Airbus and Neste sign MoU to advance the use of SAF

Airbus and Neste sign MoU to advance the use of SAF

Airbus and Neste sign MoU to advance the use of SAF

 

On 30 November, Neste announced their agreement with Airbus. The pair are seeking to advance the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

The partnership is aimed at accelerating the aviation industry’s transition to the sustainable alternative to traditional jet-fuel. Together, Neste and Airbus are focusing on the technical development of SAF, fuel approval, testing of current and future production technologies, and investigating how “100% SAF” use can be enabled.

Neste is growing quickly. Already the world’s leading producer of SAF, the company is developing a new facility that will grow its production capacity to around 1.5 million tonnes of SAF per year. The scaling up of SAF production is fundamental to bringing down its price.

Discussing their latest partnership with Airbus, Thorsten Lange, Executive Vice President, Renewable Aviation, Neste said:

“Neste is at the forefront of accelerating the aviation sector’s journey to a more sustainable future. That journey requires cooperation across the industry’s value chain. This collaboration with Airbus connects a pioneer in the aerospace industry with a leader in renewable fuels. The combined knowledge and expertise of the companies will help advance the use and availability of SAF as a means of transitioning aviation towards more sustainable energy sources and reducing the climate impact of aviation.”

The EVP Communications, Sustainability and Corporate Affairs, Airbus Julie Kitcher said:

“At Airbus, we believe SAF is one of aerospace’s most promising decarbonisation solutions that can be used in both in-service aircraft fleets and those of tomorrow. We are proud to partner with Neste and drive forward the development and uptake of SAF, stimulating the creation of a commercially viable market for renewable aviation fuels. All Airbus aircraft are already certified for flying with up to 50% SAF, and this partnership will be instrumental to reaching certification for 100% SAF by the end of the decade.”

SAF is widely recognised as playing a critical role in achieving the aviation sector’s net-zero by 2050 targets. Partnerships like these are crucial for facilitating the industry’s transition to a sustainable future. For more articles exploring Neste’s partnerships read here.

Alongside SAF, hydrogen has been a significant focus for cutting emissions. Read about the recent industry breakthrough here.

 


Article by Jess Brownlow

 

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

 

Sean Donohue, CEO DFW Airport Board – Keynote interview

Sean Donohue, CEO DFW Airport Board – Keynote interview

Sean Donohue, CEO DFW Airport Board – Keynote interview

 

The Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) Airport Board CEO joined Ben Thompson for a keynote interview on ‘Reimagining business models and reinvigorating innovation tactics to meet unprecedented sustainability targets by 2030’ at the World Aviation Festival.

In this 10-minute interview, Sean explained the mindset allowing the airport’s remarkable response to COVID-19 as well as the key to the airport’s innovative sustainability solutions.

Casting his mind back to scenario planning, Sean told the interviewer, “We never anticipated this [the pandemic].” Despite not having a crystal ball, the airport had extraordinary foresight. Reflecting on previous dramatic changes to the industry, including 9/11, the conclusion was reached that travel would eventually recover. Holding this view, no staff were laid off or furloughed, small businesses were taken into account, and conversations were had with the airport’s partners. As the industry recovers, DFW have given themselves a head start with their approach during the crisis.

Looking at the airport’s sustainability track record and ambitious future, Sean broke it down simply.

  1. From a practical perspective: It is good business. For further detail on this see the interview with the VP Environmental Affairs & Sustainability at DFW, Robert Horton ‘Sustainability is complimentary to good business.
  2. As a steward: It is the right thing to do.

But importantly, innovation can be also fun. In the interview Sean outlines some of the exciting sustainability initiatives and technology helping the airport on their journey to Net Zero by 2030.

 

 

HSBC Star Alliance’s world-first Credit Card

HSBC Star Alliance’s world-first Credit Card

HSBC Star Alliance’s world-first Credit Card

 

On 15 November 2022 Star Alliance launched the HSBC Star Alliance Credit Card powered by Ascenda. This is the world’s first airline alliance credit card. It is big news for the industry so here are the who, what, where, and whys.

 

Who is involved?

Star AllianceThe Star Alliance network, established in 1997 was the first truly global airline alliance. It offers the largest and most comprehensive airline network. The member airlines participating in the loyalty programme include: Air Canada, Air New Zealand, EVA Air, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, THAI, and United Airlines.

AscendaAscenda is a global rewards technology company with a cloud-based loyalty platform. The company ‘deploys reward solutions that enable brands to grow revenue and build deeper customer connections across the entire financial relationship.’

 

What is it?

The card is the first of its kind, bringing together seven of the world’s leading airlines on a single credit card platform. Traditionally, these cards are linked to a singular airline’s reward system. However, the HSBC Star Alliance Credit Card allows customers a choice from multiple airlines with whom they can redeem points for frequent flyer programs.

Importantly for customers, they are able to earn Star Alliance Points on everyday eligible credit card purchases.

Jeffrey Goh, CEO of Star Alliance said:

“Star Alliance is delighted to launch this industry-first loyalty product together with HSBC and Visa. This is very much consistent with a key strategy of Star Alliance which is to offer a loyalty proposition that others talk about.

This unique product is an outcome of strategic discussions with our member airlines for the Australian market. It will offer a new world of loyalty experience with not only the ability to earn points, but also a fast track to Star Alliance Gold Status through everyday spending. Star Alliance Gold Status offers a range of benefits such as lounge access and priority boarding across all Star Alliance member carriers.”

 

Where is the card active?

For now, the card is only available in Australia.

 

Why has this been introduced?

An HSBC Travel and Finance survey found that although Australians are prioritising travel in 2023, they are simultaneously looking to keep travel costs low. The survey revealed 24 per-cent of respondents who intended to travel overseas said they would pay for flights with credit card rewards and points.

The same survey also revealed 96 per-cent of respondents travelling overseas said they would consider tips and tricks to keep travel costs down.

Looking at the results, the Australian market appears primed for the introduction of a credit card which enables them to collect points for flying through every day purchases.

For more articles relating to earning points through everyday spending read ‘Catching a lift, ordering groceries, and now grabbing a coffee. Delta’s loyalty partnerships turning everyday life into miles.

 


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.

 

 

 

Andrew Wilcock, CRO Accelya – Keynote interview

Andrew Wilcock, CRO Accelya – Keynote interview

Andrew Wilcock, CRO Accelya – Keynote interview

 

At World Aviation Festival last month, Andrew Wilcock, the new Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) at Accelya was interviewed by Henry Harteveldt.

Accelya ‘empowers the air transport community to take better control of the future. Through deep industry expertise, they help their customers to embrace change with greater freedom and choice.’

Andrew highlighted the aspects of aviation that prime the industry for innovative growth including a desire to drive greater customer centricity and an appetite for change and transformation.

The CRO also fired out some ideas on how to put more control back into the hands of airlines to ultimately drive a greater level of customer centricity.

At the time of the interview, Andrew had only been in the industry for two months. This enabled him to see more clearly the areas in which the industry is not as advanced as others. Bringing a fresh pair of eyes to the discussion, Andrew was firing with energy and ideas for how to serve clients better.

Watch the 15-minute interview below.

 

 

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?