The inflight revolution continues: We respond to SITA’s Air Transport IT Review

The next few years will continue to see connected aircraft technology expand and evolve. But what form this development will take will to a large extent be dependent on the airline industry itself, and how collaboratively different parts of the industry work together.

In SITA’s latest Air Transport IT Review blog article, SITAONAIR CEO David Lavorel shares his insight into aviation’s shifting IT landscape.

The current picture

Three-quarters of the world’s airlines expect to implement Wi-Fi services on at least some of their aircraft by the end of 2017, feeding passenger demand for connectivity products and services that meet the aspirations of millennial travelers. By 2020, an estimated 12,500 aircraft – half the entire global fleet – will be connected.

At the same time, airlines are presented with innovative revenue and passenger engagement opportunities – to personalize and enhance their digital passenger services in ways that have not been achievable until now.

Openness is key

Speaking in the recent SITA article, David Lavorel comments: “The speed and scale of airline ambitions, along with the challenges that come with achieving them, suggests that an open and common approach is the way forward and in the best interests of the industry as a whole.

“The development of software platforms/middleware is obviously important.

“In the broader Internet of Things space, a number of companies have developed connected device platforms and application-enablement platforms that have spurred growth. The airline space should not be any different.”

SITAONAIR’s six key elements

SITAONAIR creates solutions around six key elements, designed to support interoperability and integration:

  • Best-in-class products and services
  • An open-system approach to eliminate compatibility issues
  • No limit to past or future technology choices
  • Rapid installation and commissioning anywhere in the world
  • Flexible, scalable and sustainable
  • Trusted integration expertise

As passenger connectivity becomes more ubiquitous, taking an open approach to providing solutions and systems means seamless, consistent passenger experience can be achieved – irrespective of the technology choices airlines may make or have already made.

This will ultimately lead to innovation for airlines and passengers, and simplicity at application and user level.

“As OEMs open up their technology platforms,” reflects David, “we are ready to work with airlines to maximize the resulting opportunities. We believe this is what airlines want.”

Software providers also need to play an integral part in achieving IFC harmony across airline fleets, as discussed by David in his recent interview with Air Transport World at AIX Hamburg.

Ask your provider these five questions

Airlines can help drive this industry vision for change by determining just how flexible their connectivity solutions provider is.

Ask them if they are able to provide their products, applications and services to passengers:

  • Over multiple satellite links?
  • Over different onboard transmission equipment?
  • Over different satcom terminals?
  • Linking directly into our own operating systems?
  • Offering end-to-end installation of our choice of equipment and services?

Download a copy of SITAONAIR’s white paper, Open platforms: the next inflight connectivity revolution (pictured right).

To read Head of Aircraft Cabin Pierre-Yves Benain’s thought leadership piece explaining why intelligent data integration and management is also essential for aviation’s connectivity goals.

Find out more about our founding company SITA’s Air Transport IT Review.