IATA Transforming The Customer Experience

IATA is urging aviation stakeholders to embrace data and digital transformation to help deliver a frictionless customer experience while enhancing safety and efficiency.
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: “We must transform paper-based and legacy processes into digital ones and use data to drive decision-making in all facets of our business. Organizational silos will need to be shed to ensure a holistic focus on the entire customer experience. And we will need to do all this while continuing to ensure the highest levels of safety, security and environmental sustainability.”

He made his remarks at the recent IATA Aviation Data Symposium in Athens, de Juniac focused on three building blocks to achieving success:

  • Develop core data science capabilities and use data to drive safety and operational improvement.
  • Use modern data standards and technology to deliver a superior customer experience.
  • Establish robust data governance towards suppliers and providers.

On the first, de Juniac observed: “The statistics tell us that despite yearly fluctuations, the long-term trend is toward improving safety. Nevertheless, we must intensify our efforts to ensure the accident rate remains disconnected from the expected doubling in air traffic demand over the next 20 years. Greater use of data will be critical to these efforts.”

He pointed to IATA’s Global Aviation Data Management (GDM) program and its Turbulence Aware initiative as two examples.

And de Juniac continued: “Today we are on the cusp of a digital transformation with the New Distribution Capability (NDC) and ONE Order. These programs, based on modern standards, will liberate the industry from a century of accumulated legacies and deliver a much-needed modernization of distribution and back office processes. They will usher in a world of airline retailing that will drive value for the customer, airlines and the entire air travel value chain.”

On the second building block, IATA’s boss highlighted the One ID initiative to re-invent the passenger journey with a document-free process based on identity management and biometric recognition, observing: “This will boost efficiency from check-in to boarding—to the benefit of passengers, airports and the control authorities.”

As for the third, de Juniac pointed out: “Modern aircraft generate enormous amounts of data that can be analyzed to monitor operating efficiency and reliability. While original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) generally agree that airlines own the raw data produced by their aircraft, they have taken steps to make it difficult for airlines to utilize this data. We are engaging with the OEMs on behalf of our members on this issue.”

Additionally, often airlines do not have information about customers who do not book directly with the airline that would enable them to more easily contact these customers in the event of operational disruptions. This information resides in third-party booking systems.

Said de Juniac: “I hope we can agree that delivering a frictionless travel experience requires that the value chain be able to pro-actively manage disruptions and deliver a personalized experience to our shared customer. And that requires access to passenger information.”

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