Digitising Aviation: Travelling in a Post-Pandemic World

The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has had a considerable impact on aviation. With international passenger demand having dropped by 75.6% since 2019, it has become imperative for the industry to explore novel avenues to ensure its survival. As discussed in our first blog, technological innovation is central to boosting operational efficiencies in a post-pandemic world, where software solutions would play an essential role. In this context, digital and data technologies are crucial to guaranteeing the recovery and long-term resilience of commercial aviation.

An imminent paradigm shift in the sector is being bolstered by the following technological trends that are set to transform aviation in the near future:

Real-Time Data

While real-time data is not entirely new to aviation, it is gaining more importance in the present day owing to how it provides accurate and relevant information in a timely manner. Customizable software applications like Electronic Flight Folder can deliver real-time data on flight briefing, weather, planning, and a variety of other aspects directly to the flight crew. An eTechlog provides up-to-date technical status information on the aircraft to both engineers and flight operations. Once data is recorded on the device, it is available to all authorized users. Such functions are instrumental in increasing operational efficiencies in aviation

Blockchain Technology:

A digital ledger of transactions taking place in a peer-to-peer network, blockchain can record sizeable amounts of data. Use cases of blockchain in aviation are wide and varied. It can aid in optimising visibility by tracking the location and status of passengers’ bags and cargo. A decentralised identity management solution can be conceived to improve passenger experience in the airport through leveraging blockchain infrastructure. Additionally, the use of smart contracts could allow the automatised application of a smart ticketing system, which would increase the levels of accuracy.From a passenger’s perspective, the above procedures could save time spent in the airport through eliminating the practice of rechecking bags in transit, the need for paper tickets, and alternate forms of identification. Hence, it promises to streamline processes significantly.

Connected Aircraft Software in the Cabin

In-flight passenger management can be enhanced substantially through the use of connected aircraft software solutions. Cockpit-based flight operations are employed for cost savings and increased efficiencies, whilst cabin-based solutions offer a whole new range of opportunities to simplify processes. For example, Passenger Relationship Management (PRM) tools can provide cabin crews with important information about customer preferences to personalise their journeys. Another useful application is the Cabin Defect Log, which allows flight attendants and crew to record any discrepancies and take appropriate actions.
In a post-pandemic world, such applications can be used by aircraft not only to increase revenues, but also to better customer experience.

Biometrics Technology

While biometric technology has proven successful in other areas and industries, the COVID-19 pandemic has catalysed its usage in aviation. Airlines and airports around the globe are implementing technology that enables passengers to check in with facial recognition and allows contactless passage through touchpoints. This can also be utilised as an effective security measure at custom checkpoints and adapted to suit each country’s distinct requirements. The lack of tactile interfaces in this arena is particularly useful in present circumstances, where sanitisation and social distancing are prime considerations in any space

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