The airline industry is growing steadily, with passenger demand increasing with every passing year. Between 2017 and 2036, passenger volumes are set to experience a compound annual growth rate of nearly five percent. As a result, airlines of all sizes must examine how they can improve their systems to accommodate large volumes of passengers while operating as efficiently as possible.
Already, the cloud is proving its worth in the airline industry by powering transformations in nearly every facet of operations. Moving further into the 21st century, more and more airlines will recognize the value that cloud computing can provide. Here is a look at some of the biggest ways the cloud is revolutionizing the airline industry:
1. It helps improve customer service.
In recent years, customers have become more demanding in their search for the best products and services. This sentiment is the same among the scores of airline passengers who take to the skies every day. Now more than ever before, airline companies are looking at the ways they can enhance the customer experience—and many of them are turning to the cloud to achieve this goal.
Airlines have begun to shift away from traditional passenger service delivery models in favor of cloud-based technologies. Using innovations in self-service devices, airlines can allow their passengers to print their own labels and boarding passes. Consoles seamlessly connect with data from the cloud regarding flight reservations and customer information, so that every passenger can quickly and securely check in for their flights. The cloud also makes all of this data readily available to airline workers, so they can access information quickly on behalf of their customers.
2. It’s more reliable.
Over the past few years, airlines have experienced a number of high-profile technical issues that have resulted in cancelled flights, unhappy clientele, and lost revenue. From Delta’s massive power outage to United’s router issues, these problems often stem from the use of older, less reliable technology—in some cases involving software from the 1990s.
The cloud allows airlines to digitally transform the IT systems that undergird their operations and implement new technologies for greater stability and reliability. Cloud platforms mitigate the risk of downtime with redundancies and multiple data backup options that improve resiliency. With these protections, airlines can focus on efficiency and avert problems with legacy systems that can cause downtime, grounded or cancelled flights, and profit loss.
3. It allows for easier use of apps.
The cloud provides airlines with a central location for all their applications and digital services, making it far easier to keep users across the system connected and aligned with one another. With cloud technology, airlines can keep their ticketing agents up-to-date with crucial information about flight statuses and reservations without needing to distribute emails to staff (or rely on other cumbersome communication methods). This is facilitated through the use of centralized cloud-based apps that update in real time to reflect the most current information. In addition, airlines that rely on the cloud for the deployment of their apps do not need to worry about obtaining licenses for all staff workstations.
4. It makes airline staff more efficient.
Cloud-based systems allow any user to connect with stored information from any device that is connected to the Internet. This cuts the ties between staff members and stationary computers and allows them to complete their most important tasks on the go—something that’s particularly important in an industry that’s all about moving people. Whether ticketing workers need to serve passengers or maintenance staff need to view work lists, these users can seamlessly access any information within seconds. Not only does this make airline teams more efficient, but it also enhances their productivity.
5. It allows airlines to overhaul outdated systems.
As previously mentioned, outdated systems have become an issue for many airlines. Though these companies typically upgrade their infrastructure once every few years, this is rarely enough of a change when relying on technology that is years, if not decades, old.
In the cases of Delta and United, their system failures came as a result of using platforms with base technology that is decades old. In a separate incident, a widely used legacy program called Altea caused chaos in 2017 when it went down, causing check-in delays at airports around the globe. Many other airlines have experienced similar issues with legacy systems and turned to the cloud as a means of modernizing their entire companies.
For example, take Ryanair, a European airline that facilitates over 2,000 flights every day. After experiencing issues with performance, the airline has decided to abandon most of its on-site data centers in favor of the cloud. In the cloud, Ryanair will be able to access such innovations as machine learning and more powerful analytics. These will allow the airline to automatically identify sharp increases in demand for flights, and anticipate schedule changes accordingly. The cloud will also power a more robust email marketing campaign for the airline.
Like organizations in countless other industries, airlines can no longer balk at the idea of replacing legacy systems with the cloud. With the promise of affordability, improvements to operational efficiency, heightened connectivity, and more, the cloud is essential to the airline industry.