Even in normal times, the airline business is anything but easy. Competition, fuel costs, regulations and growing environmental awareness challenge the industry and make airline operations a demanding task. After the pandemic subsided, a certain recovery was felt, but the current rather diﬃcult economic environment, the war in Ukraine and high energy costs bring new risks and challenges.
Not only the operational business faces challenges in this diﬃcult environment, but also the back oﬃce of an airline. This is reason enough to take a closer look at the problems and developments in the area of payment handling for airlines. Specifically, we will take a closer look at service providers, markets and regulation.
Payment processing, credit card acquiring and controlling were carried out by the airlines themselves until the early 2000s. Growing regulation, new security standards in payment processing such as PCI and an increasing number of international and regional means of payment have led to more and more processes being outsourced to specialised and appropriately-certified service providers. In good economic times, the airlines were very attractive customers for these providers. This changed with the groundings of many airlines in the past decade, including some large and well-known carriers. For credit card acquirers in particular, aviation became a risky business as they were often the ones left out of pocket. Airline ticket sales are paid immediately but usually not used until weeks (or even months) after purchase. The total value of all tickets sold but not yet flown constitute the “unflown revenue”, and this quantifies the risk for the acquirer. In the event of a grounding, the acquirer is left with the ticket holder’s claims for reimbursement. More and more, airlines had to fulfil challenging conditions in order to get access to acquiring contracts at all, and the conclusion of such contracts is often linked to painful conditions for the airlines. These can mean providing security deposits such as rolling reserves (payments withheld by the acquirers), payment only when flown or the division of the business among several acquirers (risk splitting). For most airlines, credit cards are still the most widely-used means of payment, so these security deposits can have quite a painful impact on liquidity.
The number of external service and payment providers is also constantly increasing, which leads to higher processing costs as well. Payment service providers (PSPs), payment orchestrators, reconciliation services, fraud screeners and alternative payment methods charge fees for their services and thus make ticket sales more expensive.
Carriers operating worldwide usually have a very international clientele to which one must also adapt in the payment area. This means that the most relevant means of payment must be offered for each market. In addition, the credit card business can also be very different between individual markets due to legal regulations or regional standards. This not only generates more provider fees, but also increases the complexity of the processes. Airlines used to be able to map this complexity to their own system platforms, but today, this is no longer possible for the reasons already described. That is why PSPs were first forced to incorporate airline-specific features as “bespoke services”. Later, so-called “payment orchestrators” came onto the market, who inserted themselves as an additional application layer between the airlines and the PSPs, and from then on took over the control and routing of the payment processes.
Another topic is the change of customer needs. Payment should be secure, fast and simple all at the same time. It is possible to meet all requirements in this area of conflict, however the design of corresponding solutions is associated with great effort. Internationality and growing customer requirements create even more complexity, and this makes the development and operation of booking systems more expensive and slower.
Dealing with customer requirements and external service providers is complex in itself, but national regulators, the EU and the card schemes add to this with their regulations. Especially in the areas of security and costs, merchants (including airlines themselves) and service providers are confronted with a growing number of regulations and restrictions.
With the Payment Services Directive (PSD) 2 regulation, the EU issues regulations on fees and security. Credit card fees, for example, may not exceed a certain amount (which for once is in favour of the airlines), but so-called “surcharging” (charging the payment fees to the end customer) is severely restricted. This is a painful cut, especially for the airlines. Furthermore, a two-factor authentication process is mandated for online payments.
The credit card schemes (Visa, Mastercard, American Express etc.) have reacted to this regulation with the security standard “3-D Secure 2”. Since the policy limits revenues by capping acquiring fees, the schemes are reacting with an almost unmanageable number of new fees.
With PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards), the card schemes want to prevent the theft of credit card data. Since the complexity of the corresponding requirements makes it almost impossible for merchants and service providers to implement them on their own, a market for specialised service providers for tokenising credit card data has also established itself here. Of course, these providers do not work for free either, which leads to a further increase in the cost of payment processes.
Change as an opportunity
Many of the topics described above are given – especially when it comes to service providers and sales markets – and simply have to be implemented. Here, it is advisable to work with a specialised payment orchestration service.
When it comes to regulations, on the other hand, there are a number of exceptions and intelligent solutions with which negative effects can be neutralised. For example, there are simplified checkout procedures for registered customers, payment surcharges are still allowed under certain conditions, and the regulations concerning PCI DSS can be adhered to with little expense through the integration of tokenisation services.
The facts described above could give the impression that service providers, customers and regulators have conspired together to make life diﬃcult for the airlines. However, if you take a closer look at the new regulations and restrictions, you will discover advantages for all market participants. All the policies and regulations were not invented to make life diﬃcult for the industry. By consistently adhering to the guidelines, companies can significantly reduce the risks of data theft, fraud and the resulting chargebacks.
At its core, payment process design is about getting to grips with three factors: cost, risk and conversion. Despite all the issues described above, a well-balanced payment landscape can be customer-friendly, secure and comparatively cost effective. The basis for this is a good concept and, as so often in our industry, the choice of the right partners.
IATA and ATPCO partner to enhance transparency around carbon emissions
The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) partnership with ATPCO was announced yesterday. In the upcoming months, ATPCO plans to integrate IATA’s CO2 Connect data into its Routehappy API offering, helping passengers to make informed choices based on an accurate understanding of the emissions associated with their flights.
With nearly two-thirds of travellers believing they have a responsibility to know the carbon emissions of their flights, the provision of accurate data is imperative.
ATPCO is adding sustainability insights to its API which already conveys the “amenities” onboard from Wi-Fi to seat type. ATPCO partners with over 400 airlines and channels to identify marketplace needs, deliver standards and global solutions.
Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General said:
“We know travellers want to understand their flight’s environmental impact in a consistent, transparent and trustworthy way. IATA CO2 Connect is the most accurate tool providing this information. ATPCO customers will be able to make travel decisions using carbon calculations benefitting from top quality.”
Alex Zoghlin, President and CEO of ATPCO said:
“Routehappy data has been the one-stop shop for airline merchandising data for years. Adding this needed data is another way for ATPCO to provide more value back to our airline and channel partners, and in turn the consumers. It’s clear there is a growing interest from passengers, corporate, travel management companies, and travel agents to receive CO2 information so they can use it to compare flights and make a more sustainable choice. IATA’s CO2 Connect offers airline specific emissions data and we are looking forward to making this available to our growing list of Routehappy Rich Content partners.”
IATA CO2 Connect utilises the Carbon Calculation Methodology adopted by IATA’s Passenger Service Conference in March 2022 to provide airline specific actual fuel burn information and load factors.
The national flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) has signed an agreement with Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics), the world’s leading supplier of In-flight Entertainment and Communication Systems (IFEC).
Under the new agreement, the Astrova seat-end solution will be installed on 30 of Saudia’s aircraft. According to the press release, the system “is designed to stay at the forefront of consumer trends and in-flight entertainment products and services.”
The design ensures passengers can seamlessly interface their personal devices to the IFE system, facilitating an omnichannel, multiscreen, multi-purpose environment. Additionally, passengers will have the opportunity to customise the LED lighting, enhancing experience and optimising the cabin environment to individual preference.
His Excellency Engr. Ibrahim Al-Omar, Director General of SAUDIA Group, said:
“At SAUDIA, we are constantly looking to improve the guest experience onboard our aircraft, by investing in new technologies and upgrading our systems. Thanks to this partnership with Astrova, our guests will be able to experience the best of in-flight entertainment, with more personalizable features, making their journey with us truly memorable.”
Importantly, Astrova offers significant weight savings helping to reduce fuel burn. Minimising aircraft weight can help to optimise fuel efficiency which ultimately translates to lower emissions and often cost reductions.
Ken Sain, CEO of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, said:
“We are delighted to sign this agreement with our longstanding customer, SAUDIA. The installation of Astrova on their wide-body fleet indicates the airline’s commitment not only to sustainability, but also to its customers and the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision.”
For more on Saudia and the region’s 2030 Vision see:
Going green: Sustainability initiatives at Pittsburgh Airport
Achieving sustainability in airports will require a comprehensive approach encompassing a range of diverse initiatives. By adopting a multifaceted strategy, airports can pave the way for a more sustainable aviation industry.
Spurred on by partnerships, Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT), is exploring a range of methods to actively to become more environmentally friendly.
Food waste to fertilizer
In a new partnership with local environmental firm Ecotone Renewables, PIT is adding a system to turn uneaten food into fertilizer. This comes under the airports’ xBridge innovation campaign promoting the development and testing of new technologies, processes and systems to positively impact revenues, operations, security, customer experience, and sustainability.
The fully automated and self-sufficient composting system, Zero Emissions Upcycling System (ZEUS) supercharges the composting of waste to approximately eight times faster than normal transforming it into high-grade fertilizer. Ecotone donates 10 per cent of its ‘Soil Sauce’ fertiliser to local community gardens in Pittsburgh and the remainder is sold to local farmers and home gardeners.
AI recycling bin: TrashBot
Another project faciliated by PT’s xBridge Innovation Centre is TrashBot. Working with CleanRobotics, PIT have announced a partnership to implement AI recycling bin TrashBot to assist with the airport’s waste management initiatives.
The smart bin will sort passenger waste and recyclables with 96 per cent accuracy. Using AI and robotics, TrashBot can identify and sort the item into its corresponding bin. Once full, the TrashBot will notify cleaning crews via an app.
This system reduces contamination and maximises recycling opportunities. Charles Yhap, CEO CleanRobotics said:
“TrashBot’s implementation at PIT Airport, and the work we do together, embodies how AI and robotics can transform waste management and sustainability practices within airports. We’re eager to see how TrashBot and associated waste data can support and advance PIT’s commitment to solving operational challenges through innovation.”
Soon, the TrashBot will promote education around the matter, providing a message directly relating to the item being binned. For example, if someone throws away a water bottle that still contains some liquid, TrashBot will explain that the leftover water needs to be drained before the bottle is recyclable.
At the IATA AGM in Istanbul, Christina Cassotis, CEO of Allegheny County Airport Authority, which oversees developments at the airport said:
“We have already established contracts with a couple of hydrogen production companies, leveraging our natural gas resources to facilitate hydrogen production […] Our goal is to accelerate the adoption of cleaner and greener fuels and actively contribute to addressing the pressing global need within the aviation industry.”
On timing, Cassotis explained:
“We are halfway through construction we expect to be opening in early 2025—I’m very pleased with how everything is going […] Despite the pandemic, we have held to that schedule.”
PIT exemplifies the recognition that mediating aviation’s impact on the environment requires a broad approach, tackling everything from fuel to food waste. Through its implementation of a diverse range of innovative sustainability measures, the airport is becoming a beacon within the industry.
Air India leverages AI to upskill employees with learning platform Gurukul.AI
AI is revolutionising the aviation landscape as it is integrated into the industry at many levels. New technologies are being harnessed to optimise across the board, enhance customer experience, and transform processes to name a few. One way an airline is applying the evolving technology is to enhance its employees’ skills.
In line with their five-year transformation programme Vihaan.AI, Air India has launched Gurukul.AI, a learning platform driven by artificial intelligence. This is designed to create personalised upskilling paths for every employee, leveraging technology to “cultivate state-of-the-art, world-class capabilities within Air India, enhancing employee productivity and skill sets to exemplify global standards.”
Dr Suresh Tripathi, Chief Human Resources Officer, Air India said:
“The introduction of Gurukul.AI exemplifies Air India’s dedication to cultivating a futuristic-learning experience, attuned to the unique needs of every single employee. In a rapidly changing world, the speed of upskilling and the availability of world-class learning content through digital innovations is imperative. Through this business-driven strategy, we are resolute in transforming Air India into an authentic learning organization.”
One exciting component of Gurukul.AI is the platform’s ability to provide hyper-personalised recommendations based on an individual’s unique learning trajectory, enabling the airline to deploy tailored upskilling paths. Combining over 70,000 advanced learning tools from just-in-time learning modules, micro-learnings, accessible mobile learning resources and more, Gurukul.AI will consolidate an array of materials at employees’ fingertips. Engagement is encouraged through gamification and interactive elements including a leader board to promote the culture of “Own your Growth.”
Initially the platform will be launched in phases eventually catering for a range of departmental requirements including Inflight Services, Ground Services, and Engineering.
As questions arise surrounding the significance of AI for the future of jobs, the application of technology to upskill workers is crucial.
Digital identity: Customer-centricity in air travel through the eyes of the customer
We live both in the digital era and in the era of the customer. The aircraft have become full of electronics, the travelers are equipped with digital equipment, and the entire planning and booking experience is completely digital. The concept of identity sits at the edge of the physical and digital worlds and is undergoing a massive transformation. The digital identity has emerged as a key enabler for personalization, efficiency, and security across various stages of the travel journey. This article looks at the big picture of digital identity in travel, as the enabler of the customer-centric travel services. From the personalization of offers to seamless airport experience, immigration processes, document checks, payment and loyalty, let’s check out the exciting possibilities that lie ahead.
With new tools and technologies, such as artificial intelligence, airlines and travel companies are able to offer personalized journeys and to deliver personalized experiences. While some consider air travel as a commodity, like a subway or a taxi, Uber has shown that customers value a differentiated service, even for a short ride. Taxi is a commodity?
Uber proposes UberX, and Uber XL for groups, Uber Comfort for extra legroom, Uber Black for premium rides, Uber SUV for group premium, Uber WAV for seniors, Uber Green for sustainable rides, Uber Reserve for advance booking, Uber Saver for more savings, Uber Taxi to ride with an official cab, Uber Intercity for long rides, Uber bikes and scooters for city freedom, and Uber Rent for self-controlled rides. Taxis were a commodity… before Uber.
By collecting and analyzing data about travelers’ preferences, past bookings, and demographics, travel companies can tailor offers to match individual needs. Through digital identity, airlines can offer personalized flight deals, accommodation options, and travel packages that align with a traveler’s interests and requirements. This level of personalization will enhance customer satisfaction and strengthens loyalty (see more discussion about loyalty below).
Seamless airport experience
Digital identity plays a pivotal role in streamlining the end-to-end, curbside to gate procedures at airports. Traditional paper-based boarding passes have mostly been replaced by digital equivalents such as mobile boarding passes. Traditional paper-based identity documents (passport or driver license) will be replaced by electronic ones related to biometric identifiers. With digital identity verification, travelers can drop a bag, enter a lounge or board an aircraft with the touch of their smartphones, eliminating the need for physical documents.
Companies like Thales, NEC, SITA, Vision Box, and others, provide technology and solutions, including facial recognition and fingerprint scans, that enable fast and secure identity verification, which means reducing queues, and overall enhancing efficiency of the airport journey.
Enhanced Security and Immigration Processes
The security and immigration processes are a key step in the traveler journey that depends on the government authorities, not on the airline that sold the ticket. While risk-based assessment at security may still take time to be implemented, digital identity has already largely simplified immigration processes, making them more efficient and secure. For instance, Automated Border Control systems and e-Gates leverage digital identity verification to expedite the immigration procedures.
Even visa waivers and travel authorization can be handled electronically. The traditional paper visas remain the last roadblock to seamless immigration process. Eventually these systems, based on biometrics and electronic passports, will authenticate travelers in seconds, enabling swift border crossings.
Other documents like health and customs forms are already mostly digitalized, like in the Japan entry procedure which I used recently. They provide QR codes and self-service solutions to make entry in the country as seamless as possible. Several companies help governments to implement comprehensive digital immigration and border control solutions, for example Travizory’s digital border solution.
Beyond air travel, wider implications of Digital Identity on transport
While digital identity advancements have a significant impact on air travel, their applications extend beyond the aviation sector. In other modes of transportation such as trains and buses, digital identity’s verification enhances the ticketing processes and streamline the experience. Digital identity becomes a game-changer when it can be leveraged for seamless integration between different travel service providers, potentially creating a unified travel experience across various providers and their platforms. IATA has similar vision just for the air travel part of the journey, called One ID.
In the hospitality world digital identity solutions are enabling vacation rentals to verify the identity of their guests, with innovative solutions like Neoke. Platforms like Airbnb and Booking.com are integrating digital identity verification processes to enhance security and trust. By validating guests’ identities through secure digital channels, rental hosts can mitigate risks and ensure a safer experience for both parties, as well as comply with registration requirements where applicable. Digital identity verification simply streamlines the check-in and document check process, eliminating the need for physical document checks and reducing potential bottlenecks.
Loyalty and identity
Identity is closely intertwined with loyalty. Digital identity data is the key to access travel companies’ loyalty programs and trigger can offer personalized experience tailored to individual travelers, and in particular to the level of service they are entitled to within the loyalty program. As loyalty programs track customers’ preferences, purchase history, and engagement patterns, they are closely linked to the future airline offer creation systems.
Beyond air travel, a traveler’s digital identity can be linked to their frequent flyer program, hotel loyalty program, and car rental rewards, creating a unified loyalty ecosystem. This integration enables travelers to earn and redeem rewards seamlessly, enhancing the overall travel experience and fostering customer loyalty.
Payment and Identity
Digital identity also plays a crucial role in payment processes. The rise of mobile payments and digital wallets has made transactions more convenient and secure. By incorporating digital identity verification into payment systems, travel companies can ensure that transactions are secure and protect against fraudulent activities.
For instance, biometric authentication methods, such as fingerprint or facial recognition, can be used to verify a traveler’s identity during payment transactions. This enhances security by adding an additional layer of authentication beyond traditional methods like 4-digit PIN.
Travel companies can offer tailored payment options and incentives based on a traveler’s preferences, spending habits, and loyalty program status. This includes targeted promotions and discounts, further strengthening customer engagement and loyalty.
The big picture of digital identity in travel is one of transformation, convenience, and security. From personalized offers to streamlined boarding procedures, enhanced immigration processes, document checks, and payments, digital identity is revolutionizing the way we travel and puts the customer in control.
We can foresee a time when airline systems dedicated to customer profiles and preferences, and the personalization of offers, will take more room than the traditional transactional systems. Digital identity is closely coupled to the new era of customer centricity in air travel.
As technology continues to evolve, the possibilities for digital identity in the travel industry are limitless. Embracing these advancements will lead to a future where travel becomes more seamless, personalized, and enjoyable for travelers around the world.
The relationship between airlines and ancillaries is a delicate balancing act. The necessity for optimising profit-per-booking must be achieved without inconveniencing passengers in the checkout or irritating them with pestering post-booking marketing. Each new ancillary therefore has to overcome a lot of cynicism and multiple hurdles before it reaches the point where it warrants a serious review.
Could it be that international connectivity has now reached that milestone?
The category has had its fair share of failures: from complicated international-calling-cards to click-and-collect SIM cards. The tantalising prospect of customers’ need to keep mobile devices connected during their stay has remained unmet due to cumbersome delivery methods and inconsistent solutions. However, with the long overdue digitisation of SIM and the resultant move from a physical SIM card to a digital eSIM that is all changing, and changing fast.
This could mean that a major new category in ancillaries, with the potential to match revenues in car hire is ready for take-off in 2023.
Ancillary revenue – recovery & growth
A recent report by Ideaworks and Cartrawler projects airline ancillary revenue will increase to $102.8 billion worldwide in 2022, compared to $65.8 billion in 2021 and the $109.5 billion record of 2019. Coming out of the pandemic, ancillaries’ recovery has outstripped the pace of total airline revenue, and the volume of passenger return. The value per passenger now sits at a touch under $30, up over $8 on its pre-pandemic level.
Airlines’ fundamental business will always be selling seats but customers now expect to have convenient, pertinent services made available in a one-stop-shop and increasingly airlines’ financial well-being depends on them providing those services in the most profitable way possible. With supply-side pressure on margin in existing ancillaries, it’s therefore essential that airlines have a long-term vision for ancillary management and a pipeline of new opportunities to feed into it.
International connectivity – the need & market size
Everyone will have their own experience of where international connectivity can go wrong. The road trip of a lifetime that turns into the journey from hell when your teenagers are separated from social media and YouTube; the all-important business trip that fails as the essential presentation doesn’t download in time on coffee-store WiFi; the panic as the booking details or health documents held in the cloud are suddenly inaccessible as your device drops off grid. But when international connectivity goes right, the enhancements to your trip are massive: sharing your experiences online in real-time, planning and booking dining and experiences as you need them, and an endless stream of entertainment literally at your fingertips.
The market that serves this is currently a mix of paid-for international roaming with your home carrier (sometimes packaged up in a day-rate but often on a rack-rate that can run up sizeable bills) and purchase of a local pre-paid SIM card on arrival. It is worth an estimated $20 billion each year and is set to grow rapidly over the next 3-5 years.
– Increased category penetration
Around half of international travellers choose to turn off data-roaming on their devices; relying on WiFi or managing without their phone for the duration of their stay.
o Customer Need
Penetration has been increasing each year in line with a need for always-on connectivity and dissatisfaction with WiFi security, log-in protocols and stability
More convenient access to connectivity plans through eSIM have seen penetration growth accelerate in the last 12 months and will see the rate of acceleration increase further over the next 1 to 2 years.
– An ever-upwards trend on data
The amount of data consumed by mobile users doubles every eighteen months as streaming and photo quality increases and 5G brings data-hungry rich content mainstream, creating a need for larger and larger packages.
The key players in the market currently are the mobile network operators/carriers who generate a profit on their customers’ roaming activity and the retailers like Sim Local who have positioned themselves in airports and travel hubs to serve passengers as they land in destination. As the digital revolution takes hold the most likely beneficiaries will be those who can provide the right product at the right moment in a customers’ journey and can be trusted to deliver.
What is eSIM and how prevalent is it?
An eSIM (embedded Subscriber Identity Module) is basically a SIM card that is built in to a mobile device’s chip-set that can connect you to any operator offering eSIM services. The eSIM works the same way as a traditional SIM card, but you don’t need to acquire and insert a physical product. The eSIM is pre-installed in the device, and you can activate it by installing an “eSIM profile” from any network. The move from a SIM card that needs to be sold in a bricks-and-mortar retail environment to a digital product that can be bought and delivered over the air is a market disruption that mirrors the switch from CDs and tapes to Spotify and Tidal.
SIM cards are still the most prevalent method for getting connected, but almost all smartphone releases from Apple, Samsung and Google for the last four years have had dual capability. The game-changer for the market came in September 2022 when Apple announced that in the US the iPhone 14 would be the first major device to remove the SIM card slot and become eSIM only. Experience says that where Apple lead others will follow, and so it is likely that most devices in most markets will be eSIM only from the next release cycle.
How will this fit in with an airline’s booking flow
As with all ancillaries the watch-words are ‘relevance’ and ‘simplicity’ when it comes to placing eSIM in front of passengers.
Possible Touch Points for Customers
eSim allows travellers to save money and be in control of their spending.
What are the models and choices
Congratulations! You’ve decided eSIM is going to benefit your customers and your bottom line, but what now? You’ve got some choices on who to partner with, and some options on what level of integration you can stomach.
Working directly with Mobile Network Operators Mobile Network Operators are territory-specific: they buy the spectrum from government, run the infrastructure and in theory should always provide the best value. However, there are almost 2,000 worldwide with no consistent tech interface and so if this is your route you’ll have to get ready for quite a mess of integrations and an industry for keeping on top of commercial negotiations and product amendments.
Working with Roaming Providers
A spate of new companies have sprung up on the back of eSIM technology, purchasing data wholesale and packaging it up into Roaming bundles for travellers. Roaming suppliers can provide a convenient one-stop shop with impressive country coverage but access to 4G and 5G quality connections is inconsistent, the pricing is typically high for customers (particularly at higher data allowances) and potential commissions are often low.
Working with a Marketplace
The well-trodden path through similar territory has led to aggregators or marketplace platforms providing a single point of integration for airlines and access to a full range of suppliers in car hire and stays. The model of CarTrawler and HostelWorld is also in place in eSIM, with the supply management bringing together roaming providers and Mobile Network Operators from across the world in one service with commissions benefiting from the scale of the organisation.
Airlines need new ancillaries and the revenue streams that go with them, but they need to exercise caution in selecting categories that satisfy a real customer need, represent a good long-term revenue stream, and can be implemented without impeding booking time or irritating customers. Connectivity has always ticked the first two boxes, but with the arrival of eSIM it’s just got over its final barrier and is ready for take-off.
The world’s leading travel marketplace for eSIMs, Sim Local has been selling SIM cards to travelers for over 10 years, through its global airport retail, affiliate and vending network. Partnering with local telecom operators their technology provides travel companies with multiple partnership and integration options to bring eSIM connectivity to their customers as an ancillary.
United leverages iPhone feature to provide passengers real-time access to flight details on their lock screen
How many times have you been running through a busy airport, desperately looking for a screen to inform you which gate to rush to, only to find out your flight is delayed?
United Airlines is making it easier than ever for some passengers to view crucial travel details with a new feature giving flyers “real-time access to flight information at a glance.” The airline is condensing real-time flight information including gate, status, seat number, and boarding pass right on your lock screen, it is even complete with a countdown to departure time.
Yesterday, a press release announced United are the first US airline to support Live Activities for iPhone, tapping in to Apple’s feature to provide customers timely updates and easy access to important flight details.
Linda Jojo, Chief Customer Officer for United described the benefits of this:
“We’re seeing soaring demand for travel this summer, and Live Activities puts all the flight information you need right at your fingertips, whether your iPhone is locked or you’re doing something else like checking email, listening to music or texting friends. This new feature is another way United is leveraging technology to improve our customers’ travel journey. It’s going to save passengers a lot of time, and we think they’re going to love it, especially during a busy travel season.”
The feature will provide easy access to the useful information, prioritising passenger convenience and transforming their phone into the ultimate travel companion. The airline has revealed customers will be able to look at their lock screen and:
Access details like the flight number, on-time status, inbound aircraft status, estimated departure and arrival times, and more in the Live Activity on the Lock Screen or the Dynamic Island when expanded.
Open their boarding pass directly from the Live Activity to easily scan during security check-in or while boarding their flight.
See departure and arrival gates, pre- and in-flight countdowns, and baggage carousel information right in the Dynamic Island.
The roll out has already become and will be widely available to customers with an iPhone running iOS 16.1 or later and with the most up to date United app, by the end of May.
The Dublin Airport Authority’s proposed incentive scheme to target CO2 emissions
The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) has announced proposals for new sustainability measures, incentivising airlines to operate lowers CO2 emission aircraft at Dublin Airport. The proposed scheme would offer a 25 per cent discount off runway charges to all airlines that operate the most environmentally friendly aircraft at all times of the day. It is anticipated this will result in multi-million euro discounts, encouraging sustainable practices.
The proposed incentive is expected to commence within the next six months and builds upon the first phase of its environmental strategy which began last year, applying higher charges for nosier aircraft operating at night.
Kenny Jacobs, DAA CEO, the operator of Dublin Airport said:
“At DAA, we are embedding environmental sustainability into everything we do. We are acutely aware of the scale of the task of achieving the government’s target of a 51% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions at our airports by 2030, on our way to our ultimate goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. We are fully committed to delivering on these targets while in parallel, working alongside aviation stakeholders and our airline partners to support the sector’s transition to a more sustainable model for the future and addressing our Scope 3 emissions.”
Dublin Airport is already in possession of carbon neutral status for emissions under its direct control and the proposed scheme is hoped to encourage the transition to lower CO2 emission aircraft types.
Neste establishes a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) supply chain to Changi Airport
This week, Neste cemented their position as the world’s leading SAF producer after opening the Singapore refinery expansion. The endeavour doubled production capacity in Singapore, bringing the refinery’s total capacity to 2.6 million tons annually of which up to one million tons can be SAF.
In yesterday’s press release Matti Lehmus, President and CEO of Neste said:
“We celebrate today our Singapore refinery expansion opening with our customers, partners and employees. This marks another important milestone in our renewables growth strategy execution. The completion of the construction of the refinery is a remarkable achievement given the complexity of the project and as it was carried out during a global pandemic.”
Neste is working hand in hand with the aviation industry to hit the net-zero emissions by 2050 target. One way this is being executed is via a “global network of airports” from which SAF can be supplied directly into aircraft. Neste’s network already connects with San Francisco (SFO) and Los Angeles (LAX) in the U.S., Amsterdam (AMS) in the Netherlands, Helsinki Airport (HEL) in Finland, and Singapore’s Changi Airport will provide a key base in APAC.
Singapore is a leading aviation hub in the region and Neste’s establishment of an integrated SAF supply chain to Changi Airport will amplify the Finnish company’s reach. Sami Jauhiainen, acting Executive Vice President for the Renewable Aviation business unit of Neste explained the supply chain will:
“Make our product available to an increasing number of regional and international airlines. The neat SAF is produced at our refinery located in the Tuas area of Singapore, then blended together with conventional fossil jet fuel and certified to meet jet fuel specifications at the blending terminal in Singapore, and finally delivered to our customers at Changi Airport.”
We’re relaunching the Battle of the Apps challenge this year to find out who currently has the ultimate airline app!
Join to find out which airline app is leading the way in offering a more seamless, frictionless and simple passenger experience.
The rules are:
You cannot vote for your own airline.
You can only vote once.
Deadline to vote is the 26th May.
Six finalists will pitch to our judges live at the #aviationfest
Using your vote we will put together a shortlist of the top 6 contenders. Then at the World Aviation Festival each contender will have the chance to do a 5-minute pitch on why their app deserves to win this coveted prize.
Our panel of independent judges will then have the final say after all pitches have been made.
Join us to see who is leading the airline app revolution!
airasia partners with Dufry to expand duty-free retail offering
Yesterday, airasia shop announced a partnership with major travel retailer Dufry. The collaboration between the pair will broaden options available to customers whilst enhancing flexibility.
The press release announced this collaboration is set to result in over 1,000 new duty-free products available to customers through the airasia shop.
Additionally, customers will be able to collect items purchased on airasia shop from Dufry’s outlets in Perth Airport, Siem Reap International Airport, Cambodia and Phnom Penh International Airport. Alternatively, passengers can select the inflight delivery option having their items hand delivered by cabin crew for optimal convenience.
Tan Mai Yin, Chief Commercial Officer of airasia Superapp said:
“As a robust duty-free shopping ecosystem that provides customers with the utmost convenience and choices, we are proud to be pioneering the digital transformation in the travel shopping industry with Dufry.”
The partnership will provide a more holistic experience for passengers, offering flexibility around collection options to make the enhance the retail offering provided by airasia shop.
IATA survey indicates passengers expect post pandemic travel issues to have been resolved
Looking towards the peak Northern summer holiday season, International Air Transport Association (IATA) have been investigating traveller expectations and the research is showing passengers are feeling optimistic.
Surveying 4,700 travellers in 11 countries finding, findings showed:
79% of travellers surveyed were planning a trip in the June–August 2023 period.
80% of travellers surveyed are expecting smooth travel with post pandemic issues having been resolved
Notably, the forward bookings data also demonstrated growth in all regions:
Asia Pacific region (134.7%)
Middle East (42.9%)
Latin America (21.4%)
North America (14.1%)
Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President for Operations, Safety and Security said:
“Expectations are high for this year’s peak Northern summer travel season. For many this will be their first post-pandemic travel experience. Although some disruptions can be expected, there is a clear expectation that the ramping-up issues faced at some key hub airports in 2022 will have been resolved. To meet strong demand, airlines are planning schedules based on the capacity that airports, border control, ground handlers, and air navigation service providers have declared. Over the next months, all industry players now need to deliver.”
After a turbulent return to travel, passengers are anticipating smooth journeys this summer but is the industry ready to deliver?
Following a successful pilot programme in April, Air New Zealand is expanding its in app baggage tracking feature. The test run will now be available to 25 per cent of app users travelling domestically and five per cent of app users travelling on an international short haul flight.
According to SITA’s recently published 2023 Baggage IT Insights report, there has been a sharp increase in the mishandled baggage rate by 74.7% to 7.6 bags per thousand passengers in 2022. The report attributes this in part to the resumption of international and long-haul flights during 2022.
Digital solutions can provide passengers with more control and peace of mind as the industry scales back up. With Air New Zealand’s in app bag tracking feature, customers can view the last recorded status of their baggage while travelling. According to the airline’s Chief Digital Officer, in an upcoming release customers will also be able to report and monitor mishandled baggage via the app.
Air New Zealand Chief Digital Officer Nikhil Ravishankar said:
“Updates to our app last year mean we are now able to be more adaptable when it comes to creating and adding digital solutions that solve pain points for customers. Baggage tracking is a perfect example of this. Customers can track the journey of their bag and receive guidance on what to do if their bag has taken a detour […] Baggage tracking puts information directly in the hands of our customers, streamlining processes, relieving pressure on our teams, and giving passengers peace of mind that their luggage is on the journey with them.”
With the “exponential increase” in mishandled baggage witnessed in 2022, these digital solutions can bridge the gap while the industry stabilises all whilst enhancing passenger agency.
Technology in aviation apps has advanced in recent years, transforming mobile devices into powerful tools and transferring agency to passengers.
Initially, COVID-19 dealt a blow to the industry’s app evolution. In April 2020, installation rates of travel and navigation apps dropped by 40 per cent compared to 2019 levels. However, in the midst of the pandemic “mobile apps became the new interface for brands and businesses across all sectors.” During this period, they were refined throughout industries and according to TNMT, travel app downloads surpassed pre-pandemic peak levels in the summer of 2022.
Even within the aviation sphere there are a range of apps; from airlines to airports, ground transportation to flight tracking. A recentarticle by TNMT highlighted the popularity of airline apps over those of airports, noting several examples of airports that publicly announced they would be discontinuing their apps. Interested in the relative popularity within aviation apps, we launched a poll to see for ourselves.
Lets take a look at some of the technology enhancing aviation apps.
Augmented Reality Wayfinding
With over three-quarters of smartphone owners regularly using navigation apps, the use of mobile phones as a navigation tool is well established. However, inside a complex environment like an airport, regular navigation tools are less effective.
Wayfinding involves locating yourself within an environment or finding your way between two points. It is known to be particularly important for more elaborate environments like airports. Augmented Reality (AR) plays a crucial role in the improvement of wayfinding, “superimposing digital information onto a real-world view, in real-time on a connected mobile device.”
Gatwick airport in London was the first to deploy AR technology, installing over 2,000 indoor beacons. These form the basis of an indoor navigation system which allows third parties, airlines, and the airport to develop AR wayfinding tools inside applications.
AR wayfinding within airports can help passengers navigate the airport with ease whilst simultaneously highlighting amenities and services. This can be particularly useful for travellers with accessibility requirements, using visual and audio prompts to help all travellers navigate the often overwhelming environment.
Queuing times have been identified by passengers as one of the key pain points in the industry. Digital queuing software can reduce the length of times spent in physical queues at airports, easing the burden on all parties.
Virtual queues have been trialled by both airlines and airports, notifying customers when it is their turn instead of joining the back of snaking queues. This helps to transform the traveller experience for passengers, opening up time previously spent waiting in line for enjoying the retail offerings at airports.
A key example of its application within the airport setting is overcoming one of the major pinch points for passenger flow: security checks. Berlin Brandenburg Airport was the first European airport and eighth airport globally to offer the virtual queueing system describing it as a “game changer” in the airport experience. Passengers can reserve a time to pass through security ahead of time or enter a virtual queue after their checking luggage, spending their time however they please until they receive a notification on their mobile to come to the checkpoint.
Major US carrier, Delta Air Lines incorporated “virtual queuing” into their Fly Delta app in 2020, showing passengers which groups have boarded the aircraft and allowing them to relax until their seat starts boarding, not just their flight.
Improving the onboard entertainment experience
Apps can also transform mobile devices into a travel companion in the plane. Some airlines have developed their apps to enhance the overall entertainment offering; from previewing the selection of entertainment available on the flight to remotecontrolling the personal screen onboard.
The Turkish Airlines Companion Entertainment app can be paired with its inflight entertainment platform Planet. This transforms Planet into into an interactive platform, controlling the seatback screens with their mobile device and turning their phone into a second screen for the platform, accessing content through this extra device.
Apps represent a significant opportunity for travellers and the industry alike. As technology advances to improve the convenience and rewards passengers can unlock from their journey, the relationship will continue to be mutually beneficial to both parties.
Be a part of the discussion around apps in aviation and vote now for your favourite airline app. Votes close 26th May.
World Aviation Festival 2023 – Managing the evolving landscape of challenges in the aviation industry. A closer look at the agenda release.
The aviation industry plays a critical role in contemporary society. It connects people and places, drives economic growth, and supports livelihoods extending from pilots to mechanics, those working for the tourist sector to airport staff. This profitable commercial airline industry has existed for over a century, but its landscape is perpetually evolving, bringing new opportunities and challenges. The World Aviation Festival helps drive innovation in the industry, developing year on year and responding to changes in the environment.
The aviation industry is heavily intertwined with technology at every level. It has become central to air traffic control, security practices, and airport operations just to name a few. It is therefore imperative cybersecurity is taken seriously.
This year, there will be an entire summit dedicated to cybersecurity curated in association with Aviation ISAC, an international community of airlines, airports, IFE/Satcom, OEMs, and aviation service providers. Cybersecurity threats can result in harm to travellers and crew members, data breaches of passenger information and flight plans, disruption to operational efficiency, and much more. Consequently, the summit will map out the evolving threat as well as the challenges of an increasingly regulated cybersecurity market. The sessions will also look at preparing for the increase in ransomware, and a discussion surrounding the impact of AI on cybersecurity in the aviation industry.
During this summit, attendees can expect to hear from airlines, airports, and organisations to understand the threat and explore innovative solutions, helping to navigate the growing threat of cybersecurity.
IROPS can cause widescale disruptions in the aviation industry, creating problems for passengers and often resulting in financial and reputational losses for airlines and airports. In recent years there have been a number of high profile disruptions caused by IROPS precipitated by the global pandemic, extreme weather events, and shifts in global power relations. Although these events cannot be controlled, the ability of industry players to absorb the disruption and provide travellers with the best service throughout is a point of differentiation.
At this year’s IROPS summit, sessions will focus on prediction and prevention as well as customer recovery. Here, the potential applications of technology to mitigate the extremes of disruption are considered as well as the human aspect and prioritising communication with the customer.
This summit will feature speakers from airlines including AirAsia, TAP, United, KLM, and more.
The crippling staff shortages the industry has suffered from in recent years have exacerbated a long term trend, people are no longer flocking for jobs in aviation. During the pandemic, aviation lost 2.3 million jobs globally. As people returned back to work there has been a lack of willingness for staff to return to the industry. This is for a multitude of reasons including pay, movement to other sectors, changes in personal circumstances, and many more. Although some aspects of staff shortages can be addressed with widespread automation, it is vital the sector starts to attract talent back to the industry.
Building from the success of last year, the talent summit will return in 2023. This will look at employment trends and retention, exploring how to strengthen and shape the post-pandemic workforce. The sessions will also look at the digital revolution, understanding the impact of rapid digitalisation and considering the reskilling of current employees for the evolving job market.
For all this and more, take a look at the highly anticipated World Aviation Festival agenda. With thousands of attendees set to join hundreds of speakers, sponsors, and exhibitors this year’s World Aviation Festival is not one to miss. Book now to secure your place.
Uber advances super-app ambitions, partnering with Hopper to add flights to its “one-stop travel solution”
Today, Uber has announced UK users will be able to book domestic and international flights directly in the Uber app.
Growing their reputation as a “one-stop travel solution” Uber is using the UK as a test ground, adding flights to the existing transport options of Uber Rides, Uber Boat, train journeys across the National Rail network, Eurostar and coach travel.
Andrew Brem, General Manager at Uber UK said:
“Perfect for business travellers and tourists alike, our new functionality will make the booking and managing of air travel simple and stress-free, with the booking process taking as little as one minute in the Uber app […] Through our B2B initiative, Hopper Cloud, we can seamlessly integrate both our travel inventory and fintech products into the Uber ecosystem.”
Booking flights through the app will be simple, with users only needing to enter in travel details like where they will be travelling to and from on which dates. According to the press release, customers will then be able to select their departing flight and returning flight if a round trip. With major carriers, users will be able to select seats in the app and then pay, just as they would for any Uber service.
Partnering with Hopper to making this possible, a selection of fintech products are expected to be available when purchasing a flight. These include freezing of airfares, cancelling flights for any reason, as well as rebook or refunds in the event of flight disruption, all available for a fee.
With approximately 15 per cent of Uber’s gross bookings involving airport trips and 40 per cent of journeys in the UK starting or ending near transit hubs, the incorporation of flights with enable Uber to become a “true door-to-door experience for air travellers, with all legs of the journey being manageable in Uber’s smart travel itinerary product.”
Untapped potentials of AI in the Airline Industry?
Inspired by a follow-up on my customer insights blog last December and an AI assignment for my Executive MBA studies, I wanted to share some learnings from that work. The aim was to look for an AI use case that can be implemented for an airline venturing onto the new distribution transformation path – something that many airlines are just starting to consider. There is a wealth of data to be tapped into, but what exactly might some of the possibilities be for using this data in a meaningful way? What does the new world allow an airline to do that it didn’t before? Will it deliver as promised, and how can this be measured?
While there is much talk about how AI can revolutionise pricing and revenue management, are there other potential uses of the data that can now give insights that an airline didn’t have before?
Much has been said about the ability to make more targeted offers and thereby increasing revenue per customer and flight, might there be other untapped golden nuggets to be derived from the offer data?
The airline industry is highly competitive, where customer satisfaction and operational efficiency are crucial to success. As airlines have access to vast amounts of data, it is no surprise that many are turning to artificial intelligence to help them gain a competitive advantage.
One of the most significant benefits of AI for the airline industry is its potential to improve customer experiences. Especially when looking at finding patterns and opportunities that might be undetected today, AI has the potential to process a huge amount of data with an efficiency that only a few solutions already do. Including more and different data sources than what is traditionally done can provide customer insights from a different angle. By analysing customer data, airlines can tailor their offers and services to meet their customers’ needs and preferences better.
A look at some use cases
Traditionally, airlines have pushed out the availability (or made it available in a “pull” fashion) and the prices, and only got to know about the customers when they purchased a flight. However, there is considerable knowledge about how customers behave before they buy – knowledge which airlines to date have never had access to. But my interest was piqued when thinking about what offers customers didn’t buy, since this says as much about their needs as what they finally purchased. Having a complete picture of who did not buy what can lead to new insight into what appeals to whom – in a different way than previously possible.
For example, AI can provide personalised recommendations for flights, hotels, and other travel-related services. AI can analyse a customer’s past purchases, preferences, and other data to deliver tailored recommendations more likely to meet their needs.
AI can also provide real-time information and support to customers during their journey. Chatbots, for example, can provide instant customer support, answering their questions and providing guidance throughout their journey. This can help to reduce customer frustration and improve their overall experience.
Airlines can increase operational efficiency by optimising their processes and reducing costs by using AI. For example, to optimise flight schedules, crew assignments, and other operational tasks.
AI can also improve maintenance operations, reducing downtime and increasing aircraft availability. By analysing data from sensors and other sources, AI can predict maintenance issues before they occur, allowing airlines to address them before they cause disruptions proactively.
Finally, AI can help airlines to boost their revenue by optimising pricing and increasing ancillary sales. AI can analyse customer data and market trends to predict demand and optimise pricing accordingly.
AI can also be used to increase ancillary sales by providing tailored recommendations for ancillary services, such as seat upgrades, baggage allowances, and lounge access. By tailoring these offers to each customer’s preferences and needs, airlines can increase their likelihood of purchasing.
While the potential benefits of AI in the airline industry are significant, several challenges come with its implementation. These include the cost of implementation, the complexity of the technology, and the need for skilled personnel to manage and operate the systems.
To overcome these challenges, airlines need to take a phased approach to AI implementation, starting with small proof-of-concept projects to demonstrate the potential value of the technology.
Another challenge is data privacy and compliance. Airlines need to ensure that their use of AI complies with all relevant data privacy regulations and that customer data is adequately secured. This requires a strong governance framework and robust security measures to protect sensitive data.
Airlines need to ensure they have the right personnel to manage and operate AI systems. This requires a mix of technical skills, such as data engineering and data science, and soft skills, such as communication and stakeholder management. Airlines should invest in training and development programs to build these skills in-house and ensure their personnel are up-to-date with the latest AI technologies and best practices.
Potential – but only by doing it right
In conclusion, AI has enormous potential in the airline industry, providing airlines with tools to increase revenue, improve efficiency, and provide customers with personalised offers that cater to their needs. However, implementing AI solutions has challenges, and airlines must be aware of them and take steps to mitigate them. It’s essential to have a dedicated team with the necessary skills and expertise to manage the project and communicate the process and results effectively. With AI, the airline industry can move towards a more sustainable customer-centric business model, identifying new opportunities that emerge from the direct distribution model.
AI has the potential to transform the airline industry, and airlines that embrace it will have a competitive advantage over those that don’t. While the airline industry is still in its infancy in using AI, it’s clear that it is a technology that will play a significant role in shaping the airline industry’s future. It’s exciting to see what the future holds, and we can’t wait to see how AI will continue to transform the airline industry.
ITA Airways expands its “train + plane” offering to enhance passenger convenience
ITA Airways have announced a new addition to the intermodality project sponsored jointly by Aeroporti di Roma. This further incentives sustainable transportation to the airport whilst simultaneously prioritising convenience for passengers.
As of today, passengers arriving at Rome Fiumicino airport by train with Trenitalia and holding an onward ITA Airways ticket to any domestic or international destination (excluding only the USA and Israel) may check in and drop off their luggage at the station. This will be possible at the dedicated FCO Connect desks serviced by Swissport.
This builds upon the airline’s integrated, sustainability focused “train + plane” package which simplifies the travel experience for passengers, combining rail with air travel on a single ticket.
“The path toward decarbonization of the aeronautical sector will have to provide significant innovations of service, as well as technological innovations, and can produce important advantages for the passengers and for our country and the Italian transportation system as a whole.”
In the pursuit of reducing environmental harm, ITA Airways has taken a broader view of the travel experience leveraging partnerships across this journey. The airline’s goal is to have a ticket counter at every airport connected to the Frecciarossa rail system, allowing the incentive to thrive across Italy.
Fifty years on, how different will travel really be? easyJet 2070: The future of travel report
easyJet 2070: The future of travel report outlines a set of predictions for what travel might look fifty years from now. Many of the ideas like space-based holidays to the moon and 3D-printed hotel breakfast buffets still feel a long way off. Others, despite sounding futuristic, described technologies that are already in their early stages of implementation.
The report was created by a panel of experts comprised of academics, futurologists, and business advisors. Together, they began to “develop ideas and make predictions about how travel might look in fifty years’ time, from choosing and booking your holiday to how the airport and flight experience may be transformed, and also looking at the accommodation people might stay in and the activities they could enjoy from travel in the 2070s.”
Here are some travel experiences listed in the report that we can already see in their infancy today.
‘Try before you buy’ holiday destinations
“Just as you try on clothes in a store today, or listen to music samples online before you decide to buy, customers will be able to explore and try out holiday destinations in the online metaverse before making a purchase” says Professor Birgitte Andersen, the CEO of Big Innovation Centre. Stakeholders in the aviation industry are already exploring the metaverse’s potential for the sector. From encouraging passengers to virtually tour the airport and cabin interiors to “visualis[ing] their real-world journey.” Although the metaverse is still in its early stages, there are many examples of companies actively engaging with the possibilities of virtual reality.
An entirely paperless, seamless journey
“By 2070, all ticketing and identity documentation will be digital.” Requiring solely your biometric data to get your through the airport, there will be no queues or ever barriers. According to BioFuturist Dr Melissa Sterry, “as you walk into the airport, facial recognition software will have noted your arrival, identified you, matched you with your booked flight and sent messages to your personal devices like a phone or smart watch to direct you onwards.” Biometric technology is not new to the industry and is already used by airports and airlines to streamline the passenger journey. Additionally, transatlantic Digital Travel Credential (DTC) pilots are running with a view to speeding up the passenger journey. Although the 2070 vision of entirely removing conventional touchpoints is a way off, the groundwork for this vision has already been laid with advancements in biometrics and identity technology.
Green transport to the airport and at your destination
“You might even travel to the airport via e-VTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing aircrafts) air taxis that whisk you from home to the airport.” And, once at your destination “you won’t need to worry about navigating local transport networks or car hire while on holiday […] there will be no need to have a driving licence: rental cars or e-VTOLs will be fully autonomous electric vehicles taking you wherever you want to go, dropping you at your destination without any worries over how to get there or where to park.” Airlines have been investing heavily in e-VTOLs with United Airlines and Archer Aviation already announcing the plans for their first commercial electric air taxi route. Once this is ready, it will offer passengers a “safe, sustainable, low noise, and cost-competitive alternative to ground transportation” to the airport, avoid traffic and reduce pollution.
“By 2070 passengers will have been travelling on zero emission aircraft for a number of years.” The aviation industry has been pushing to reduce its negative impact on the climate achieving key milestones in recent times. At the start of the year, ZeroAvia successfully tested the world’s largest plane to be powered by a hydrogen-electric engine, a considerable step towards zero-emission commercial flights. In the pursuit of mediating environmental damage, many partnerships have formed including easyJet and Rolls-Royce who achieved a world first for sustainable aviation, successfully running an aircraft engine on green hydrogen.
Some aspects of the journey sound like a distant future. For these, the report encourages readers to cast minds back to the year 1973, “smartphones were a thing of wildest dreams, ‘Google’ would have seemed like a made-up word, and laptops were still almost a decade away from being invented.” However, perhaps even more strikingly, we are already engaging with the technology that underpins some of the most futuristic experiences predicted by the report.
As the industry pushes to improve the passenger journey, we will see how continued engagement with these technologies translates into the passenger experience of the future.