Exploring connectivity trends in Asia-Pacific
By Katrina Korzenowski, VP, Asia-Pacific
The desire for digital innovation in aviation in Asia-Pacific (APAC) has gathered pace in recent years, and is set to move even faster in 2017.
APAC’s push for improved connectivity is certainly keeping SITAONAIR’s regional VP, Katrina Korzenowski, and her tight-knit team busy. Speaking from her base in Singapore, Katrina explores the priorities on the horizon for APAC’s air travel industry.
Q: what are the big industry talking points in APAC at the moment?
Katrina: Asia-Pacific is always a very dynamic market and is infinitely interesting. You have this proliferation of tier-one carriers, and alongside them, the rise of the low cost carriers.
We are seeing groups, such as the Singapore Airlines Group, incorporating low-cost airlines such as Scoot and Tigerair Pte Ltd with its high-end, tier-one brands, so it’s a very interesting landscape. The low cost carriers have definitely built a big identity, and it’s interesting to see how the groups are integrating.
In terms of the SITAONAIR story in APAC, our focus remains very much on nose-to-tail connectivity, and we’re seeing momentum building on the cabin connectivity side of things as well.
Q: Connectivity is opening up innovation in many different directions. What do you see preoccupying APAC in this area?
Katrina: We’re seeing a lot of airlines who are using inflight connectivity today, looking at the evolution of that service and passenger-broadband.
There is also a definite interest in driving ancillary revenues and how services such as SITAONAIR’s Internet ONAIR can help generate greater return on investment. On the cockpit side, it’s all about how to bring greater value and efficiency to airline operations, such as through our highly-intelligent EFB Weather Awareness Solution, or eWAS as well as our Electronic Flight Bag and CrewTab applications which help airlines leverage connectivity nose-to-tail.
There is a clear, continued interest in our AIRCOM® FlightTracker, and in the flight-tracking topic as a whole, with the need to meet different countries’ local regulations and requirements. For instance, Singapore mandated flight tracking ahead of the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) 15-minute mandate. As a result, there has been a really big push to achieve flight tracking by the likes of Singapore Airlines, Tigerair, and others.
We’re also seeing a move towards cloud-based infrastructure and compatible applications. There are a lot of tier-one, through to low cost, carriers looking to employ our cloud-based AIRCOM® Server solutions.
And of course, the vision of the ‘next generation’, and in particular the A350, continues to fascinate the region – and airlines such as Cathay Pacific and Thai Airways – in terms of how they will integrate inflight connectivity solutions for both cabin and cockpit with it.
There is a real appetite for progress out here, especially with regards to operational efficiency. Airlines want to unlock their connected aircraft value.
Q: What do you think is driving this hunger for progress?
Katrina: I think a major engine for progress is airlines’ expansion plans for a lot of the carriers out here. There are a lot of big aircraft deliveries due in APAC, that airlines have to rationalize as part of their growing operations.
There is also a real appetite to work with us to co-create, which adds to the mix. I think this partnership approach really appeals, particularly to those customers we already have an established relationship with, who see co-creation as an organic evolution of this.
Q: What else is on the horizon?
Katrina: What’s next for the region is support for airlines to achieve their growth plans and potential. For us, we’ll be continuing to work with our established customers to optimize the use of our services, and new applications to help them improve operational efficiency. And of course, how they achieve this nose-to-tail connectivity, and how all related technology will evolve.
That’s going to be the big question to face in the future. Whether it’s about passenger broadband, ACARS, or IP, it’s about supporting the future – and ensuring airlines can take their own path towards it by having open conversations. Saying to airlines: “These are the services we provide today, and this is the future – together, we can help you on the roadmap towards that.”
Q: What is the key to SITAONAIR’s continued success in Asia-Pacific?
Katrina: We don’t impose our way of working on our airline customers. Our approach is to listen to the customer’s business requirements, and then adapt our solutions to fit their needs – it’s never about ‘one size fits all’. Our portfolio can meet the requirements of a tier-one customer or a low cost carrier – and that flexbility continues to attract. We are here to help them create connected aircraft reality.