In­dian Avi­a­tion brings in more IT to Meet Rapid Pas­sen­ger Growth

In a new re­port is­sued by SITA, it is re­vealed that most air­lines and air­ports ex­pect to in­crease IT spend­ing in 2017

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In­dia is one of the fastest grow­ing avi­a­tion mar­kets in In­dia. In or­der to deal with this de­mand, it is im­por­tant for air­lines and air­ports to scale up and han­dle the grow­ing flow of pas­sen­gers in In­dia. In­for­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Tech­nol­ogy (ICT) is de­lin­eated as a cat­a­lyst in help­ing the avi­a­tion sec­tor to han­dle the grow­ing de­mand. In its an­nual ICT Avi­a­tion Fo­rum 2016 in Goa, SITA, world’s lead­ing spe­cial­ist in air trans­port com­mu­ni­ca­tions and IT, is­sued a study which re­veals that air­lines and air­ports in In­dia are ex­pected to rapidly ramp-up their spend­ing on new tech­nol­ogy over the next three years - to keep up with surg­ing growth which will see pas­sen­ger traf­fic dou­ble to 370 mil­lion by 2020. The growth will po­si­tion In­dia as the world’s third largest avi­a­tion mar­ket.

To meet this de­mand, air­lines and air­ports are in­vest­ing in tech­nol­ogy to help bridge the ca­pac­ity gap and ac­com­mo­date more pas­sen­gers. Ac­cord­ing to

SITA’s 2016 In­dia IT Trends Bench­mark study, all air­lines in In­dia ex­pect to see IT bud­gets in­crease in 2017 com­pared to 2016. This con­trasts markedly with global air­line con­fi­dence on fu­ture IT bud­gets, with just over half ex­pect­ing an in­crease while around a third will see no change in 2017. The re­main­ders glob­ally are braced for lower bud­gets.

AIR­PORTS TO DE­PLOY IT IN 2017

Air­ports in In­dia are sim­i­larly pos­i­tive about IT spend­ing with 80% of air­ports ex­pect­ing an IT bud­get in­crease in 2017 over 2016. This com­pares to 58% of air­ports glob­ally who ex­pect an in­crease next year.

Speak­ing at the fo­rum, Ma­neesh Jaikr­ishna, SITA Vice Pres­i­dent, In­dia and Subcontinent said, “Rapid growth is a pos­i­tive chal­lenge for In­dia. While many In­dian air­lines and air­ports lag the rest of the world in the use of tech­nol­ogy, there is tremen­dous op­por­tu­nity and de­sire among air trans­port ex­ec­u­tives to bring the coun­try in line with the rest of the world. This vi­tal in­vest­ment in tech­nol­ogy will en­sure that In­dia can fully cap­i­tal­ize on the growth we ex­pect to see in the next few years.”

Fore­most among the pri­or­i­ties of In­dian air­ports is han­dling the huge pas­sen­ger vol­umes ef­fi­ciently. That means self-ser­vice tech­nolo­gies are in high de­mand and the ma­jor­ity of In­dian air­ports (83%) plan ma­jor pas­sen­ger self-ser­vice pro­grams in the next three years. One area of sig­nif­i­cant growth is self-ser­vice bag-drop. With more than 80% of air­ports ex­pect­ing to put in place as­sisted self bag-drop sys­tems.

An­other key fo­cus area for both air­lines and air­ports is mo­bile. SITA’s re­search shows 98% of In­dian pas­sen­gers carry at least one mo­bile de­vice. Over the next three years, 80% of air­lines and 67% of air­ports plan ma­jor projects de­vel­op­ing mo­bile ser­vices for pas­sen­gers.

Jaikr­ishna said, “The good news is In­dian pas­sen­gers pre­fer to use tech­nol­ogy in their ev­ery­day lives. This is aligned with SITA’s global find­ings that trav­el­ers pre­fer to use tech­nol­ogy than face-to-face in­ter­ac­tions across the travel steps. As air­ports and air­line in­tro­duce new self-ser­vice op­tions – par­tic­u­larly mo­bile ser­vices – the in­dus­try can be as­sured that pas­sen­gers will use them.”

With the in­dus­try sharply fo­cused on us­ing new in­tel­li­gence and bet­ter pre­dictabil­ity to im­prove op­er­a­tional ef­fi­ciency, ev­ery air­line in In­dia plans to un­der­take work on busi­ness in­tel­li­gence ini­tia­tives and 60% have plans for projects around pre­dic­tive an­a­lyt­ics. Other emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies such as ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and cog­ni­tive com­put­ing are also go­ing to be looked at by 50% and 25% of air­lines re­spec­tively, al­beit over a slightly longer time­frame, both in­di­cat­ing a fur­ther in­crease in data vol­ume.

IoT IN IN­DIAN AVI­A­TION

In­dia still lags its global coun­ter­parts in im­ple­ment­ing emerg­ing trends such as the In­ter­net of Things (IoT). Glob­ally air­lines are bring­ing air­craft into the IoT ecosys­tem with an in­creas­ing num­ber of “con­nected air­craft” start­ing to en­ter the global fleet. Yet SITA’s sur­vey shows no air­lines in In­dia are yet op­er­at­ing con­nected air­craft. How­ever, the air­lines rec­og­nize the po­ten­tial for en­hanc­ing pas­sen­ger ser­vices and by 2019 around half will have taken de­liv­ery of some con­nected air­craft, al­though still some­what be­low the global level of 66% of air­lines.

There is also an in­ter­est from In­dia’s air trans­port sec­tor in sin­gle bio­met­ric to­kens for iden­tity man­age­ment as it has the po­ten­tial to elim­i­nate bot­tle­necks and re­duce stress for pas­sen­gers. Two third of In­dia’s air­ports say they have started tri­als or projects, of which many are ex­pected to de­velop into full scale de­ploy­ments with 86% of air­ports plan­ning a ma­jor pro­gram with this tech­nol­ogy by 2019.

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