3 Growth Zones for Airlines: How to Use Technology to Empower the Industry

3 Growth Zones for Airlines: How to Use Technology to Empower the Industry

3 Growth Zones for Airlines: How to Use Technology to Empower the Industry


The global crunch in air transportation is already sending shockwaves through the industry. The protracted pandemic and economic crisis triggered problems that are now widely on display. Whether the shock is generated by a staff shortage or increased peak demand, the core question is the same: do airline systems have the capacity and tools to mitigate the impact and go beyond? To answer this question, Mike King (DataArt Strategic Relationships Director) and Apurva Mathur (DataArt VP Strategic Accounts) shared their thoughts on how technology can fuel growth for 3 strategic zones of opportunity.  


Growth Zone 1: Post-Covid Wanderlust and Peak Demands

Due to the lifting of Covid restrictions and significant industry resource shortage, this summer’s travellers have faced airport chaos, cancelled flights, lost luggage and hours-long queues. Although overall passenger numbers are still below 2019 levels, traffic has become more concentrated during peak periods. June 2022 international RPKs reached 65.0% of June 2019 levels. 

For example, Heathrow managed to grow the passenger service team and provide more space for passengers, after starting recruitment in late 2021. However, increased departing passenger numbers and a large number of flight cancellations resulted in a significant reduction in the level of service at the airport. 

Additionally, overall passenger satisfaction dropped across nearly all measures (down more than 20 points from a year ago). Research from IATA found that 80% of passengers were not ready to wait more than 3 minutes to register their baggage, which created additional pressure on airlines.


Solution: Data Management to improve customer experience

The good news is that cross-industry Data Management can help address some of those issues and help build a more complete experience for travellers. Airlines have already invested in new data consolidation and processing tools, informing travellers of any flight issues and delays in real-time. Increased AI/ML adoption during all stages of the journey could distinctly improve the traveller’s experience. Large-scale legacy systems transformations that involve various data types and sources can be complex, but can enable significant benefits including:

  • Predicting disruptions: When data from air traffic control, airlines, pilots and airports is collected into a single data system in real-time, machine learning algorithms can predict disruptions. These predictions will enhance the customer experience by providing advance notification of potential flight delays and allowing stakeholders to adjust their processes and adapt accordingly.
  • Optimizing flight paths and flight operation patterns: Receiving real-time weather and traffic data enables pilots to make more justified decisions about their flight paths for efficiency and passenger comfort. Whereas, updating stakeholders’ systems to share reliable data enables machine learning algorithms to spot patterns.


Solution: Advanced Cloud Usage for Innovation and Resilience

Cloud-based mobile computing enables off-site check-in for travellers. This translates to shorter waiting times, less crowded airports, and a more seamless flying experience. Moving data to the cloud is the most effective way to ensure data is reliable and quickly delivered to necessary second parties. A well-executed cloud migration results in innovative processes, bringing products to market faster, and constructing a resilient supply chain. Even small and mid-sized airlines can now afford to build redundancies for their IT infrastructure, as cloud technology offers more flexibility at a lower cost.


Growth Zone 2: Enabling Synchronization Between Traveller’s Touchpoints

The airline industry currently places emphasis on gathering comprehensive customer information to customize product offering and offer tailored information. Today, airlines can be more holistic with the help of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) in how they sell existing products, stretching into the lifestyle realm of commuting, shopping and dining.


Solution: Omnichannel Management and Event-driven API Integrations to Gather Real-Time Information

Airlines can benefit by adopting omnichannel management, enabling consistent management of content and user experience across all sales and service channels. They can benefit from event-driven APIs by gathering real-time data and time-sensitive data on passengers’ behavior and preferences from multiple sources and enable better decision-making for resource planning.  Efficient event-based API utilization allows for new and flexible commercial models between airlines, sellers, servicers and consumers in real time, as the event-driven architecture enables the data to be pushed to downline apps and consumers in timely manner.


Growth Zone 3: Enabling Robust Payment Solutions

Airlines need flexible, fully integrated payment systems and processes to enable protection against fraud and cyber threats, and to comply with stringent industry regulations. Fragmented airline payment solutions can negatively affect customer experience with additional data entries. Utilizing universal, easy-to-use payment services can transform the traveller’s journey.


Solution: Transition From Batch Payments to Instant Payments

The move from batch payments to real-time, one-to-one payments presents a significant opportunity for airlines, but necessitates the large, complex challenge of the move itself. Pinpoint accuracy with integration of fast payments enables meta-data identification of the transaction partner and type of item invoiced, leading to automatic reconciliation and expense categorization. Finally, fast payments can be used for instant refunds in direct channels, improving the consumer’s experience.


Solution: Blockchain for B2B

Using the blockchain, airlines could easily establish and automate distribution rules and travel agent payments including incentives, methods of payment (e.g. early payment discounts), and foreign exchange conditions. Blockchain for loyalty could enable travellers to convert miles into digital on-board shopping. Singapore Airlines and airBaltic have demonstrated how airlines can go beyond standard loyalty programs using blockchain.


Final thoughts:

As demand continues to rebound, airlines cannot wait until new staff are fully proficient and must act swiftly to offer innovative and cost-effective tech services to address the constantly shifting environment. Having the right combination of AI/ML based data management, event driven APIs, and real time data solutions will help airlines keep travellers informed and minimize the impact of inconveniences encountered throughout their journey. The perfect combination is possible with a comprehensive approach to technological transformation. Involving a technology service provider with deep airline system domain knowledge can offer expert-level input to help airlines transform their business and get the most out of cutting-edge technologies.


Article written by DataArt

DataArt delivers perfectly suited services, being a go-to technology partner both with deep travel domain experience and people’s first approach.
To learn more about DataArt, visit: https://www.dataart.com/industries/online-travel-solutions

United Airlines Pays $10 Million Pre-Delivery Payment for eVTOL Aircrafts

United Airlines Pays $10 Million Pre-Delivery Payment for eVTOL Aircrafts

United Airlines Pays $10 million Pre-Delivery Payment for eVTOL Aircrafts


United Airlines’ payment to Archer Aviation has put $10 million of their money where their mouth is. The airline has placed the first pre-delivery payment for the start-up’s eVTOL aircrafts. This money is for 100 of the initial production electric vertical take-off and landing aircrafts (eVTOLs) and signals United’s commitment to achieving sustainability through technology. The start-up’s co-founder Adam Goldstein stated “the team at United share our vision of a more sustainable future” confirming that the companies are working closely to “make sustainable urban air mobility a reality far sooner than people could ever imagine”

The start-up’s ties with the airline giant date back to 2021 when United signed a conditional agreement to purchase 200 of Archer’s aircrafts for $1 billion. The aircraft, known as Midnight, will be capable of transporting a pilot alongside four passengers and together the fleet will connect customers to United’s hub airports. Since 2021 the companies have been working synergistically, with United forming an advisory committee guiding Archer and supplying the innovative start-up with years of operational and maintenance experience.

United Airlines has been public in their push for sustainability and their tangible ties to Archer demonstrate a commitment towards reaching this goal. In 2021, CEO Scott Kirby declared that United would seek to combat global warming by “embracing emerging technologies that decarbonise air travel,” and help fund the next generation of companies developing this tech. United’s financial backing distinguishes Archer from its competitors with the majority of provisional sales for eVTOL aircrafts boasting neither a cash deposit nor a formal payment schedule.

Whilst this represents a step towards a more sustainable future within aviation, eVTOLs face push back from local regions and communities. Sergi Alegre, Director General for the Airport Regional Council will be moderating the panel on “How airports can prepare for the Advanced Air Mobility revolution” at this year’s World Aviation Festival. Furthermore, Lauren Riley the Chief Sustainability Officer at United Airlines will be discussing their path to net-zero carbon emissions and sitting on the panel discussing whether we “have the right level of ambition, collaboration, and investment towards a net-zero future.”

Article written by Jess Brownlow

Airports Achieve Three Seconds per Touchpoint with the Digi Yatra App

Airports Achieve Three Seconds per Touchpoint with the Digi Yatra App

Airports Achieve Three Seconds per Touchpoint with the Digi Yatra App


After years of trialling, the Digi Yatra app was finally launched on 15th August 2022. The app is currently operating at Bangalore International Airport and Delhi International Airport, bringing the pair closer to an entirely contactless passenger journey.

The app utilises facial recognition technology to enable passengers to pass through airport touchpoints seamlessly. Domestic passengers at these airports will no longer be required to present their ID or boarding pass at each touchpoint, minimising contact and maximising efficiency.

All passengers must do is perform a series of simple steps before arriving at the airport. Download the app, type in the required personal details, add proof of Covid-19 vaccination, scan their boarding pass, and take a selfie. Having done this, each touchpoint should last no longer than three seconds and be entirely contactless, facilitating the passenger in a seamless journey through the airport. The potential benefits of this are countless.

Crucially for airports, the integration of this technology should accelerate the time it takes to check-in passengers allowing for less time in queues and more time for leisure in duty-free. The automated system further enables optimisation of staff within the airport as well as providing real-time data on passenger volume and location.

The Digi Yatra app was rolled out in Bangalore International Airport and Delhi International Airport as part of the first phase. The facial recognition technology is set to be further extended to airports in Pune, Vijayawada, Kolkata, and Hyderabad by March 2023 as part of the Government of India’s wider initiative to “transform the nation into a digitally empowered society” (Delhi Aiport CEO, Videh Kumar Jaipuriar).

However, since debuting privacy experts have been split by the app with some voicing their criticisms. At time of writing, India lacks Data Protection Law causing concerns around the use of passenger data. In response, a Digi Yatra spokesperson has assured that the data is “not saved on any central storage or server […] The data is encrypted and stored in the passenger’s own smartphone in the wallet of Digi Yatra App and used only if they give their consent.” The app represents great progress towards a seamless passenger journey, but it also highlights the problems that run alongside the digital transformation of the aviation industry.

George Fanthome, CIO at Bangalore International Airport will be speaking at the World Aviation Festival on “What have recent biometric trials revealed about the future of passenger technology, digital identities, and the airport/passenger relationship?” Additionally, there will be a panel discussion on “Breaking down the roadmap to a contactless, seamless airport security process” during which themes from this article will be debated between leaders in the field.

Article written by Jess Brownlow