Airlines are constantly searching for new ways to enrich the passenger experience as this is critical for profitability. Battling the ongoing challenge of congestion coupled with intensifying demand, it is more important now than ever to cater for growth.
How can technology be used to help deliver on the customer experience when demand for air services has been estimated to triple over the next 20 years?
Australia’s domestic market has been lucrative with Qantas recording close to $1 billion in profit in FY15. Growth will be propelled further by the expansion of airports across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Leveraging strong growth with high business confidence, the challenge will be in determining how to best increase customer satisfaction in order to remain competitive. Operating in an increasingly competitive landscape, airlines will grow by harnessing technology to transform the customer experience into “a passenger experience of the future”.
The importance of quality service has been recognised by low budget carriers which are disrupting the market. Airly, a start-up launching earlier this year, has positioned themselves as a “sales and experience service”. Identifying capacity constraints in the domestic sphere, this new entrant is providing memberships for unlimited flights on one of the most congested routes, Sydney to Melbourne, to reduce downtime.
With 85% of airline CEOs intending to increase investment in customer service in the next 12 months (PwC, 2015), customer analytics and data will be important, enabling airlines to communicate personalised offerings to strengthen customer loyalty. It has been estimated that 73% of CEOs attach a high value to the role that digital technology can play in the customer relationship (PwC, 2015), employing enabling technologies and mobile connectivity to generate new customers and opportunities.
By continuing to invest heavily in technology while implementing effective cost controls, the aviation industry will maximise efficiency to help satisfy demand. Not only will technology help in reducing downtime and delays to reinforce stability, but the automation of services including mobile check-in and self-service technologies will shrink costs while accelerating services to boost customer satisfaction.
To support the above, it is important that a robust business management system is implemented. This will help streamline operations, manage risk and safety, reduce costs and enable airlines to innovate and act more proactively. Operating within a highly regulated environment, it will be essential that controls are embedded and aligned with day-to-day operations to assure compliance and passenger safety. Exceeding capacity, the sector will continue to invest in infrastructure for expansion, adopting new technologies to enhance all areas of business. Technology will help airlines manage congestion, influencing the determination of routes, strategic partnerships and pricing strategies for growth.
A connected and intuitive system hosting information to facilitate the tactical management of resources will be crucial in addressing growing expectations while combating congestion. This, in addition to effective operations and risk and safety measures for compliance - all supported by a smart and continual investment in technology - will be essential in developing a passenger experience of the future.
Clayton, E. & Hilz, A. 2015, ‘2015 Aviation Trends’, PwC, accessed 15 January 2016, <http://www.strategyand.pwc.com/perspectives/2015-aviation-trends>
Freed, J 2016, ‘Start-up Airly aims to disrupt how you fly from Sydney to Melbourne’, Sydney Morning Herald, 11 January, accessed 15 January 2016, <http://www.smh.com.au/business/aviation/startup-airly-aims-to-disrupt-how-you-fly-from-sydney-to-melbourne-20160108-gm1q38.html
2015 PwC Global Airline CEO Survey, Getting Clear Of The Clouds Will The Upward Trajectory Continue?. 18th ed. PwC, 2016. Web. 28 Jan. 2016