"A smooth and hassle-free journey where passengers do not have to break stride from the curb to the gate, unless they choose to, is the goal: that would deliver tremendous value to passengers." explained Transport Association’s (IATA) chief executive Tony Tyler at its 2013 World Passenger Symposium.
To make seamless travel a reality, airline and airports will have to collect, manage and share in real-time key information about the passenger journey and about their own key assets, such as planes, security checkpoint and staff. Airlines and airports face several challenges to make the fullest use of the latest intelligence inherent in their operational and passenger systems.
In its 2014 ‘Smart thinking’ report, SITA has listed the five most important challenges according to airlines and airports.
System incompatibility and data integration
The variety of the systems currently used by airports, ground handlers and airlines brings complexity to the exchange of data. System compatibility is an unavoidable step for the implementation of business intelligence initiatives.
Insufficient data standards
Due to the high number of systems in use by the different stakeholders, data is likely to come from multiple sources making it more complex to get meaningful information. Standards and good practices should be put in place to ensure the data interoperability.
Coping with or analysing data
Within airports and airlines, an important amount of data is already retrieved and collected. Nevertheless the challenge lies in the meaningfulness of the information. To be exposed to the passengers or the staff, the data should be processed, analysed and communicated in a user-friendly manner.
Willingness to share data
Although stakeholders recognize the need for collaboration, reluctance to share data freely is a fact; whether this is a across departments of the same company of with third-parties. The ambitions to improve services and operations are dependent on the ability of stakeholders to overcome this stumbling block.
Finally, SITA raises another challenge: "While airlines and airports have broadly similar ambitions to create greater visibility around the passenger journey, there are key differences in their priorities for utilizing business intelligence."
Indeed, airlines give the highest priority to sales and marketing, whereas airports put the focus on operational awareness.
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