Last week CAPA – Centre for Aviation hosted its World Aviation Outlook Summit in Berlin. With presentations from 20 of the airline industry’s key C-suite leaders, key topics addressed at the summit included:
Changes in distribution and how the push by IATA for airlines to implement the NDC standard has encouraged the industry to adopt a retail focused approach to distribution
The digital economy – how will airlines differentiate their product offering and deliver a personalised and seamless experience for customers
Environmental sustainability - how the industry is working to safeguard the environment, from today’s new generation fuel-efficient to tomorrow’s electric aeroplanes
Hugh Aitken, Commercial Director at Skyscanner, joined other leading industry experts for a discussion around the need to speed up the transformation of the industry.
Other pannelists included:
William Owen, Founder at Made by Many
Kevin Clark, CEO at Bluebox Aviation Systems
Kristian Gjerding, CEO at CellPoint Mobile
Christian Langer, Vice President at Lufthansa Group
The discussion highlighted how airlines now operate more as digital companies rather than just transportation companies.
Other questions that arose during the panel discussion:
Outside competition – is it required to fire up internal creativity?
Are big organisations simply unable to cope with the speed of change in technology and customer behaviour?
How to identify the winning ideas?
Putting the framework in place first - deciding on an airline’s digital strategy
How global alliances are using technology to facilitate multilateral connectivity and deliver benefits to customers of member airlines
Additionally, many airlines now lean on creative technology start-ups to identify solutions for their technology, operations and customer service problems.
Hugh Aitken shared his thoughts on what airlines need to do in the continually evolving mobile travel marketplace. He said that the digitalisation of airlines would be an “absolute benefit” for travellers and the customer experience.
“We need more help from airlines to do the right thing for travellers”, he said, adding “there is a huge difference between different airlines in terms of digital capacities”.
NDC was a central theme at the summit with discussions focussing on how the adoption by airlines will continue to accelerate into next year. Finnair chief commercial officer Juha Jarvinen endorsed NDC adoption saying “NDC will distribute ancillary elements much better than the carrier can through GDS”.
50% of passengers buying on finnair.com buy ancillary items, Mr Jarvinen said, adding the carrier has improved GDS channels to sell ancillary, with one in 10 purchasing ancillaries compared with one in 100 passengers three years ago. There is still a “huge difference” compared to what can be done with NDC, Mr Jarvinen concluded.