Cloud Adoption Trends in Aviation

Aviation industry due to its technical nature is focusing more on passenger needs towards developing more helpful personal relationships. The common approach is by deploying apps and by adopting new IT systems and technologies. According to Avionics Magazine (March 2015), 78% of all major airports will provide customer relationship apps to deliver personalized trip information and tailor made services by 2018. This is possible by converging technologies namely cloud, mobile, analytics and big data, since smart phones are mostly used by travellers worldwide to seek travel information. In order to handle huge volumes of data and multiple devices, airlines are partnering with data centers offering cloud services to outsource their IT needs.

IT is pervading all aspects of human life such as health, retail, governance, entertainment and media, travel, education and so on. In this post we explore IT adoption trends in the aviation industry. Aviation industry is an important factor in travel and tourism sector that leads to increased economy for nations. IT systems, new technologies and services are proving the capabilities to enhance internal processes and improve passenger experience, meeting customer demands, compliance to regulations and cost reduction. Aviation sector in today’s scenario are high adopters of technology to reach passengers globally.

Cloud Adoption Trends in Aviation

In the context of India, aviation is one of the fastest growing industries where growth is accelerated by liberalization of the Indian aviation sector, which is undergoing rapid transformation due to low cost private carriers in the aviation market. According to South Asian Journal of Tourism and Heritage, private airlines in India account for more than 75% share of domestic market. The constant expansion by aviation companies needs robust IT systems, networks and technologies. IT adoption in aviation industry is likely to continue into the future, particularly in India which is an emerging economy.

Market imperatives play a vital role in IT adoption in many operational areas. The demands for low cost flying, higher customer satisfaction, reduced risks, stringent regulatory standards, etc. pose unavoidable challenges faced by many aviation companies. Airlines due to their nature of business services struggle with huge quantities of data. Aviation industry reaches customers globally by working around the clock. Therefore airlines need resiliency and responsiveness in order to keep their air operations working efficiently.

To overcome most of the operational challenges and demands IT systems and services provide the ability to redefine ways by which airlines can work efficiently and deliver operational level excellence. New technologies and IT trends such as cloud service models which can easily integrate mobile, big data analytics, sensing technologies is quite likely to offer passengers improved travel experiences with adequate choices and information to passengers even during mobility. The IT adoption trends in aviation with the advent of new technologies are provided below:

  • Reinvent aviation services: Cloud based systems offer aviation companies a choice of operating systems and a variety of technologies and tools simultaneously. Cloud services are outsourced with easy pay-per-use pricing model which is an advantage for airline companies to reduce upfront costs in purchasing and maintaining an in-house IT infrastructure and servers. Aviation companies by availing cloud service models are rest assured that maintenance and administrative costs are eliminated.
  • Faster deployment of services: Airline companies by deploying cloud services can quickly deploy applications and software to provide important information in real time to passengers as opposed to emailing information and updates to ticketing agents. Information can be made available instantly to passengers on any device having access to the airline system (for example, text messaging, etc.). This reduces complexities in information sharing with passengers. In addition to service efficiency, cloud systems are scalable where IT resources can be adjusted to handle compute and network loads fluctuating with changing business needs. For example, Flight Discovery is a mobile based service to support passengers in overcoming baggage and travel issues with airlines.
  • Improved customer engagement: The cloud enables airlines to connect and engage customers directly on mobile and social channels at very low cost. Such type of connection has the potential for building deeper relationships that benefits both the airline and customer. The airline can use customer information about his/her travel preferences to provide more customized services.
  • Productivity improvements: With cloud services, the airline employees at ground level can have flexible working arrangements. Employees can use mobile devices or tablets to receive data and information at their fingertips. Airlines by adopting and deploying beacons to provide information on tablets by which roving employees or agents can help passengers to check-in, baggage drop and boarding to minimize queue lengths at counters.

In addition to the above trends, airlines adopt business intelligence tools for predictive modeling, understanding trends and are investing in data centers to ensure their information is secured. The cloud SaaS model is currently used by 57% companies in aviation services and SaaS adoption is expected to reach 88% by 2018. Similarly IaaS adoption by aviation industry is expected to grow over 74% by 2018 from the current adoption rate of 38%, according to The Airline IT Trends Survey Report 2015. Cloud service models having the potential to efficiently handle infinite number of apps and passenger connectivity are an ideal solution for aviation operations in terms of flexibility and low costs.