SITA is laying out a roadmap for an air travel industry looking to recover from COVID-19. To that end, the company’s new Your Runway to Success report highlights five key areas of improvement that the industry will need to address to lure customers back and make air travel more viable moving forward.
Those five tentpoles include digitalization, automation, cloud services, and other elements of digital transformation. For example, SITA noted that COVID-19 has introduced new health screening requirements that have increased passenger processing times despite a dramatic decrease in overall passenger volume. According to IATA, the average wait time now sits at three hours even though the number of people flying is only 30 percent of what it was before the outbreak of the pandemic.
To solve that problem, SITA is encouraging air travel businesses to digitize health certificates. Those that do so will be able to automate much of the screening process (from document submission all the way through to verification), and eliminate both the health and security risks associated with more traditional paper documents.
By the same token, mobile and biometric technologies can help streamline identity procedures at the airport, and automate many of the checks that need to be completed at the border and at other stages of the travel journey. The technology also enables a touchless experience, which should make air travel safer for passengers and employees alike.
Those benefits can even carry over to the flight itself, with SITA arguing that airlines should enhance their onboard connectivity to allow passengers to use their own mobile devices to access in-flight infotainment services. Meanwhile, the use of cloud technologies will make it easier to manage large logistical networks and make network operations more efficient. In that regard, the industry should prioritize digital transformation because it will reduce costs and make air travel more sustainable.
For its part, SITA indicated that it has already modified its portfolio to meet those core objectives. The Runway details a plan for the next 18 months, in the hopes that the industry will rebound from an anticipated $47.7 billion loss in 2021.
“Investing in the right technologies now will deliver short, medium, and long term benefits for our industry,” said SITA Aircraft CEO Sébastien Fabre. “Digitalization is a necessity. For airlines, it allows them more flexibility to deal with changing demands, achieves greater operational and cost efficiencies, and ensures long-term sustainability.”
The Runway for Success report echoes many of the findings in SITA’s earlier IT Insights report, which was released in February. The company also released a new Health Protect solution to facilitate COVID-19 checks.
July 2, 2021 – by Eric Weiss