Digital Transformation in Aviation Industry: Connecting Airlines Operations Digitally
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Along with other industries, the aviation industry plays an important role in a nation’s economy. But, in the past few years, the aviation industry has witnessed a tremendous dip in its growth. Primarily, it was in 2020 during COVID. As per stats, the airline sector of the aviation industry was the biggest destroyer of the value of the aviation industry. Airlines recorded $168 billion in economic losses.
In response to this setback, the aviation industry has embarked on a transformative journey via digital transformation. And the firms that invested in emerging technologies delivered superior growth and enhanced efficiency.
According to Statista, spending on digital transformation technologies & services will reach 3.4 trillion U.S. dollars in 2026, up from an estimated 1.6 trillion U.S. dollars in 2022. This indicates that firms are actively investing in digital technologies to streamline their operations and provide the best customer experience.
Here in this blog, we will discuss the various aspects of digital transformation in aviation industry. So, without any further ado, let’s dive right in!
Aviation Industry and Digital Transformation!
When we talk about digital transformation, it includes everything from the IT sector. And when it comes to IT, countless technologies have proved their worth in transforming the modern-day business workflow.
In aviation, digital transformation integrates digital technologies and data-driven strategies into various aspects of operations, services, and customer experiences. The comprehensive shift of the aviation industry towards digital transformation has led to rapid evolution. Thanks to the several benefits of digital technologies, the market size of the aviation industry stands at $334 billion in 2023. However, its growth is slow till 2028 due to COVID-19.
Benefits of Airline Digital Transformation
Digital advancements in the aviation industry offer various benefits that can significantly enhance operations, improve workers’ productivity & overall efficiency. Below are some key benefits of airline digital transformation:
Safety Improvements: Digital technologies, such as AR, AI, and IoT sensors, can be used in collaboration with each other to enhance safety by predicting maintenance needs, monitoring aircraft health in real-time, and improving air traffic management.
Professional training: With the use of digital transformation technologies like AR and VR, professional training can be provided to pilots, cabin crew, and repair and maintenance personnel. With these technologies, there is no need for actual equipment, as everything happens virtually. This ensures safety and process optimization.
Improved Efficiency: Digital tools and technologies streamline many operations in aviation, reducing manual tasks and printed work instructions. As a result, employees may perform their duties faster and with less effort.
Seamless customer experience: Customers are the central element of every business. Therefore, every business focuses on that. In aviation, airline companies have started using technologies like chatbots, facial recognition, biometric bag drop-off technologies, and more to simplify processes and boost customer experience.
Faster boarding: It is always a hassle for passengers to arrive hours before the flight and then wait in queues to pass the baggage and security checks. Therefore, technologies like facial recognition, fingerprint scanning, etc., can be implemented at airports to save time and speed up the boarding process.
Faster booking and payments: Mobile apps are the best way to book flight tickets today. However, there can be some lapses. Today’s mobile apps provide live information about flights, tickets, etc. Moreover, these apps also hold an electronic version of the boarding pass and assist in payments.
Performance optimization: Aircraft may experience a dip in performance after some time. The manual analysis process can be a hassle, as you may have to remove all its parts before reaching the part with the issue. In such a scenario, technologies like digital twins can greatly help. Digital twins can create a digital version of the aircraft that can help in testing and performance optimization.
How Can the Aviation Industry Undergo Digital Transformation?
The answer to this question is simple. Every aviation brand can undergo digital transformation by employing digital technologies in its workflow, whether it is manufacturing, repair and maintenance, customer service, or whatnot. Here are some of the primary technologies that can help in digital transformation!
IoT is not a buzzword anymore. Almost every industry, even households today, uses IoT for various applications. IoT is an internet-connected device network that exchanges information between each other and the central gateway. In the aviation industry, the Internet of Things is used to know numerous aspects.
Companies can use pressure sensors, temperature sensors, vibration sensors, etc., in the aircraft to analyze its live state continuously. The data obtained can be analyzed over time to activate predictive maintenance measures. Further, this also reduces downtime.
For example, Lufthansa Technik is a solution that uses IoT tools to monitor the aircraft’s condition and suggest predictive maintenance recommendations.
Blockchain is a shared, distributed, online ledger that is used to keep a record of the information and share it securely. As information related to aviation can be sensitive, blockchain can be a turning point technology for the industry. It can be used for record-keeping, supply chain management, maintenance history tracking, and secure data.
SITA, a multinational company, produces IT services for the aviation industry giants. Its blockchain-based solution ensures the security of the passenger’s biometric information online. Therefore allowing seamless check-ins at the airports.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
AR and VR are among the technologies that are shaping the future of the aviation industry. Both of them have tremendous potential.
For example, AR can be used to make faster repairs to the aircraft. GE Aviation is a good example of this. GE Aviation replaced manual repair instructions with AR-based instructions to reduce work errors by 85%. Boeing is another example of the use of AR in the aviation industry.
Another example is L3Harris Technologies, which uses Virtual Reality for pilot training.
A digital twin is an exact real-time replica of a device, in this case, an aircraft. The technology can be used to test the aircraft and its parts for performance and optimization. As firms can know about the engine’s low performance with a digital twin (before physical testing), they can help save a lot of time and money.
An example of this is Safran Landing Systems. The firm uses digital twins in the designing and manufacturing of landing gear systems for aircraft.
The advent of 5G technology has empowered several technologies. With the fastest network speed of over 10Gbps and lowest latency of 1 millisecond, 5G helps technologies like IoT outperform. It can also provide lightning-fast speed to the passengers in the airplanes.
One of the best examples of 5G connectivity in airplanes is Delta Air Lines. Delta Airlines partnered with AT&T to provide 5G connectivity on flights, offering passengers faster and more reliable internet access. They also provided their flight attendants with an iPhone 12.
AI (air traffic control and passenger onboarding)
AI is an innovative technology that can bring digital transformation to the aviation industry pretty fast. As every device and machine produces data, AI can combine, clean, and analyze this data to devise valuable insights. With the use of weather forecasting and passenger traffic data, AI can help in controlling air traffic.
Further, AI can also assist in route optimization and predictive maintenance. An example of this is Alaska Airlines, which used the “Flyways AI Platform” to get projections and recommendations on routings and flight operations.
Further, there is Delta Air Lines that uses AI to make better operational decisions in critical weather conditions.
Biometrics are everywhere today, even on the device you are reading this. Features like facial recognition & fingerprint scanning are the most commonly used biometrics in ensuring data security. The cool thing is that the aviation industry can also use the same to streamline the passenger onboarding process.
If we talk about the examples, there are several airports across the world that have implemented biometric checks. Orlando International Airport and Miami International Airport in the US and Dubai International Airport in UAE are some of the primary examples of the same.
What are the Key Drivers of Digital Transformation in the Aviation Industry?
When it comes to the reasons behind Aviation Industry Digital Transformation, there are many. Here are the top ones!
As the use of digital technologies has increased among the giants, it has become necessary for small players to level up to survive. Therefore, the increase in competition leads to faster adoption.
Use of Technologies
Traditional ways of doing things are not going to yield profits anymore. Hence, it is high time to adopt the latest technology to get the best results. IoT, AI, blockchain, etc., are technologies that are continuously evolving and are becoming cost-effective. The best thing is that integrating these into your business will significantly enhance it.
If you are not offering better customer service than your competitor, it is obvious that you will lose customers. Therefore, providing your customers with a seamless, connected, and personalized travel experience is necessary. Right from the booking of tickets to checking in and in-flight entertainment, customer expectations should be met.
The air passenger traffic is surging very quickly post the COVID-19 pandemic. This has led airline businesses to focus on improving the quality, safety, and efficiency of air transportation. Therefore boosting the need for digital transformation technologies.
How can Plutomen Help in Digital Transformation in the Aviation Industry?
Digital transformation deals with the use of several technologies to boost customer experience. Plutomen is a brand that produces AR-backed solutions that help improve business operations. In the case of aviation businesses, Plutomen can provide you with three solutions for streamlining various processes!
Plutomen Connect is an AR remote assistance tool that allows remote workers to stay connected with remote workers and industry experts. Here’s how it can contribute to digital transformation:
Remote Assistance: With Plutomen Connect, the technician can connect with an expert in real time. This expert may then give assistance and instructions using AR annotations, assisting the on-site technician in effectively troubleshooting and resolving issues.
Knowledge Repository: With the AR remote assistance tool, workers are able to access the knowledge base repository anytime, anywhere. This can be highly beneficial for fixing complex technical issues.
Efficiency and Cost Savings: Plutomen Connect reduces the need for sending experts for on-site visits for technical support. As a result, it reduces travel costs and also minimizes unplanned downtime
Digital Work Instructions: With Plutomen Workflow, workers can access work instructions directly on their smart glasses & devices. This ensures on-site workers are equipped with clear, step-by-step instructions to perform their tasks.
Standardization & Compliance: Digitized work instructions help to standardize operations, ensuring that tasks are performed according to industry needs & regulations. This is critical for workers’ safety and quality control.
Real-time Updates: With Plutomen Workflow, you can add and manage SOPs in a systematic way to provide work instructions to your remote teams and assist them in operating on new machines with ease.
Plutomen Assist is a tool that can be used to provide immersive AR-based training to the workforce.
Hands-On Learning: Plutomen Assist provides employees with hands-on training. Through this, workers can practice complex operations in a safe environment, considerably reducing the possibility of errors.
Customized Training Modules: You can effortlessly import 3D modules of your machines as per your specific needs. These modules are highly detailed and cover a wide range of topics. You can attach media formats like videos, PDFs, and images to your training guide.
With 10+ years' experience of Hiren Kanani has helped Plutomen ensure smooth communication between the company and the client for swift project delivery with fewer iterations. He is CTO & founder at Plutomen.
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