SITAONAIR demos full potential of e-aircraft at APEX EXPO
Latest SITAONAIR innovations on booth 1023
APEX EXPO, Portland OR, 28 September 2015 – At this week’s APEX EXPO in Portland, Oregon, SITAONAIR, is demonstrating how it is helping airlines realize the full potential of the connected aircraft.
“With everything in our lives becoming digitized, there are a million and one opportunities to improve the passenger experience,” said Ian Dawkins, CEO of SITAONAIR. “We can use real-time decision-making, predictive analytics, create new programs, applications and content. We can make far better use of air space, improve turnaround times and remove passenger pain points, making the whole experience smoother.”
The e-Aircraft presents significant opportunities for airlines to streamline operations and improve efficiencies. It also presents the major challenge of what to do when confronted by terabytes of data produced during each flight. Some of it will be stored for downloading on the ground. But increasingly, the demand is for real-time interaction, for the aircraft to be connected nose-to-tail throughout the flight for both passengers and the airline.
“We need to be able to transmit data from the ground to the aircraft, and vice versa, rapidly and efficiently, making high throughput satellite networks an essential piece of the jigsaw”.
Inmarsat’s GX Aviation, with its consistent global coverage, will provide exactly the connectivity we need for the connected aircraft,” continued Dawkins. “The key question, once airlines have access to the Big Data, is how to use it.
“One of the key areas of our focus is enabling the development of apps, both for passengers and airlines. Combined with the introduction of standards and solutions offered by SITAONAIR, the use of APIs to create apps is an area of enormous potential for thousands of innovators, start-ups and small technology companies worldwide – particularly by linking into the IT ecosystem of passengers, crew and pilots. From consumer-style shopping apps for passengers to service enhancement apps for cabin staff, the only limit is the extent of developers’ imagination.”
SITAONAIR’s first API, which is being launched at the APEX EXPO, is designed to encourage Wi-Fi usage. The Inflight Wi-Fi Voucher API enables airlines, GDSs and other agents to sell Wi-Fi sessions as part of the booking process, as well as during the flight. The promotional code is then retrieved once the passenger is on the plane and they can start using the Internet.
SITAONAIR is also launching its new Wi-Fi app at APEX. Since over 80% of passengers have a smartphone, the new generation inflight Wi-Fi app is optimized specifically for use on mobiles. It can be fully customized for each airline and integrated into the airline app.
In addition, SITAONAIR is also pioneering the adoption of beacon technology to drive usage of inflight Wi-Fi. Beacons at the gate are used to push messages through the airline’s app to passengers’ phones, reminding them there is Wi-Fi on the plane and taking them directly to the page where they can buy or download a complimentary session.
For cabin crew
Another area where data can be organized into apps is customer relationship management. Cabin crew have traditionally relied on paper for passenger name lists. But digitizing all the passenger data and providing it to the cabin crew on tablets takes the passenger experience to a new level at the same time as increasing operational efficiency. A low cost carrier in the Middle East has become the latest airline to adopt SITAONAIR’s CrewTab, with iPads being deployed across its short-haul fleet in early 2016.
For flight operations
For airline operations teams, SITAONAIR has an integrated suite of dispatch applications, including AIRCOM FlightTracker and AIRCOM FlightPlanner. To date, 21 airlines around the world have already selected FlightTracker, including Air Costa, Air Asia India, Azul, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Royal Brunei and Singapore Airlines.
Flight Tracker uses existing technology to meet ICAO’s requirement for airlines to track each flight every 15 minutes. FlightPlanner is a straightforward tool to calculate the most efficient and effective flight plan for every flight. That leads to a reduced workload for dispatchers, allowing them to safely dispatch more aircraft per dispatcher. The result is cost savings and improved scalability for the airline.
For air traffic control
Demonstrating the depth and breadth of SITAONAIR’s e-Aircraft expertise, the company is also announcing its partnership with ENAV, Italy’s Air Navigation Service Provider, to jointly provide air/ground data VHF-based communication services in Italy. This enables airlines flying in Italian airspace to use SITAONAIR Aircraft Operational Communications (AOC) services through the ENAV Data Link network and Controller Pilot data Link Communication (CPDLC) services directly provided by ENAV.
More than 80% of the world’s airlines already use SITAONAIR’s AOC to connect every aspect of aircraft operations to the ground network, integrating data from the aircraft into the airline’s infrastructure.
“When we talk about the e-Aircraft, we’re not talking about the distant future: we’re talking about today,” continued Dawkins. “SITAONAIR is a key driving force behind the digitization of flying and is rapidly deploying the fully connected aircraft. What we’re doing is helping improve airlines’ operational effectiveness, enabled better decision-making and, ultimately, make air travel better.