CareCredit - Women's Health April 2024

Aviation’s Digital Transformation Aims for a Connected Future

woman at airport with ticket

The aviation industry stands on the cusp of a significant transformation, driven by the widespread adoption of digital technologies. From booking flights to managing operations and ensuring passenger safety, digitalization can touch every facet of the sector.

This shift promises to change the way airlines, airports and aviation authorities operate, offering new opportunities for efficiency, cost savings and enhanced passenger experiences.

British Airways (BA) is one example of an industry-wide push toward digital transformation. Earlier this month, the airline unveiled a new website and app as part of its ambitious 7 billion pound ($8.9 billion) transformation plan.

The plan will see the U.K.’s national flag carrier leveraging advanced technologies to enhance the customer experience, particularly through personalized digital interactions, as well as through integrating AI and machine learning to ensure timely flight departures.

“The new ba.com browser is already in BETA testing with platforms designed to offer a range of new services, including empowering customers to self-serve if they wish, taking control of and making changes to their journeys online, rather than having to call one of the airline’s customer care [centers] to alter their plans,” the carrier said in a March 5 press release.

BA is also injecting 750 million pounds ($953 million) into its IT infrastructure, with plans to migrate 700 systems and thousands of servers to the cloud by early next year.

Moreover, starting April 3, BA Executive Club Members will enjoy complimentary messaging services on the airline’s WiFi-enabled aircraft, irrespective of their cabin class. This initiative further enhances the connectivity and convenience for passengers, which, per the airline, aligns with their broader digital transformation objectives.

BA is not alone in its pursuit of digital innovation. Earlier this year, Saudia, the national flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, announced a deal with German multinational software company SAP and Google Cloud as part of its overarching digital transformation strategy.

Through the deal, Saudia will migrate key business operations to the cloud, maximizing operational efficiency, enhancing safety measures, and reducing operational and maintenance costs in the process.

According to Abdulgader Attiah, chief data and technology officer of Saudia Group, “moving our mission-critical business to the cloud is an important element in this process. With the new system in place, solutions will be upgraded automatically so we remain on the cutting edge of technology developments while storing data in a sustainable and secure way within the Kingdom.”

Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has introduced the One ID Handbook, a key component of its broader One ID initiative. With air passenger numbers projected to double by 2041, One ID aims to address the industry’s growing demands through automation, digitalization and streamlined processes.

Speaking at the Aviation Festival Asia in Singapore last month, Shu Hui Bian, regional manager for customer experience and facilitation at IATA, emphasized the key principles of One ID: “that passengers own and control their data, can opt in to advance share digital identity information, have a biometric-enabled end-to-end digital experience, that verifying parties request only the minimum data and passengers [are able] to opt out at any stage for manual processing.”

Looking ahead, the trajectory of digital transformation in aviation is set for further acceleration. As technology continues to evolve, airlines will increasingly leverage data analytics, artificial intelligence and automation to optimize operations and deliver more personalized services to passengers.

This ongoing integration of digital technologies is poised to reshape the aviation ecosystem, ushering in a new era of connectivity, efficiency and passenger-centric services.