Air transport: The digital revolution is only just beginning

Surfing the net in-flight or at an airport, ordering what we need for our travels on our smartphone or laptop - these recent innovations have become commonplace, simplifying our increasingly nomadic lives. And yet we are only at the beginning of the digital revolution in terms of air transport.

Data sharing: a powerful driver of growth

Airline companies and tour operators possess large quantities of data on their clients (in-flight entertainment preferences, favourite destinations, special offers that appeal to them, etc.). The analysis of these data, and of the Code Halo of each user, makes it possible for these companies to fine-tune their offers to meet their clients’ needs and to communicate these offers by means of different media (online, smartphone applications, etc.). Because they are the first to know who will travel, when, and to what destination, these companies stay one step ahead in terms of adaptability, which makes it possible for them to offer more appealing products and services compared to other companies in the sector, particularly airports.
But it is airports that are in possession of information that is most important to travellers: boarding gates and check-in counters, security checks to go through, possible flight delays or cancellations, and so on.
For the moment, all these actors are independently developing their strategies and tools to develop traveller loyalty. But it seems certain that they will start to cooperate soon, because sharing their data in real time will make it possible to increase profits for everyone, especially taking into account the constant increase in air traffic.
The connectivity of actors: a means of boosting efficiency
If airports were to provide real-time updates to tour companies and airlines concerning flight information, these companies would then be able, by means of their applications, to pass on this information to their travellers, who always appreciate being kept up to date on everything that could affect their trip. 
In return, airlines could make it possible for airports –and also businesses that rent space there– to improve their services by communicating the information they have on what their clients expect in terms of food and restaurants, duty-free shops, shuttles, services for disabled people, etc. Mutualising traveller data in this way would make it possible, by means of an ad hoc smartphone application, to keep travellers informed in real time, thus ensuring a smooth journey every step of the way. Everything from traffic conditions on the way to the airport, parking spots, check-in kiosks and boarding gates will be able to be communicated to travellers at just the right moment through geolocation. And once the traveller arrives at an airport 4.0, it will be possible to inform him or her of rest areas, shops that could be of interest, etc.
Thales has the tools for this real time connectivity. As the Group already provides these tools to companies and airports, it is thus in a position to build the necessary bridges that will make a new economic model a reality.