Fo­cus on: SITA ON AIR

SITAONAIR re­cently won an APEX Award for its per­son­alised in­flight con­nec­tiv­ity project with Emi­rates. Richard Wil­liams finds out more

Onboard Hospitality - - Inside This Issue -

SITAONAIR has worked with Emi­rates to har­monise its on­board wifi hub, In­ter­net ONAIR, with the Emi­rates' loy­alty pro­gramme, Sky­wards. The re­sult is fleet-wide mem­ber ben­e­fits in­clud­ing com­pli­men­tary 20mb of data, plus a tai­lored wifi pack­age, based on mem­ber­ship tier and class of travel.

Dominique El Bez, SITAONAIR vp of strat­egy, ex­plains: “We have met a real dig­i­tal har­mon­i­sa­tion chal­lenge – in­te­grat­ing a pre-ex­ist­ing fre­quent flier pro­gramme within the In­ter­net ONAIR wifi user ex­pe­ri­ence to achieve a seam­less ex­pe­ri­ence across the air­line's var­ied satel­lite con­nec­tiv­ity sys­tems.”

It is a prob­lem many air­lines face as they use sup­pli­ers with dif­fer­ent sys­tems and stan­dards. Half have in­vested in two or more con­nec­tiv­ity ser­vice providers, and the fig­ure is 66% for non-U.S. air­lines. That di­ver­sity of plat­forms, sys­tems and ven­dors has re­sulted in in­con­sis­tent in­flight con­nec­tiv­ity ser­vices and un­der­stand­able frus­tra­tion as pas­sen­gers ques­tion why por­tals, costs and log-ins vary be­tween flights with the same car­rier.

Mul­ti­ple tech­nolo­gies make it hard for air­lines to in­te­grate and man­age their IT in­fras­truc­ture; hav­ing to duplicate ef­forts to in­te­grate into their fre­quent flier pro­grammes, or apps, for ex­am­ple. SITAONAIR's open plat­form vi­sion seeks to ad­dress this prob­lem by cre­at­ing a har­mo­nious on­board con­nec­tiv­ity ex­pe­ri­ence for both pas­sen­gers and air­lines, un­ham­pered by past, present or fu­ture tech­nol­ogy choices, or changes trig­gered by a par­tic­u­lar sup­plier's prod­uct re­fresh cy­cle.

Said El Bez: “Cur­rently a lot of at­ten­tion is be­ing given to band­width or new satel­lite op­tions. We be­lieve the next real in­no­va­tion chal­lenge is to achieve a richer, open plat­form ap­proach to in­flight con­nec­tiv­ity. Just as Google's An­droid gen­er­ated an ex­plo­sion of cross-plat­form devel­op­ments which trans­formed the mo­bile phone mar­ket, open sys­tem de­vel­op­ment will fa­cil­i­tate the next IFC rev­o­lu­tion.”

He added that IFC ser­vices should be pro­vided con­sis­tently on ev­ery fre­quency band across an open dig­i­tal ar­chi­tec­ture, en­abling air­lines to in­te­grate any dig­i­tal sys­tems and de­liver con­sis­tent, cost­ef­fec­tive con­nec­tiv­ity ser­vices across satel­lite links and tech­nol­ogy plat­forms, ir­re­spec­tive of fleet di­ver­sity and lo­ca­tion.

He said: “Some years ago you could only check-in or buy tick­ets on­line if you were fly­ing from cer­tain air­ports, desti­na­tions or routes. Now they're the norm. We en­vis­age this same har­mon­i­sa­tion across air­line fleets for IFC. The next

IFC rev­o­lu­tion is there­fore not about con­nec­tiv­ity and band­width – it is about de­liv­er­ing its prom­ises to pas­sen­gers.”

Open sys­tem de­vel­op­ment will fa­cil­i­tate the next

IFC rev­o­lu­tion

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