tidal test facility.

Thrilled by the milestone the pair had reached and its significance for the environment, Johan Lundgren, CEO easyJet said:

“This is a real success for our partnership team. We are committed to continuing to support this ground-breaking research because hydrogen offers great possibilities for a range of aircraft, including easyJet-sized aircraft. That will be a huge step forward in meeting the challenge of net zero by 2050.”

Committed to reducing emissions, developments in technology harnessing the power of hydrogen have been closely watched by the aviation industry. This breakthrough by easyJet and Rolls-Royce is therefore of great significance.

One of the other key developments that the industry has set its sights on for reducing overall carbon emissions is sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). Watch an interview with the President of Shell Aviation here discussing SAF.

 


Article by Jess Brownlow

 

AirAisa India partners with Sugarbox to launch in-flight entertainment ‘AirFlix’

AirAisa India partners with Sugarbox to launch in-flight entertainment ‘AirFlix’

AirAisa India partners with Sugarbox to launch in-flight entertainment ‘AirFlix’

 

AirAsia India has announced their partnership with Hyperlocal Cloud platform Sugarbox. The pair are launching ‘AirFlix’, a first-of-its-kind in-flight experience hub across the entire fleet.

 

What is it?

‘AirFlix’ provides over 6,000 hours of high-resolution content with access to more than 1,000 International and Indian films, short films, and over 1,500 web series episodes. The service is available for free to all passengers and simulates on-board WiFi for passengers even without in-flight connectivity.

The hub operates together with AirAsia India’s in-flight ancillary platform which opens up huge possibilities for the future. Discussing the launch, Siddhartha Butalia, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), AirAsia India, said:

“We’re excited to introduce the ‘AirFlix’ experience hub for fliers and to partner with Sugarbox on their pioneering technology platform, offering a wider and more diverse range of captivating content and a literally elevated user experience. We’re looking forward to leveraging the potential of this platform, introducing innovative features and technological integrations even beyond in-flight dining, entertainment, and shopping, and enabling personalised experiences that provide a distinct, differentiated flying experience in a hyper-competitive market.”

 

How does it work?

Sugarbox’s patented Cloud Fragment technology powers ‘AirFlix’. It works at a speed of up to 1 Gbps and has a storage capacity of 8 TB. Rohit Paranjpe, Co-founder & CEO Sugarbox said:

“We are delighted to partner with AirAsia India on their journey to revolutionise the flying experience with ‘AirFlix’. This is a first of its kind initiative globally, where we are bringing the power of the Cloud to aircrafts, using Sugarbox’s patented Cloud Fragment technology. It enables ‘AirFlix’ to offer many firsts in the industry – access to OTT Apps, E-commerce, News, Podcasts and In-flight F&B ordering. This is just the beginning of unlocking limitless opportunities for consumers through contextual, hyperlocal experiences. I’m very excited with what’s to come for ‘AirFlix’ and eager for fliers to start experiencing it.”

As AirAsia India embarks on this exciting chapter of their in-flight entertainment journey, it will be interesting to see how they leverage the platform and technology in the coming years.

Siddhartha Butalia, CMO, AirAsia India quoted above will be attending Aviation Festival Asia both delivering a presentation and sitting on a panel.

For content on the challenges of in-flight connectivity read here.

 


Article by Jess Brownlow

 

Paul Griffiths, CEO Dubai Airports – Keynote interview

Paul Griffiths, CEO Dubai Airports – Keynote interview

Paul Griffiths, CEO Dubai Airports – Keynote interview

 

Last month at World Aviation Festival the CEO Dubai Airports joined Ben Thompson for an interview. In just 15-minutes, Paul Griffiths answered questions on a wide range of topics in depth. Thought-provoking, relevant, and perceptive this interview with the Dubai Airports CEO is packed with insight.

Firstly, the pair discuss Dubai’s rapid pandemic recovery and the factor which Paul attributes to their success. The positive changes that emerged from the adversities of COVID-19 are also identified, looking especially at the pandemic as a catalyst for the adoption of biometric technology. This interview covers significant ground discussing a range of themes from the importance of aviation to the challenges of being a hub.

 

 

Sean Donohue, CEO DFW Airport Board’s interview is mentioned in this interview, watch this here.

 

Technology and reaching net-zero by 2050. An interview with Yann Cabaret, CEO SITA FOR AIRCRAFT

Technology and reaching net-zero by 2050. An interview with Yann Cabaret, CEO SITA FOR AIRCRAFT

Technology and reaching net-zero by 2050. An interview with Yann Cabaret, CEO SITA FOR AIRCRAFT

 

At the World Aviation Festival in Amsterdam, Yann Cabaret CEO SITA FOR AIRCRAFT talked about sustainability and technology in this five-minute interview.

SITA FOR AIRCRAFT has “a focus on enabling safe, efficient and sustainable aircraft operations, providing systems, data, and applications to customers across the world.”

The interview’s discussion was constructed around these three questions:

  1. What would you say the most important factors will be for reaching the net zero by 2050 target?
  2. Can you name any collaborations or partnerships within the industry which have been particularly effective with regards to sustainability?
  3. Which exciting upcoming trends will we be seeing surrounding technology in the next five years?

The scope of the interview was purposely reduced to a maximum of five years into the future. This allowed the discussion to be predominantly centred around existing technology and the steps that must be taken right now. Although looking forward is important, this must not detract from progress that can be made today.

Yann highlighted this in the interview saying:

“We aren’t waiting for someone to invent something huge that doesn’t exist. There is technology today, let’s make sure we use it properly.”

That said, Yann pointed out there are many developments which will play a significant role in the push for sustainability that have not yet come to fruition.

With regards to how sustainability could be achieved, Yann suggested a diverse array of initiatives would be required, including but not limited to:

  • Lighter aircraft
  • Sustainable fuel
  • Efficient engines
  • Hydrogen technology

The message from the SITA FOR AIRCRAFT CEO was inspiring, emphasising the measures that can and should be taken right now to “leverage what exists today.”

 

 

One of the ways SITA’s technology has been used to improve aircraft sustainability is through SITA OptiClimb® technology. This optimisation technology can save up to five per-cent of fuel per trip. Calculations estimate an annual reduction of carbon emissions by 5.6 million tons if every airline used this SITA technology. Singapore Airlines recently deployed this technology, read more here.

 


Article by Jess Brownlow

 

Two important BNPL partnerships announced this week

Two important BNPL partnerships announced this week

Two important BNPL partnerships announced this week

 

This week, two significant ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ (BNPL) partnerships were announced. One between United States (US) based online travel shopping company Expedia and BNPL leader Afterpay. The second is with UK-based Fly Now Pay Later and Worldline integrating the payment tech to their TravelHub. These two partnerships highlight the considerable growth of BNPL in the travel industry. Although more BNPL solutions were already being integrated, current economic hardships are catalysing the roll out of these initiatives. For more detail on BNPL in aviation read here.

 

Expedia Group and Afterpay

On 21 November 2022, Expedia Group “the world’s leading traveller technology platform” announced their partnership with BNPL provider, Afterpay. Now, US-based customers booking flights and hotels will have the option to pay in four interest-free payments over six weeks.

The partnership comes at a time of considerable economic hardship worsened by soaring cost of living prices. These shifts are influencing consumer behaviour. One survey by PYMNTS found that nearly 22 per-cent of consumers are planning to spend less of holiday travel this year.

Announcing the partnership, Alex Fisher, Head of Revenue, North America, Afterpay said:

“As consumers prepare for the peak holiday travel period, we are excited to provide an easy and flexible service that will allow our customers to book and pay in four instalments for their preferred flights and accommodations, interest-free and over time.”

Highlighting the technology in use, Christian Gerron, Senior Vice President Media and Brand Partnerships, Expedia Group said:

“Expedia Group is proud to become Afterpay’s first major US travel partner […] This highlights our ongoing growth in developing cutting-edge traveller technologies that provide our partners with new ways to deliver great experiences to their customers which, in turn, drive customer loyalty.”

 

Worldline and Fly Now Pay Later

On the same day, a partnership between Worldline and Fly Now Pay Later was announced. Worldline is a global leader in secure payments and trusted transactions. Fly Now Pay Later, ‘the travel industry’s leading BNPL provider’ has been integrated into Worldline’s TravelHub. Customers will now have the option to spread the cost of their travel.

Jasper Dykes, CEO and founder Fly Now Pay Later said:

“As a dedicated team of travellers committed to making paying for travel simpler and fairer, we are delighted to announce the partnership with Worldline as a highly respected pioneer in secure payments and trusted Transactions. We’re all about making sure that travel payments work for everyone, so welcome the opportunity to work with merchants to help their customers spread out the cost of a hotel, flight or holiday.”

Guillaume Tournand, Head of Growth, Worldline highlighted the additional benefits for their company:

“Partnering with Fly Now Pay Later has provided us with access to a wealth of travel expertise. As the partner of choice for merchants, banks and acquirers, operating in 50 countries, we pride ourselves on providing a world-class service for those seeking secure payments and trusted transactions when booking their holidays, business trips and more.”

As the cost of living increases around the globe, and travel companies continue to integrate more BNPL options to keep pace with other retail sectors, we can expect to see more BNPL options within the industry.

 


Article by Jess Brownlow

 

Paris airports adopt 37 second bag drop technology from an Amadeus company

Paris airports adopt 37 second bag drop technology from an Amadeus company

Paris airports adopt 37 second bag drop technology from an Amadeus company

 

On 17 November, it was announced that over 100 state-of-the-art self-service bag drop units were to be delivered to Paris Aéroport at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly airports.

 

What is the technology?

The new Auto Bag Drop (ABD) machines from Amadeus company, ICM Airport Technics allow passengers to opt for time saving self-service bag drop at the airports.

 

How does this benefit the airports?

A range of self-service bag drop technology is being integrated into airports internationally. In the face of staff shortages and queues developing at bottlenecks in the airports, self-service is one way technology can improve efficiency in airports. On average, self-service bag drop with these machines takes 37 seconds. The technology can help optimise staff distribution across the airport, reduce queues, and allow for a more seamless journey.

Yannick Beunardeau, SVP Airport & Airline Operations, EMEA, Amadeus said:

“Airports and airlines have experienced significant operational challenges as they adapt to rapidly rising passenger numbers. At the airport, automation offers a proven route to reduce queues by allowing passengers to take control of their own experience. That’s why Groupe ADP is placing self-service at the heart of its passenger service strategy.”

360 ABD machines are already in operation across Paris Aéroport at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly airports. This addition of over 100 more hints at the success of the technology.

Edward Arkwright, Deputy CEO Groupe ADP said:

“We are happy to work with Amadeus to increase the number of passengers checking-in their own bags at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly airports. While they will always have the choice between this automated service or a traditional experience at the airline’s check-in counter, we are seeing an increasing number of passengers choosing to check-in their own luggage. Our goal is to help them save time.”

 

ICM ABD technology

ICM Airport Technics have a range of solutions for automating the bag drop process. The Series 1 Type 1 self-service bag drop is an entry level technology and integrates with the front of the existing check-in desk. This machine can switch from self-service to agent operated as required.

More advanced ABD technology is also produced by ICM Airport Technics. The Series 7 is a fully automatic bag drop solution incorporating high security and safety features including biometrics and ergonomics. This model is designed to be complete replacement of traditional check-in counters.

For more on self-service bag drop technology read ‘Efficient Technology at Terminal 4 Changi Airport.’

 


Article by Jess Brownlow

 

Keynote Digital Product Panel: How do airlines create end-to-end digital products and services that can compete with other industries?

Keynote Digital Product Panel: How do airlines create end-to-end digital products and services that can compete with other industries?

Keynote Digital Product Panel: How do airlines create end-to-end digital products and services that can compete with other industries?

 

At World Aviation Festival in October, a panel of specialists gathered to discuss ‘How do airlines create end-to-end digital products and services that can compete with other industries?’

The panel was chaired by Henry Harteveldt and included:

  • Rogier Van Enk, SVP Customer Engagement, Finnair
  • Mark Nasr, SVP Marketing, eCommerce, Products, Air Canada
  • Kevin Macfarland, Managing Director, Digital Platforms & UX, American Airlines
  • Kevin Clark, CEO, Bluebox Ltd
  • Juliana Rios, Chief Information and Digital Officer, LATAM Airlines
  • Robert Mulet, eCommerce and Ancillaries Director, Avianca

The well-rounded panel held a wide variety of perspectives, visions, and suggestions leading to thoughtful and fruitful discussion. Exploring digital product and digital passenger experience, one resounding message was: the basics still need work first.

Where discussion of digital products and services can often result in conversations around flashy extras and eye-catching new technology, the panel had a general consensus that the industry must focus on developing the basics. Improve, simplify, make seamless.

There was also conversation surrounding the extent to which digital experience defines the passenger experience now. The panel acknowledged that the companies setting public expectations are outside of the aviation sector and that these companies are rapidly accelerating customer expectations.

Other topics discussed include:

  • Data
  • Digital as a differentiator
  • The pursuit of consistency
  • Creating a seamless experience
  • Infrastructure
  • The service business
  • Onboard retail
  • What the future will look like

The panel discussion is 45 minutes long and is packed with a wealth of knowledge and ideas.

 

 

 

British Airways launch Amadeus Biometric Solutions to become the first UK airline trialling biometric tech for international flights

British Airways launch Amadeus Biometric Solutions to become the first UK airline trialling biometric tech for international flights

British Airways launch Amadeus Biometric Solutions to become the first UK airline trialling biometric tech for international flights

 

On 15 November, British Airways announced they are the first UK airline to trial the use of biometric technology for international flights. This utilises technology developed by Amadeus and adapted by the British flag carrier.

British Airways became the first UK airline to introduce biometric technology on domestic flights back in 2017. This technology recorded customers’ facial scans at Security and matched it to them once at the boarding gate. The airline continues to pioneer adoption of experience enhancing digital technologies. This 2022 trial marks a significant step in the UK’s journey towards offering a seamless journey to passengers.

David Breeze, Operations Transformation Manager for British Airways said:

“This is a secure and efficient tool that makes for a smarter and smoother airport experience, which will reduce the time it takes for us to board aircraft.”

 

How it works

Using biometric technology, passengers will not have to show their passport. This allows customers to travel ‘smartly’ through the airport.

Passengers involved in the trial will scan their face, passport, and boarding pass on their smartphone or tablet from the comfort of their homes. Once at the airport, Smart Bio-Pod cameras verify the passenger’s identity in approximately 2.5 seconds.

The trial is running for six months on British Airways flights to Malaga, Spain. Depending on the success of the trial, this technology will be extended to more international flights.

The technology can offer passengers an enhanced, seamless travel experience. Additionally, it can reduce queues within the airport, helps board passengers faster, and enables an optimisation of staff throughout the airport.

However, passengers will still be required to show their passport once at the destination airport. This is one of the key issues currently holding back the integration of advanced technologies in the aviation industry. Although technologies can be implemented at a domestic level, it is difficult to have the same technology uniformly in place at the corresponding international destination. Taking into account the holistic passenger journey, an entirely seamless journey is therefore difficult to create.

Not everyone is welcoming technology in airports with open arms. Read ‘What do passengers really think about AI and technology’ to find out more.

British Airways have been in the news lately with their carbon offsetting initiative, read here.

The topic of biometrics will be explored in detail at the upcoming Aviation Festival Asia in 2023. A CEO panel featuring Bangalore International Airport CEO will explore ‘the future of seamless travel through effective digitalisation and biometric technology.’

 


Article by Jess Brownlow

 

Schiphol Presentation: Sharing data to improve the passenger experience

Schiphol Presentation: Sharing data to improve the passenger experience

Schiphol Presentation: Sharing data to improve the passenger experience

 

At last month’s World Aviation Festival, Tor Boe-Lillegraven, Chief Data Officer, Royal Schiphol Group gave a ten-minute presentation on data.

In current times, data is everything. Within aviation it has become fundamental to optimising operations and as the industry continues to digitise, more and more data is produced. It is well known that this data is important to the industry, but why?

This short presentation offers a helpful overview of data in airports as well as an insight into how data is used in Schiphol specifically.

The Royal Schiphol Group Chief Data Officer explained where airports get their rich data sources from, the benefits of looking at data more like a tech company, and how to solve challenges through data.

Importantly, Tor highlighted how strategic data themes can retain their use even in the face of vast changes. The challenges that the Royal Schiphol Group identified pre-covid are still being used in their strategy in the wake of the pandemic.

Watch the ten-minute presentation below to find out more.

 

 

Interview with Pierre Thach Hoang, CCO Bamboo Airways – A growing perspective

Interview with Pierre Thach Hoang, CCO Bamboo Airways – A growing perspective

Interview with Pierre Thach Hoang, CCO Bamboo Airways – A growing perspective

 

Pierre Thach Hoang, CCO Bamboo Airways discussed a range of topics in this short interview. Touching on everything from talent acquisition to sustainability, international routes to investment in technology, it is inspiring to get a perspective from a younger, ambitious, rapidly growing airline. The discussion surrounding digitisation is particularly interesting because, as a younger airline, Bamboo Airways has been able to integrate digitisation right form the start.

Only launching operations in January 2019, Bamboo Airways currently has 30 planes in its fleet and operates nearly 200 passenger flights per day. The airline is aiming to triple their number of planes to 100 by 2028.

One of the exciting areas Pierre explained was the ecosystem that Bamboo Airways have built to enable them to use dynamic marketing “to offer the right service at the right time” through digital channels. This ecosystem is built with the entire customer journey in mind. As such, Bamboo Airways will offer their passengers discounted taxi services before their flight. Additionally, it can be used to optimise the airport facilities once the passenger is within the building. One example given was if a restaurant is not full, Bamboo Airways can send out discounts to passengers to encourage them to eat there while they are already at the airport.

Watch the full interview below for more details on Bamboo Airways’ dynamic marketing and the below questions:

    • How would you describe the current landscape for growing carriers like yourself?
    • What role does digitisation play in your business?
    • What actions are you taking to prepare for your global expansion?
    • What role is technology playing in your growth plans?
    • What challenges are you encountering with your expansion plans?
    • Are you taking steps to develop your retail offering?
    • How have you been improving passenger experience?
    • What are you plans for the future with regards to Ancillary revenue?
    • How are you accommodating for sustainability as a growing as an airline?
    • Does technology play a significant role in your sustainability plans?
    • Why are you attending Aviation Fest Asia?

 

 


Article by Jess Brownlow

 

The technology at Noida International Airport (NIA)

The technology at Noida International Airport (NIA)

The technology at Noida International Airport (NIA)

 

It has recently been confirmed by Christoph Schnellmann, CEO, YIAPL that the construction of Noida International Airport (NIA) is on course to be ready by the end of 2024. The new airport covers over 1,300 hectares of land in Uttar Pradesh, India and promises to have the capacity to serve an estimated 12 million passengers a year in the first phase.

The airport intends to establish itself as the logistics gateway of northern India and establish Uttar Pradesh on the global logistics map.

Schnellmann was quoted by news agency ANI:

“The airport will be an airport the region can be proud of bringing the world to the western UP and bringing western UP to the world stimulating development, infrastructure development, economic growth, and creating jobs for the region.”

The airport combines Swiss quality and efficiency with Indian warmth in hospitality.

Revealing some of the technology initiatives at the new airport, the airport’s Twitter announced use of:

  • Paperless and touchless parking
  • Biometrics via face recognition
  • Check-in, ordering meals via your smartphone
  • Virtual queues for security screening
  • Reduced emissions through predictive building management

Discussing the sustainability aspect of the airport, Schnellmann reported, “the airport will operate sustainably by minimising carbon dioxide and other emissions.” To read more on sustainability at India’s airports read Mumbai International Airport Becomes Another of India’s 100% Green Energy Airports.

In a press release in June this year, there was an emphasis on the airport’s seamless, contactless flow through the airport. This experience is offered through integrated systems, services, and the use of technologies such as indoor navigation, passenger flow management, and data analytics to offer passengers “the highest levels of convenience […] at a truly modern, efficient, and customer-friendly airport.”

Ensuring seamless connectivity when entering and leaving NIA, the airport will also develop a Ground Transportation Centre that will feature a multimodal transit hub, housing metro and high-speed rail stations, taxi, bus services and private parking.

If you are interesting in learning more about NIA’s technology, Anurag Shandilya, Head of Operations at NIA will be speaking at Aviation Festival Asia in 2023. The Head of Operations will give a presentation on ‘Building India’s largest airport which places passengers and a digitalisation experience at the centre of its ethos’ and speak on a panel exploring ‘The role of digital transformation in ramping up airport operations in Asia’s post-pandemic recovery era.’

 


Article by Jess Brownlow

 

David Lavorel, CEO SITA – Keynote interview

David Lavorel, CEO SITA – Keynote interview

David Lavorel, CEO SITA – Keynote interview

 

At last month’s World Aviation Festival, David Lavorel, CEO, SITA took to the stage for a keynote interview. The interview looked at the statement, “As the industry recovers, smart tech, automation, and digitalisation are the only ways our industry can connect profitability, a great passenger experience, and sustainability.”

SITA is a multinational information technology company providing IT and telecommunication services to the air transport industry. SITA technology delivers solutions for airlines, airports, aircraft, and government.

In this fifteen-minute interview the SITA CEO unpacked the complexities of integrating technology. David explored the challenges of silos, regulation, crossing international borders, and public resistance to sharing data.

However, David also highlighted the opportunities that technology can offer passengers as well as businesses. Explaining the different areas which technology-fuelled optimisation can financially benefit businesses and emphasising the possibilities for a seamless experience for passengers, David makes a compelling argument for technology as the catalyst to improving the aviation industry.

 

 

For more information on the nuances of integrating technology, read this article looking at how passengers feel about the increase in technology and AI.

Also see an article look at SITA’s technology in action reducing emissions for Singapore Airlines.

 

What do passengers really think about AI and technology?

What do passengers really think about AI and technology?

What do passengers really think about AI and technology?

 

Like many other industries, aviation has seen a rapid take-up in artificial intelligence (AI) and technology in recent years. It has played a significant role in rebooting aviation in the wake of the pandemic, tying over companies suffering from staff shortages, and pushing for an enhanced passenger experience.

Accenture defines AI as:

“A constellation of many different technologies working together to enable machines to sense, comprehend, act, and learn with human-like levels of intelligence.”

From an industry perspective, technology is the solution to many problems. For this reason, much of the discussion at last month’s World Aviation Festival explored the uses, problems, benefits, and future applications of technology. Watch the interview with Michael Tan CCO Scarabee Aviation Group – “Technology at heart” and Keynote innovation panel – “Aviation tech innovation going into 2023 – time for a new mindset?”

A lot of time is dedicated to the businesses’ experience with AI and technology. But what do the passengers think?

 

The public perspective

In a study conducted for the World Economic Forum surveying opinions of technology (not limited to the aviation context), information on attitudes towards AI was gathered from 28 countries around the world.

The results demonstrated a belief that AI was prolific and transformative with 60 per-cent of adults surveyed saying they expect products and services using AI to profoundly change their daily life in the next 3-5 years. However, interestingly only 50 per-cent of respondents said they trust companies that use AI as much as they trust other companies.

Looking at this issue at a geographic level, the countries with the highest trust in companies using AI were China (76 per-cent), Saudi Arabia (73 per-cent), and India (68 per-cent). On the other hand, countries in the Western world demonstrate considerably lower levels of trust for companies using AI. This is exhibited in the responses from Canada (34 per-cent), France (34 per-cent), the United States (35 per-cent), Great Britain (35 per-cent), and Australia (36 per-cent).

Although it is interesting to see geographical patterns in the results, the important takeaway is AI can spark doubts around trust.

One area that has brought this into the public discourse is the use of biometrics in airports. A key concern voiced in this discussion has surrounded data. With a diverse spectrum of opinions regarding data usage and storage, the introduction of biometrics has served as a useful insight into public opinion on the growing presence of AI and technology in an airport context.

 

The passenger perspective

Narrowing the discussion to AI and technology in the aviation context, one research paper looked at the ‘Segmentation of passenger preferences for using digital technologies at airports in Norway’ 2021. Although the paper focused on Norway, the findings are indicative of broader responses to technology in airports.

The research found that:

“A large proportion of passengers now want more control over their journey with automated and/or more personalised options. Specific examples are the interest in mobile-based boarding passes, payments and services; digital bag tags; and the use of biometrics and other technologies at security.”

However:

“The findings also highlight the considerable diversity in passenger preferences and opinions regarding digital technology adoption. Specifically, there remains a small yet significant group of passengers more reticent to adopting digital technologies as part of their journey.”

Based on this research, the paper suggested offering a manual or human-assisted service option in parallel to technology intensive solutions so as to ensure meeting the expectations of a wider range of passengers.

Many airports already offer both options while they are introducing an increasingly extensive range of technology and AI driven systems. However, as airports pursue the ultimate seamless journey where passengers can keep their hands in their pockets from start to finish, these “manual” alternatives may slowly be phased out.

As technology and AI becomes increasingly entangled with the future of travel, the industry must take caution to remember those passengers who harbour a distrust for AI, struggle engaging with technology, or simply prefer interacting with a human.

The upcoming Aviation Festival Asia in early 2023 has a strong focus on technology and AI, promising to explore airport technology, the industry’s digital transformation and ambitions and more.

 


Article by Jess Brownlow

 

Interview with Michael Tan, CCO Scarabee Aviation Group – “Technology at heart”

Interview with Michael Tan, CCO Scarabee Aviation Group – “Technology at heart”

Interview with Michael Tan, CCO Scarabee Aviation Group – “Technology at heart”

 

In this short, 10-minute interview Michael Tan CCO Scarabee Aviation Group discusses technology in the aviation industry.

Michael’s overarching message was straightforward, technology should be simple. Whether this means intuitive technology for passengers or timesaving technology for operators, technology should uncomplicate the airport process.

Offering airport transformation solutions that identify and resolve friction points in the airport journey, Scarabee combines innovation with technology to provide solutions to airports enhancing customer experience and airport operations.

In the interview Michael outlines some of the existing technology enhancing airport processes and delves into the benefits and uses of digital twin technology. The Scarabee CCO also identifies technologies to look out for in the coming few years that will be transforming airports.

 

 

The full list of questions asked in the interview are as below:

  • What role does technology play in the airport transformation solutions you provide?
  • This summer we have seen many problems surrounding baggage at European airports, how can technology help to overcome this?
  • What technology trends can we expect to see in the coming few years that could help to digitally transform airports?

 

The Impact of AI on the Airline Industry

The Impact of AI on the Airline Industry

The Impact of AI on the Airline Industry

 

As consumers, we encounter applications of AI and machine learning almost every day. Self-driving cars on the road, type-ahead search results, and recommended shows on your favorite streaming service are just a few of the ways artificial intelligence is embedded into our day-to-day lives. And it’s no secret that modern companies employ this technology to build and maintain a competitive edge. 

 

In the back office, many industries seek to adopt AI-based solutions to improve operations, enhance commercial decision-making, and drive better outputs. While the aviation industry initially may have been cautious to adopt, matured AI-powered solutions – specifically deep learning – have unlocked incredible new opportunities for commercial teams who have long relied on tools and techniques of the past.

 

Overcoming Constraints of Legacy Systems

 

Most airlines rely on historical flight data to form the basis for forward-looking forecasts, which typically end up as inputs into pricing optimization. While this may have been successful in the past, the volatile nature of the current demand environment largely invalidates the applicability of past years’ data on predicting the future.

 

To counteract this, many airlines try to rely on historical data from a year they believe is most representative of the current time, often focusing on 2019 to determine 2022 decision-making. There are obvious limitations to this. First, the demand environment among consumers is fundamentally different post-pandemic. Second, airlines are operating vastly different networks with differing routes, capacities, and competitors than they were three years ago. Additionally, there is no responsiveness in a forecast that cannot decompile the inputs that drive demand. In all cases, airlines often struggle to confidently predict the arrival of bookings, which hinders a range of commercial functions.

 

Deep learning algorithms represent an opportunity to break free from these limitations. While no human can comprehend and understand the individual context of billions of data points, deep learning thrives with vast amounts of data – from bookings and searches to events, promotions, and competitor prices. When trained and deployed effectively, these models empower analysts with predictive and responsive forecasts that guide strategic decisions across commercial functions.

 

Aligning Cross-Functional Decision Making

 

Due to the often siloed nature of airlines, data and reporting that support decision-making either come from a disparate team or are internal to the division. In both cases, humans often manipulate raw data from expectation, experience, or intuition. As that information is passed downstream to other functions, teams are only as confident as the resource before them. This “multi-step metrics” approach means trust must exist universally – and often blindly – across teams and functions. When that trust breaks down, metrics are either ignored or manipulated to match expectations, rather than actually supporting decision-making. 

 

This doesn’t detract from the value that human experience brings to the table. Rather, it highlights the value of new AI-powered solutions that enhance decision-making abilities by replacing a need to rely on instinct with one grounded in data and modern science. 

 

Consider a scenario within airlines: revenue management, network planning, and marketing typically rely on their own forecasts to answer commercial decisions. With a single source of truth for forecasts, cross-functional collaboration advances from reconciling expectations to managing decisions in alignment amongst teams. An RM analyst that notes higher-than-usual final forecasts can not only correct their inventory strategy but also empower network planning to consider additional capacity. 

  

The Human Element

 

Think about how the introduction of computers to airlines replaced much of the manual, repeatable, effort that came from processing reservations and ticketing requests. These “task manager” systems, far outdated by today’s standards, still represent the core principle of many of today’s tools – take repeatable “if-then” tasks, and complete them as fast as possible. 

 

Deep learning solutions flip the paradigm. Instead of telling a computer what process to follow, human experience, captured through data, helps train deep learning models to complete complex tasks, much like onboarding a new hire to the industry or teaching a young student in school. Put another way, rather than relying on computers to repeat mathematical equations, deep learning models are akin to teaching the computer how math itself works, and through training, the model itself will learn the optimal way to solve any equation, regardless of if it was explicitly shown how to do so.

 

While previous generations of technology improvements justify why airline analysts may be weary of machine learning models replacing their roles, the reality is that deep learning models allow teams to deploy AI as an omniscient analyst, one who individually understands and recalls the contexts of billions of decisions made in past years, something far beyond the scope of human knowability. Analysts are now more than just analysts; they are teachers, providing guidance to systems meant to support even the most complex decision-making.

 

Lastly, human analysts will always be able to see around corners to act on information the data itself can’t see, such as schedule changes, operational considerations, natural disasters, or breaking news that changes consumer demand and sentiment. Helping convey and “teach” deep learning models the impacts of these events pairs the wisdom of a hivemind AI with real-time human intelligence. This future of AI-equipped commercial teams within airlines is already here, and we suspect it will continue to grow in ubiquity as the airline industry writes its next chapter. 

 


Article by Benjamin Tumbleson, Manager, AI Customer Delivery, FLYR Labs

Visit Skift to read more on this topic from Alex Mans, founder and CEO of FLYR Labs.

 

IATA survey reports passengers want simplification and convenience

IATA survey reports passengers want simplification and convenience

IATA survey reports passengers want simplification and convenience

 

Surveying over 10,000 people from 222 countries, The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has revealed the results of its 2022 Global Passenger Survey (GPS). The survey shows the top priority for passengers’ travel experience are simplification and convenience.

 

Highlights from the survey

 Technology and convenience:

    • Passengers see value in biometric identification. 75% of passengers want to use biometric data instead of passports and boarding passes. Over a third have already experienced using biometric identification in their travels, with an 88% satisfaction rate. But data protection remains a concern for about half of travelers.
    • Passengers are willing to complete processing elements off-airport. 44% of travelers identified check-in as their top pick for off-airport processing. Immigration procedures were the second most popular “top-pick” at 32%, followed by baggage. And 93% of passengers are interested in a special program for trusted travelers (background checks) to expedite security screening.
    • Passengers are interested in more options for baggage handling. 67% would be interested in home pick-up and delivery and 73% in remote check-in options. 80% of passengers said that would be more likely to check a bag if they could monitor it throughout the journey. And 50% said that they have used or would be interested in using an electronic bag tag.
    • Travelers were satisfied being able to pay with their preferred payment method which was available for 82% of travelers. Having access to planning and booking information in one single place was identified as being top priority.

 

Learning from the online Amazon experience

Discussing the survey, Muhammad Albakri, IATA Senior Vice President Financial Settlement and Distribution Services said:

Today’s travellers expect the same online experience as they get from major retailers like Amazon. Airline retailing is driving the response to these needs. It enables airlines to present their full offer to travellers. And that puts the passenger in control of their travel experience with the ability to choose the travel options that they want with convenient payment options.”

Amazon set the benchmark for unrivalled customer experience. Placing the customer at its heart, the business worked to the vision of, “Earth’s most customer-centric company.” The Amazon Consumer Behaviour Report 2021 echoes the results of the IATA survey, identifying convenience as consumers’ second top priority. Through anticipating customer needs, offering frictionless processes, convenience, low prices, and personalisation, the brand established unparalleled loyalty.

The aviation world can learn a lot from how Amazon has placed the customer experience at the heart of its business. Utilising technology to offer hyper personalisation, an understanding of the individual customer and their needs, frictionless processes, and convenience the aviation industry can drive customer satisfaction.

 


Article by Jess Brownlow

 

 

Interview with Robert Horton, DFW Airport – “Sustainability is complimentary to good business”

Interview with Robert Horton, DFW Airport – “Sustainability is complimentary to good business”

Interview with Robert Horton, DFW Airport – “Sustainability is complimentary to good business”

 

Robert Horton, Vice President, Environmental and Social Affairs DFW International Airport joined us at this year’s World Aviation Festival to discuss sustainability and aviation.

Dallas Fort Worth (DFW), the fourth largest airport in the world by passenger number has consistently been at the cutting edge of aviation’s environmental technology. Beginning their sustainability journey 16 years ago, DFW was named the first carbon neutral airport in North America by 2016. Always striving to improve, the airport has set itself a new, ambitious target: net-zero by 2030. This is 20 years ahead of the United Nations’ target.

Exploring the compatibility between sustainable objectives and airport operations, the interview covers the role technology plays at DFW in minimising aviation’s environmental impact, DFW’s ambitions for the coming year, and the challenges and lessons learned so far.

Throughout the course of the interview, details on some specific applications of exciting technologies utilised in the airport are explored. This includes the airport’s use of digital twin technology, which Robert describes as “a catalyst that will propel us into the future.” The benefits of electrochromic coated glass (dynamic glass) are also explored, understanding the role that it plays in conserving energy in the airport.

Discussing the details of the sustainability orientated technology at DFW provided a useful insight into the practical applications and benefits of these technologies. However, the strongest take-away from the conversation was: sustainability and good business do not have to sit in tension with one another. To the contrary, when applied correctly they can be complimentary.

The DFW 2021 Environmental, Social and Governance Report identifies Climate Action and Energy Performance as two of the airport’s guiding North Stars. The compatibility of these two goals is outlined in the report,

“Smart technology, real-time energy monitoring and data management, and modelling and simulation tools can help optimize operations to eliminate inefficiencies and maximise performance.”

Through optimising across airport functions, energy and economic cost can be reduced.

 

The message that sustainability and good business are complimentary resonates in the current climate. Emerging from a global pandemic, industry players may not feel they have cash to spare and perceive it as a choice between investing in the business and mediating environmental impact. In contrast to this, Robert highlights that the shift towards sustainable operations provides an opportunity to improve economic performance through conserving energy and optimising usage.

For our latest article on sustainability and airports read Christchurch and Hamburg airports’ partnership. 18,5000km apart by side-by-side tackling climate change and Mumbai International Airport becomes another of India’s 100% green energy airports.

 


Article by Jess Brownlow

 

The importance of apps

The importance of apps

The importance of apps

 

IT consulting firm Applause recently conducted a global survey on travel and hospitality apps. The survey showed that 92 per-cent of respondents had at least one travel or hospitality app on their mobile. However, it also revealed that 27 per-cent thought the apps had been unhelpful in managing recent travel challenges.

Further problems identified with the apps were:

  • Being unable to find the information they were looking for (18 per-cent)
  • Very slow response times (13 per-cent)
  • Localisation problems (12 per-cent)
  • Difficulty using payment sources (11 per-cent)

It is important for the industry to address the problems with their apps. Here’s a reminder of why they are so important.

 

Increase ancillary revenue

Apps provide the perfect opportunity for generating revenue outside of ticket sales. The app provides an access point through which to sell more products and services at all stages of the customer lifecycle. These ancillaries could include parking, lounge, fast track, duty-free, or food and drink.

 

Self-service

Self-service has become a large part of the airport journey. The most popular iteration of this is check-in. More and more passengers opt to check-in off-airport and even baggage drop is becoming self-service in some airports, see Alaska’s electronic bag tags  and Efficient technology at Changi Airport. Apps can play a significant role in facilitating this transition towards self-service throughout the airport journey, giving passengers more autonomy and simultaneously helping to bridge staffing gaps.

 

Shape the customer journey with real-time information

Through giving the customer relevant, real-time information the customer journey can be enhanced. This is a topic that was touched on in an interview with IBM’s Dee Waddell, see here for his insight. Through real time information, customers can enjoy a convenient prompt or respond quickly to any changes in their journey.

 

Personalisation

Apps are a useful way for airports or airlines to personalise their approach towards the individual user. Previous transactions and behaviours can be used to suggest new actions for the user. This can create an enhanced overall experience for the customer as well as the potential to increase revenue for the industry.

 

Gather data and gain feedback

Through tracking how a customer uses the app, more can be understood about who the passenger is and what they value. The customer’s various products, services, destinations, and spending patterns will be accessible and can be used to develop loyalty.

Apps also provide a convenient way for passengers to provide feedback on their journey. This is a useful tool from which airlines and airports can adapt to increase passenger satisfaction.

 

Loyalty

Having a loyalty programme that can be integrated onto an app gives customers a convenient way to check on their points and claim the rewards. They can also be a helpful way to remind customers about rewards or incentives to keep customers engaged.

Additionally, this can be utilised by airports for wayfinding and optimising retail opportunities. Fore example, alert passengers on the length of the security queue or which restaurants have space free.

Apps are everywhere. They benefit the users and have the potential to significantly benefit airlines and airports too. While surveys are still showing customer dissatisfaction with travel apps, this presents an opportunity for brand differentiation.

For articles on one of the most prolific apps in the aviation industry, the airasia Super App, have a look at AirAsia introduce holidays to their Super App and AirAsia announce partnership with 12Go. AirAsia will be at the upcoming Aviation Festival Asia.

 


Article by Jess Brownlow