In 2024, airports stand at the cusp of a transformative opportunity with virtual interlining, a concept that’s reshaping how global networks are built and utilized. 

Unshackled from traditional codeshare agreements with cumbersome and expensive airline partnerships, virtual interlining is a not just a good idea for airports – it should largely be seen as a value-add no-brainer in the ever-changing scope of airport travel, where passengers frequently require flight hops to small and large airports across the world and naturally expect their bags to make it through the journey with them.

Why Strategic Expansion through Connectivity is the Key to Airport Success

Unlike traditional interlining, which requires formal agreements between airlines to share flights and passengers, virtual interlining leverages digital technology to seamlessly connect flights from different carriers without the need for such agreements. 

This innovation opens the door to an array of benefits, most notably the ability to attract a broader spectrum of airlines and travelers seeking flexible and efficient travel options. That’s a good thing.

Virtual Interlining (VI) literally opens up parts of the globe that were once deemed ‘too far off the beaten track’. Airports live and die by innovation, so why should VI be treated any differently? Airports should not feel constrained by geography. The technology is here and it’s already making waves in the aviation world.

Building Global Networks: Why VI Works Better Than Traditional Alliances

The essence of virtual interlining lies in its capacity to create a global network that surpasses the limitations of existing airline alliances. 

By facilitating easier connections between airlines, airports can dramatically enhance their appeal as travel hubs. This not only increases the volume of carriers operating through the airport but also positions it as a preferred choice for international travelers. 

The broader the network, the more attractive the airport becomes, fostering an environment ripe for growth and expansion.

Partnerships for Progress

The implementation of virtual interlining is made possible through strategic partnerships with technology providers like Airsiders. 

These alliances are foundational, enabling airports to integrate sophisticated digital systems that manage the complexities of connecting passengers and their luggage across different airlines. 

Such collaboration not only simplifies operational challenges but also acts as a catalyst for digital transformation within the airport ecosystem.

How to Achieve Revenue Growth via Increased Passenger Volume

With the influx of passengers facilitated by enhanced connectivity, airports find themselves in a prime position to capitalize on ancillary revenue streams. The following should be considered by airport operators in the consideration of a virtual interlining technology:

– Leverage Ancillary Services

The key here is diversification—expanding retail, dining, and other services to cater to the unique needs of transit passengers. 

From luxury shopping experiences to gourmet dining options, the goal is to create an environment where passengers are encouraged to spend more time and money.

– Create Efficient Use of Airport Resources

Virtual interlining also promotes the efficient use of airport resources. By optimizing the scheduling and management of gates, lounges, and baggage systems, airports can handle the increased passenger flow without compromising on service quality. 

This efficiency not only reduces operational costs but also contributes significantly to the airport’s profitability.

– Embrace Automation

Automated baggage systems, biometric boarding processes, and digital navigation aids are just a few examples of how technology can streamline operations and enhance the passenger experience. 

For airports embracing virtual interlining, these innovations are not just beneficial; they are essential for managing the complexities and volumes that come with it.

– Use Data Analytics to Help Guide Strategic Decisions

In an era where data is king, airports can leverage analytics to make informed decisions about infrastructure investments and service enhancements. 

Understanding patterns in travel behavior, passenger preferences, and operational bottlenecks allows for a strategic approach to development, ensuring that airports remain agile and responsive to the needs of both airlines and travelers.

– Enhance Sustainability via Operational Efficiency

Sustainability is a critical consideration for the modern airport. Virtual interlining contributes to this goal by optimizing flight connections, thereby reducing unnecessary layovers and the associated carbon emissions.

 Beyond the air, airports are investing in sustainable infrastructure—think renewable energy sources and electric ground handling equipment—to further reduce their environmental impact.

Elevating the Passenger Experience

At the heart of virtual interlining is the promise of a seamless travel experience. By reducing the stress and uncertainty associated with transfers, airports can significantly improve passenger satisfaction. 

This is further enhanced by digital services that provide real-time information, helping passengers navigate through the airport with ease. Personalization plays a crucial role here, with tailored services and experiences designed to meet the unique needs of each traveler.

VI: A smarter direction for Airports

Virtual interlining stands as a beacon of innovation for airports, offering a pathway to increased connectivity, revenue growth, and operational efficiency. 

By embracing this model, airports can not only enhance their value proposition to airlines and passengers but also position themselves as leaders in the evolving landscape of air travel.

The 10 Main Takeaways to Keep in Mind

As this article has laid out, there are a number of important factors at play when we consider the importance and impact of VI on airport operations:

1.Build Global Networks

– VI facilitates connections across various airlines, including non-alliance members.

– VI attracts more carriers and international travelers seeking flexible routes.

2. Create Partnerships for Progress

– Essential for digital infrastructure support.

– Streamlines passenger and baggage transfers across carriers.

3. Leverage More Ancillary Services

– Diversify retail and dining to boost non-aeronautical revenue.

– Introduce services tailored to transit passenger needs.

4. Ensure Efficient Use of Airport Resources

– Optimize gates, lounges, and baggage systems.

– Enhance operational efficiency and reduce costs.

5. Innovation for Future Readiness via Automation

– Automated technologies for baggage and boarding processes.

– Essential for managing increased flow from virtual interlining.

6. Data Analytics for Strategic Decisions

– Guide infrastructure investments and service enhancements.

– Ensure adaptability and competitiveness.

7. Enhance Sustainability and Operational Efficiency with Sustainable Practices

– Promote direct connections and reduced layovers for fuel efficiency.

– Invest in green technologies and sustainable infrastructure.

8. Community and Environmental Advantages

– Support global sustainability objectives.

– Enhance the airport’s reputation among eco-conscious stakeholders.

9. Streamlining the Journey

– Virtual interlining for smoother transfers.

– Comprehensive digital services for real-time information.

10. Personalization at Every Step

– Analyze passenger data for tailored services.

– Enhance satisfaction and encourage loyalty.

Can we help?

If you want to speak to one of our experts in Virtual Interlining tech, we would be happy to show you how you can transform your airport into a global connection hub. Contact us here.

In today’s hyper-paced digital world, airports are not just transit points but (potentially) hubs of technological innovation. This article delves into how digital advancements are optimizing the airport experience, from automated check-ins to advanced security measures.

We’ll explore case studies from leading airports like Singapore Changi, Amsterdam, Dubai and Rome, highlighting how these digital solutions not only enhance passenger experience but also streamline operations. Understanding these transformations is crucial for anyone in the aviation industry aiming to stay ahead in an era where efficiency, security, and passenger satisfaction are paramount.

Challenges across the Airport Journey

The airport experience, often a blend of excitement and anxiety, presents numerous challenges for passengers.  These challenges, while varying in intensity, collectively impact the passenger experience and the ability for airports to improve revenues. Addressing each of the following stress indicators through digital innovation can significantly enhance the overall journey.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the key stress points for airport passengers:

Check-in and Baggage Drop:

  • Long queues and uncertainty about baggage rules can cause significant stress. Passengers often worry about extra fees, baggage weight limits, and the time it takes to check in.

Security Screening:

  • Security checks, while crucial for safety, can be a source of anxiety. The process can be slow, and the rules can be confusing, leading to delays and frustration.

Finding Gates and Facilities: 

  • Navigating a busy airport can be overwhelming, especially for first-time or infrequent flyers. Difficulty in finding gates, restrooms, or dining options adds to the stress.

Flight Delays and Cancellations: 

  • Uncertainty regarding flight schedules, often due to factors beyond control, can lead to anxiety and discomfort.

Boarding Process: 

  • The boarding process can be chaotic, with passengers often confused about boarding groups, priority access, and gate changes.

Digital Solutions to Airport Challenges

Digital technology offers innovative solutions to the challenges in airports:

  • Automated Check-in and Baggage Drop: Self-service kiosks and mobile check-in apps reduce waiting times and streamline the check-in process. Smart baggage solutions, like electronic tags, ensure efficient and accurate handling.
  • Advanced Security Screening: Biometric screening and advanced scanning technologies speed up security checks while maintaining high safety standards.
  • Interactive Wayfinding: Digital maps and mobile apps guide passengers through the airport, providing real-time information on gates, facilities, and walking times.
  • Real-Time Flight Information: Digital displays and mobile notifications keep passengers updated on flight changes, reducing uncertainty and stress.
  • Efficient Boarding Processes: Digital boarding solutions, such as e-boarding passes and organized boarding notifications, simplify the boarding experience.

Implementing these digital solutions can significantly reduce the stress points in the airport journey, leading to a more pleasant and efficient experience for travelers.

Enhancing Key Stages of Airport Experience

Digital innovations significantly enhance various stages of the airport experience:

  • Arrival and Check-in: Automated check-in kiosks and online check-in options offer convenience and reduce wait times. Smart baggage systems make baggage drop-off smoother and more reliable.
  • Security Screening: Biometric authentication and advanced scanning technologies streamline the security process, reducing wait times and enhancing security.
  • Navigating the Airport: Interactive digital signage and mobile apps provide real-time directions, gate information, and updates on amenities, helping passengers navigate the airport with ease.
  • Waiting and Boarding: Digital solutions in waiting areas, like real-time flight information screens and boarding alerts on mobile apps, ensure passengers are well-informed and prepared for boarding.
  • Post-Flight Services: Digital platforms can assist with post-flight needs, such as ground transportation and lost baggage tracking, improving the end-to-end journey.

By integrating these digital solutions, airports can create a seamless, stress-free experience for passengers at every stage of their journey.

Case Studies: Airports Embracing Digital Transformation

Real-World Applications of Digital Solutions in Airports

Case studies offer invaluable insights into the practical application and impact of digital solutions in airport settings. They demonstrate how innovative technologies are addressing real challenges, enhancing passenger experiences, and improving operational efficiency.

These real-world examples serve as a testament to the transformative power of digitalization in the aviation industry and provide a roadmap for future advancements.

1. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport: Enhancing Navigation and Communication

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport has taken significant strides in improving passenger experiences through digital innovation. A key development is their Passenger Experience Platform, accessible via interactive self-service kiosks and mobile devices. This platform provides crucial flight information, aids in wayfinding, and offers personal assistance, streamlining the customer support process. 

The introduction of the Self-Service Unit (SSU) in 2018 further revolutionized the passenger experience. These kiosks, combining sleek design and user-friendly software, allow travelers to access a range of services, from checking flight information to video calls with airport assistants. This initiative, central to Schiphol’s service strategy, contributed to the airport winning the Skytrax Best Digital Services Award in 2023. Schiphol’s continuous focus on digital transformation, including overhauling digital channels in collaboration with Edenspiekermann, underscores its commitment to enhancing the complete passenger journey.

For more information about Schiphol’s digital innovations, visit their official website here and here.

Key takeaways:

  • Pivot to digital wayfinding and communication
  • Collaborative digital strategy
  • Future-focused digital initiatives

2. Dubai International Airport: Advancing Security with Smart Technology

Dubai International Airport, renowned for its high volume of international travel, has implemented advanced security measures to ensure both travel and health safety. The airport introduced iris scanning as a key security feature. This AI-powered technology facilitates rapid, contactless identity verification, ideal in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The introduction of Smiths Detection’s HI-SCAN 6040 CTiX checkpoint scanner further underscores Dubai’s commitment to enhanced security. This state-of-the-art scanner, which speeds up the security check process by eliminating the need to remove electronics and liquids from hand luggage, is an example of how the airport is integrating advanced technology to streamline operations and improve passenger experiences.

Dubai International Airport’s focus on smart technology, including the integration of data with Emirates and the Dubai immigration office, is a testament to its goal of becoming a world leader in airport security and efficiency.

For a deeper look into Dubai International Airport’s security technologies, you can explore further on IoT Tech Trends here and Times Aerospace here.

Key takeaways:

  • Advanced security technologies
  • Smarter security management
  • Technological leadership and vision from management

3. Singapore Changi Airport: Pioneering Digital Wayfinding for Enhanced Passenger Experiences

Singapore Changi Airport’s digital transformation exemplifies how technology can enhance airport operations and the passenger experience. A key initiative in this transformation is the DIVA (Digital, Innovation, Ventures & Analytics) program. This program has been instrumental in developing innovative digital solutions like the Safe Travel Concierge app, which provides a one-stop portal for passengers’ travel needs, and the ChangiQ app, a queue management platform.

Additionally, Where2Clean, an app leveraging IoT and real-time data, helps in efficiently managing cleaning operations. These innovations contributed to Changi winning the IDC’s 2021 Future Enterprise Awards for Digital Resiliency. To learn more about Changi Airport’s DIVA initiative and its impact, you can read more about it on Changi Airport’s official page.

Furthermore, Changi Airport’s Terminal 2 showcases state-of-the-art digital installations, including The Wonderfall, a four-story digital waterfall, and The Dreamscape, an immersive garden under a dynamic digital sky. These features not only beautify the airport but also create interactive and engaging environments for passengers.

These case studies from Changi Airport demonstrate the impactful role of digital technology in enhancing airport operations and passenger experiences.

Key Takeaways:

  • Digital innovation roadmap
  • Important operational impact
  • Strong digital future outlook

4. Rome Airport’s Wayfinding Transformation: Navigating the Future with Airsiders

Rome Airport’s collaboration with Airsiders exemplifies how digital wayfinding solutions are revolutionizing the post-booking airport experience. This partnership, highlighted in our eBook (download on the link to learn more), showcases the strategic importance of enhancing passenger navigation for modern airports.

The Impact of Digital Wayfinding Solutions

  • Enhanced Passenger Experience: Airsiders’ technology at Rome Airport created a more intuitive journey, reducing stress and confusion. This aligns with the broader aviation industry’s goal of creating a digitally-coordinated environment for a seamless travel experience.
  • Operational Efficiency: The implementation of digital wayfinding not only improved the passenger experience but also boosted the airport’s operational efficiency. It effectively reduced congestion and optimized the use of facilities.
  • Valuable Data Insights: The real-time data on passenger flow gathered through this technology enabled better resource management. This insight allows for more informed decisions regarding staffing, security, and overall airport management.

The Rome Airport case study is a prime example of how digital solutions like wayfinding technologies can address immediate passenger challenges while offering long-term operational and commercial benefits. It’s a testament to the potential of strategic partnerships in the aviation industry to drive digitalization and enhance both the passenger experience and airport operations.

For more detailed insights into this case study, you can refer to the eBook. This example underlines the industry’s shift towards integrating digital solutions to create more efficient, enjoyable, and streamlined travel experiences.

Key takeaways:

  • Enhancing passenger navigation
  • Increased operational efficiency and advanced data insights
  • Long-term benefits for airport and passengers

Future of Airports: Digital Innovations on the Horizon

The future of airports lies in continuous digital innovation. Here are some of the more likely technologies to have profound change on airports over the next 5 – 10 years.

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning: AI will further personalize the passenger experience, predicting individual needs and offering tailored recommendations.
  • Augmented Reality (AR) for Navigation: AR technology could provide interactive, 3D navigational aids within airport apps, making wayfinding even more intuitive.
  • Advanced Biometrics: Enhanced biometric systems will enable even smoother and faster processing at various stages, from check-in to boarding.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) Integration: IoT can streamline operations, from baggage handling to environmental monitoring, ensuring a more efficient airport ecosystem.
  • Sustainable and Smart Infrastructure: Emphasis on sustainability will drive airports to adopt smart, eco-friendly technologies.

These innovations promise to make the airport experience more efficient, enjoyable, and sustainable for passengers.

Importantly, digital transformation in airports is more than just a trend – it’s reshaping how we travel. With the rollout of automated systems, biometric security, and real-time digital updates, today’s airports are turning these high-tech solutions into essential tools. These innovations are key to making airport experiences smoother and more enjoyable for everyone.

Looking forward, AI, AR, and IoT integration point towards a future where airport operations are more efficient, passenger-friendly, and sustainable. As airports continue to evolve, these digital advancements will play a pivotal role in reshaping the journey from booking to boarding, ensuring a smoother, more enjoyable travel experience for all.

Want to know more? We Empower Airports through Digital Innovation

Airsiders is dedicated to reshaping the future of air travel by integrating advanced digital solutions into the heart of airport operations. Our expertise lies in developing intuitive systems that enhance passenger experiences and streamline airport efficiency. By seamlessly connecting airlines, hubs, and travel services, we provide passengers with the tools they need for a smoother journey.

Based in Berlin, Europe’s tech hub, Airsiders brings a unique blend of innovation and practicality to the aviation industry. Our solutions are designed to transform the way airports and airlines interact with their passengers, fostering an environment of connectivity, efficiency, and satisfaction.

If you’re looking to elevate your airport’s passenger experience, please reach out to one of our team members. We’re here to discuss how we can enhance your airport’s digital footprint and transform the travel experience for passengers around the globe.

The aviation sector is undergoing a technological renaissance, with the post-booking phase becoming a pivotal period for enhancing passenger experiences and driving business growth.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into:

  • Technological Synergy: The intersection of digital innovation and the aviation industry is crafting new avenues for improving the passenger journey.
  • Strategic Collaboration: Airports and airlines have a unique opportunity to collaborate post-booking to optimize efficiency and elevate the customer experience.
  • Revenue Generation: The post-booking phase is ripe with potential for ancillary revenue through tailored services and offers.
  • Passenger Satisfaction: A seamless post-booking experience is key to achieving higher levels of passenger satisfaction and loyalty.

We will also explore strategies that enable airports and airlines to:

  • Leverage Data Effectively: By sharing and utilizing data, airports and airlines can create a more personalized and stress-free experience for passengers.
  • Integrate Digital Platforms: Unifying digital services offers a cohesive journey for travelers, simplifying processes like wayfinding and boarding.
  • Adapt to Changing Expectations: As passenger needs evolve, so must the services provided by the aviation industry. We will examine how leading companies are staying ahead of the curve.

Drawing from insights within the Airsiders eBook and the latest industry trends, this article will serve as an additional guide for airline and airport management looking to capitalize on these post-booking opportunities.

1. The Challenges

Navigating the complexities of the post-booking phase, airports and airlines confront various challenges that, if addressed, could significantly elevate the passenger experience.

In 2022, ACI World and SITA’s Airport IT Insights Survey highlighted the acceleration of digitalization in airport operations due to the rapid recovery of air travel.

This includes significant investments in self-service technologies and biometrics, emphasizing the urgent need for airports to adopt smart technologies to enhance the passenger experience and address workforce challenges​​.

Fragmented Digital Engagement

In a digital-based economy, the need for comprehensive engagement is paramount. However, airports and airlines often miss the mark because of:

  • Underutilized Airport Apps: Airsiders’ research underscores a striking underuse of airport-specific applications. This represents a missed opportunity for direct engagement and service personalization.
  • Overlapping Communications: Passengers are frequently overwhelmed by disjointed messages from multiple travel stakeholders, leading to confusion and a fragmented journey experience.

Data Utilization and Integration

Data is the lifeblood of modern digital strategies, yet its potential remains largely untapped in the aviation sector:

  • Data Silos: A siloed approach to data handling stifles the ability to offer a cohesive travel narrative, causing frustration and inefficiencies.
  • Proactive vs. Reactive Engagement: The industry often lags, reacting to situations instead of using predictive analytics to preempt passenger needs and preferences.

Operational Cohesion

The harmonization of operational practices between airlines and airports is essential, yet challenging:

  • Divergent Priorities: Airlines prioritize the in-flight experience, while airports focus on ground operations. This lack of synergy leads to a disjointed passenger experience.
  • Service Delivery Variability: Inconsistencies in service standards between different airlines and airports can create a confusing and sometimes negative perception among passengers.

To tackle these challenges, a paradigm shift is needed—embracing digital transformation and fostering cross-sector collaboration are not just innovative strategies, they’re imperatives for survival and growth in the aviation industry.

2. Passenger Journey: The Post-Booking Opportunity

From the moment a passenger books a flight, a window opens for airports and airlines to engage and add value to the travel experience.

With the push towards digitalization, more airports are prioritizing self-service initiatives, with 86% planning to implement self-check-in and self-bag-drop by 2025 (according to SITA’s Air Transport IT Insights 2022 report) . The adoption of a single biometric token across all touchpoints exemplifies the industry’s commitment to a seamless travel experience.

Recent trends show a surge in airports implementing self-service and biometric systems. For instance, Emirates has introduced a biometric path at Dubai International Airport, allowing passengers to navigate through various checkpoints using facial and iris recognition, demonstrating an innovative approach to post-booking passenger processing.

Likewise, Korean Air is integrating machine learning to forecast passenger and cargo demand, improving customer service and operational decision-making. Similarly, Narita International Airport is incorporating AI and robotics to enhance business efficiency and analyze customer feedback for improved satisfaction.

Tailoring the Travel Narrative

Effective communication during the post-booking phase can significantly enhance passenger satisfaction:

Customized Itineraries: Through intelligent use of data, airports and airlines can craft personalized itineraries, aiding passengers with tailored information, from wayfinding to boarding.

Real-Time Updates: Dynamic communication mechanisms that deliver real-time updates about flights, terminal changes, and boarding details reduce anxiety and build trust.

Unlocking Commercial Potential

The period after booking is ripe for commercial engagement, offering a suite of opportunities for revenue generation:

Personalized Offers: By analyzing passenger data, airports and airlines can present curated offers, from duty-free shopping deals to premium lounge access, directly aligning with individual preferences.

Loyalty Incentives: Innovative loyalty schemes can be introduced or upsold during this phase, fostering long-term customer relationships and repeat business.

Alleviating Travel Stress

Minimizing stress is key to improving the travel experience, and technology plays a central role.

  • Digital Wayfinding Solutions: Platforms like those developed by Airsiders can revolutionize airport navigation, leading to a more relaxed and confident passenger.
  • Streamlined Processes: By leveraging technology for expedited check-ins and security procedures, passengers can enjoy a smoother and more efficient airport experience.

By optimizing these post-booking touchpoints, the aviation industry can not only drive incremental revenue but also solidify passenger loyalty through superior service delivery.

3. Wayfinding Case Study: Rome Airport

When it comes to enhancing the post-booking experience, practical examples offer the best insights. Rome Airport’s partnership with Airsiders is a prime illustration of how digital wayfinding solutions can be transformative.

Transforming Passenger Navigation

Transforming passenger navigation is not only a matter of convenience but also a strategic imperative for modern airports. It directly impacts the efficiency of airport operations and the quality of the passenger experience.

Airsider’s Rome Airport wayfinding case study is a testament to this (and featured in our eBook – which you can download here), where the implementation of Airsiders’ technology resulted in a more intuitive and stress-free journey for travelers.

The integration of Airsiders’ wayfinding technology at Rome Airport highlights the pivotal role of digital navigation solutions in revolutionizing the airport experience. Airsiders’ initiative is emblematic of the industry’s drive towards digitalization, providing a seamless, stress-free navigation that enhances passenger satisfaction and streamlines airport throughput. This strategic move aligns with the aviation industry’s broader vision of a digitally-coordinated environment, where every aspect of the passenger journey is interconnected, leading to more efficient and enjoyable travel experiences.

Operational Benefits

  • Increased Efficiency: The streamlined flow of passengers through the airport not only improved the customer experience but also enhanced operational efficiency, reducing congestion and optimizing the use of airport facilities.
  • Data Insights: Real-time data on passenger flow allowed for better resource management, from staffing to security, aligning airport operations with actual demand.

The case of Rome Airport demonstrates that strategic partnerships focused on digital solutions not only can solve immediate passenger challenges but also bring long-term operational and commercial benefits.

4. Industry Collaboration to Address Post-Booking Challenges

Cloud services are increasingly central to airport operations, offering scalability for managing passenger volumes and enabling new services. This technological shift is essential for collaborative efforts between airlines and airports to streamline operations and enhance the passenger experience.

Real life examples are becoming more transparent. Airlines are constantly looking to try new ideas to unlock better passenger satisfaction metrics. For example, Qatar Airways and Bangalore International Airport are pioneering the use of the metaverse to offer virtual experiences of airport facilities and onboard environments, setting a new benchmark for immersive customer engagement​

The key to unlocking the full potential of the post-booking phase lies in collaboration. By sharing goals and data, airports and airlines can craft a unified experience for passengers.

Data Sharing and Proactive Engagement

  • Unified Passenger Profiles: A combined effort to create comprehensive passenger profiles allows for a more personalized journey, with each interaction informed by a deep understanding of individual preferences and history.
  • Proactive Information Sharing: By proactively disseminating vital information such as flight delays or gate changes, passengers can adjust their plans accordingly, leading to a more controlled and stress-free experience.

Integrated Ancillary Services

  • Unified Digital Platforms: A joint digital platform can offer services ranging from in-flight amenities to airport transfers, creating a seamless experience and driving additional revenue streams.
  • Cross-Promotion of Services: Airlines can promote airport services, such as lounge access or fast-track security, to their passengers, while airports can direct travelers to airline-specific offers.

The collaboration between airports and airlines extends beyond mere data exchange; it’s about creating a symbiotic ecosystem that thrives on shared success.

5. Airport Innovators and Leading Carriers

To remain competitive, airports and airlines are increasingly adopting innovative approaches to digital engagement.

One airline that has embraced hyper personalisation of the passenger experience is Delta Air Lines. Their Delta Sync program exemplifies end-to-end personalization, offering SkyMiles members personalized inflight entertainment, dining options, and brand partnerships for a more rewarding travel experience.

Leading by Example

  • Innovative Airport Apps: Some airports have developed cutting-edge apps that provide everything from indoor navigation to retail offers, setting a new standard in passenger engagement.
  • Top Airline Apps: The most successful airline apps offer streamlined booking, check-in, and real-time notifications, becoming an indispensable travel companion.

Digital Pioneers in the Aviation Industry

  • Personalization at Scale: Airports and airlines that personalize the travel experience see increased passenger satisfaction and spend per traveler.
  • Integrated Customer Journey: By viewing the passenger journey holistically, from home to final destination, industry leaders can identify new opportunities for engagement and service provision.

The aviation industry’s digital pioneers are charting a course for the future, where the passenger experience is enhanced at every stage, and collaboration is the engine driving innovation.

The aviation industry is a dynamic, ever-evolving sphere, constantly adapting to meet the demands of an increasingly global and interconnected world. As we move towards 2024, the industry is gearing up for significant transformations that will redefine how we travel, conduct business, and connect with one another. These shifts are powered by advancements in technology, changing geopolitical landscapes, and a renewed emphasis on sustainability.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the ten biggest trends set to reshape the aviation industry in 2024. We’ll explore the rise of sustainable aviation fuels, the impact of geopolitical disruptions, the shift from air to rail, the potential global recession, and the role of artificial intelligence. We’ll also delve into advanced air traffic management, the burgeoning Asian market, personalized passenger experiences, health and safety measures in the post-Covid era, and the exciting prospects of drone delivery and urban air mobility.

As we navigate these trends, our focus will be on how the industry can transform challenges into opportunities. We’ll highlight the strategies that airlines and airports can adopt to stay ahead of the curve, delivering superior services to their customers while also driving growth and sustainability. 

This comprehensive analysis will offer valuable insights for anyone associated with the aviation industry and those keen on understanding its future trajectory. 

1. Sustainable Airline Fuels (SAF) and Bio-Fuels 

SAFs have the potential to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of aviation. They are produced from sustainable resources such as waste oils and agricultural residues, offering a viable and environmentally friendly alternative to conventional jet fuels. 

Airlines and airports must work together to develop the necessary infrastructure and logistics to accommodate this transition, ensuring that the switch to SAFs is both sustainable and economically viable.

The move to SAFs will also require regulatory support and incentives. Governments and aviation authorities can play a key role in facilitating this transition by providing policy frameworks and financial incentives that encourage the use of these fuels. For airlines, the switch to SAFs can offer significant benefits such as improved public image, potential cost savings in the long term, and alignment with global environmental goals.

Moreover, the use of SAFs can help airlines attract eco-conscious customers, who are increasingly considering the environmental impact of their travel choices. By offering greener travel options, airlines can differentiate themselves in a competitive market and enhance their customer appeal.

The Push Towards SAFs: Key issues

  • Transition to SAFs to reduce CO2 emissions
  • Development of infrastructure and logistics to support SAF usage
  • Regulatory support for SAF adoption

Challenges and Possible Solutions

  • High cost and limited availability of SAFs: Investment in SAF production and supply chain could reduce costs and increase availability.
  • Regulatory barriers: Collaboration between airlines, governments, and regulatory bodies to develop supportive policies.
alt fuels eco fuels airlines

2. Geopolitical Disruption 

In an increasingly interconnected world, geopolitical disruptions can have far-reaching effects on the aviation industry. From conflicts to economic sanctions, these disruptions can lead to sudden changes in oil prices, affecting the cost of jet fuel and ultimately the pricing of fares. Airlines need to develop robust strategies to manage these risks, including hedging fuel costs and dynamically adjusting routes and schedules based on evolving geopolitical situations.

Virtual interlining offers a promising solution to these challenges. By enabling airlines to provide seamless travel across multiple carriers, virtual interlining can help airlines adapt to sudden changes in routes due to geopolitical disruptions. This flexibility not only ensures service continuity but also enhances customer satisfaction by minimizing disruptions to their travel plans.

Moreover, airlines can leverage advanced data analytics and AI to predict and respond to geopolitical disruptions. By analyzing historical data and current geopolitical trends, these technologies can help airlines forecast potential disruptions and develop proactive strategies to mitigate their impact.

Navigating Geopolitical Challenges: Key Issues

  • Development of strategies to manage risks associated with geopolitical disruptions
  • Adoption of virtual interlining to maintain service continuity

Challenges and Possible Solutions

  • Sudden changes in oil prices and flight routes: Leveraging data analytics and AI for predictive modeling and proactive decision-making.

3. The Shift from Air to Rail in the EU

The trend towards rail travel in Europe is driven by both environmental concerns and government policy. Rail travel generates significantly less CO2 emissions than air travel, making it a more sustainable option for short to medium distance travel. In response, many European governments (with France leading the charge on this issue) are encouraging this shift by investing in high-speed rail networks and implementing policies that discourage short-haul flights.

While this trend presents a challenge for airlines, it also offers opportunities. Airlines can partner with rail companies to offer seamless multi-modal travel experiences, combining the speed of air travel for long distances with the environmental benefits of rail travel for shorter segments. This can enhance customer convenience while also reducing the environmental impact of travel.

In addition, airlines can leverage their expertise in logistics and customer service to diversify into the rail sector. By offering high-quality rail services, airlines can not only retain their customer base but also attract new customers who prefer more sustainable travel options.

Embracing Multi-modal Travel: Key Issues

  • Partnering with rail companies to offer seamless multi-modal travel experiences
  • Leveraging airline expertise to diversify into rail sector

Challenges and Possible Solutions:

  • Reduced demand for short-haul flights: Development of hybrid models combining air and rail travel for optimal efficiency and sustainability.

4. Economic Headwinds

The potential for a global recession presents significant challenges for the aviation industry. Reduced consumer spending can lead to a decrease in passenger movements, impacting airline revenues. In response, airlines need to develop flexible business models that can adapt to changing economic conditions. This includes offering more affordable travel options, optimizing routes based on demand, and finding ways to reduce operational costs.

In uncertain economic times, customer loyalty becomes even more important. Airlines need to focus on enhancing the customer experience, from booking to arrival, to ensure customer retention. This includes offering flexible booking options, providing exceptional customer service, and leveraging technology to streamline the travel process.

Moreover, airlines can explore new revenue streams to mitigate the impact of reduced passenger movements. This includes ancillary services such as in-flight entertainment and connectivity, premium seating options, and personalized services. By diversifying their revenue streams, airlines can better weather economic downturns and ensure long-term sustainability.

Adapting to Economic Uncertainties: Key Issues

  • Development of flexible business models to adapt to changing economic conditions
  • Focus on enhancing customer experience to ensure customer retention

Challenges and Possible Solutions

  • Decrease in passenger movements and airline revenues: Diversification of revenue streams through ancillary services and partnerships.

5. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation

AI and automation are transforming the aviation industry, offering numerous benefits including operational efficiency, cost savings, and improved customer experience. In aircraft maintenance, predictive analytics can help identify potential issues before they become major problems, reducing downtime and maintenance costs. In baggage handling, automation can speed up processing times and reduce the risk of lost or delayed baggage. 

In customer service, AI can provide personalized experiences based on customer preferences and behaviors. This could include personalized marketing offers, tailored in-flight services, and dynamic pricing. By providing a more personalized service, airlines can enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty, driving increased revenues.

Moreover, AI can help airlines optimize their operations and decision-making. From dynamic route planning to demand forecasting, AI can provide valuable insights that enable airlines to operate more efficiently and effectively. As the technology continues to evolve, the possibilities for AI in aviation are virtually limitless.

Leveraging AI for Operational Efficiency: Key Issues:

  • Use of predictive analytics for aircraft maintenance
  • Automation of baggage handling processes

Challenges and Possible Solutions

  • High upfront investment in AI technology: Exploration of partnership models or phased implementation to manage costs.
  • Privacy concerns: Adoption of robust data governance practices to ensure privacy compliance and build customer trust.
Ai artificial intelligence

6. Advanced Air Traffic Management 

Advancements in air traffic management technologies are set to transform airspace systems, increasing efficiency, reducing delays, and enhancing safety. AI-powered aircraft routing can optimize flight paths, reducing fuel consumption and minimizing flight times. Dynamic airspace configurations, enabled by real-time data analysis, can adapt to changing traffic conditions, ensuring efficient use of airspace. And enhanced ground operations, leveraging automation and data analytics, can streamline airport processes, reducing turnaround times and improving passenger experience.

For airlines, these advancements can improve operational efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance service reliability. By reducing delays, airlines can ensure more on-time arrivals, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Furthermore, efficient air traffic management can enable more flights without requiring additional infrastructure, supporting growth without significant capital investment.

For airports, advanced air traffic management can enhance capacity and throughput, enabling them to handle more flights without compromising safety or efficiency. This can attract more airlines to the airport, driving revenue growth. 

Moreover, by reducing ground delays, airports can improve the passenger experience, enhancing their reputation and competitiveness.

Transforming Airspace Systems: Key Issues

  • AI-powered aircraft routing for optimal flight paths
  • Dynamic airspace configurations for efficient use of airspace

Challenges and Possible Solutions

  • High cost and complexity of implementing advanced technologies: Phased implementation and leveraging of partnerships to share costs and expertise.

7. Rise of the Asian Market 

Asia’s growing middle class, with its increasing disposable income and appetite for travel, presents a significant opportunity for airlines and airports. Countries like China and India are seeing a surge in air travel demand, driven by economic growth and urbanization. To tap into this growing market, airlines need to understand the unique needs and preferences of Asian travelers and tailor their offerings accordingly.

However, the Asian market also presents challenges, including intense competition, regulatory hurdles, and infrastructure constraints. Success in this market requires a deep understanding of local cultures, business practices, and regulatory environments. Airlines need to build strong local partnerships and invest in market research to navigate these challenges and seize the opportunities.

Moreover, the rise of the Asian market is reshaping global aviation networks. Traditional hub airports in Europe and North America are facing competition from emerging hubs in Asia. To stay competitive, these traditional hubs need to adapt their strategies, focusing on service excellence, connectivity, and efficiency.

Tapping into the Asian Market: Key Issues

  • Understanding the unique needs and preferences of Asian travelers
  • Building local partnerships to navigate market challenges

Challenges and Possible Solutions

  • Intense competition and regulatory hurdles: Deep market research and local partnerships to understand and navigate the market effectively.
  • Virtual interlining technologies can enable smaller, regional airports to become more agile and offer additional connections and travel locations for passengers in expanding regions.

8. Personalized Passenger Experience 

Personalization is becoming a key differentiator in the aviation industry. Thanks to advances in data analytics and AI, airlines can now understand their customers better than ever before. They can use this insight to provide personalized services and offers, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

For instance, airlines can tailor their marketing messages based on individual customer preferences and behaviors, increasing the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. They can also personalize inflight services, such as meal choices, entertainment options, and seating preferences, enhancing the travel experience.

However, personalization also raises privacy concerns. Airlines need to ensure that they handle customer data responsibly and transparently, complying with data protection regulations and respecting customer privacy. By doing so, they can build trust with their customers, which is crucial to the success of their personalization efforts.

Enhancing Customer Experience through Personalization: Key Issues

  • Tailoring marketing messages and services based on customer preferences
  • Leveraging data analytics to enhance personalization

Challenges and Possible Solutions

  • Privacy concerns: Ensuring responsible and transparent handling of customer data to build trust and comply with regulations.

9. Health and Safety Measures Post-Covid

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought health and safety to the forefront of the aviation industry. Enhanced cleaning protocols, social distancing measures, and contactless technologies have become the norm, and are likely to remain so in the foreseeable future.

These measures not only protect passengers and staff, but also help to rebuild customer confidence in air travel. Airlines that prioritize health and safety can differentiate themselves from competitors and attract health-conscious travelers.

However, implementing these measures can also pose challenges, including increased operational complexity and costs. Airlines need to find ways to efficiently implement these measures without compromising operational efficiency or customer experience. This could involve leveraging technology, such as AI and automation, to streamline health and safety procedures.

Prioritizing Health and Safety: Key Issues

  • Implementing enhanced cleaning protocols, social distancing measures, and contactless technologies
  • Rebuilding customer confidence in air travel

Challenges and Possible Solutions

  • Increased operational complexity and costs: Leveraging technology to streamline health and safety procedures and manage costs.

10. Drone Delivery and Urban Air Mobility 

Drone delivery and urban air mobility are set to transform the aviation industry. Drones offer a fast and cost-effective way to deliver goods, particularly in urban areas with heavy traffic. For airlines and airports, this presents an opportunity to diversify their services and create new revenue streams.

Urban air mobility, which involves the use of small aircraft for short-distance travel in urban areas, could also become a reality in the near future. This could transform the way people travel, offering a fast and convenient alternative to traditional ground transportation.

However, these trends also present challenges, including regulatory hurdles, safety concerns, and public acceptance. Airlines and airports need to work with regulators, technology providers, and the public to address these challenges and make drone delivery and urban air mobility a reality.

Transforming Aviation with Drones and Urban Air Mobility

  • Exploring drone delivery as a new service offering
  • Preparing for the emergence of urban air mobility

Challenges and Possible Solutions

  • Regulatory hurdles and safety concerns: Collaborating with regulators, technology providers, and the public to address safety and regulatory challenges.

Introduction: The Power and Potential of Regional Airports

Regional airports, often overshadowed by their larger counterparts, serve as vital connections for many Europeans. These hubs are essential for residents in peripheral areas, fostering economic growth and providing pivotal links for businesses and families alike.

However, they’re not without challenges. The growth of these airports has been stymied, largely due to the operational limitations posed by carrier restrictions. This is where the power of virtual interlining enters the fray.

The State of European Regional Airports

While regional airports cater primarily to low-cost or regional carriers operating seasonal routes to leisure destinations. When it comes to low cost carriers, their main limitation is the absence of interline agreements. This absence can sometimes create a ripple effect across other airline operations at regional airports and compounds the need for virtual interlining.

Limited Direct Connectivity

For destinations not served by these airports, passengers must often resort to ground transportation to larger hub airports, resulting in longer, more convoluted travel itineraries.

Inconvenient Scheduling: The infrequency of some routes means travelers often cannot find roundtrip options on their preferred dates, pushing them towards larger hubs.

These challenges invariably affect profitability and the broader growth trajectory for regional airports.

Decoding Virtual Interlining

Once an obscure industry term, virtual interlining is now gaining traction. Here’s a simple breakdown:

What is it? OTAs, over the past decade, have popularized the concept of combining flights from carriers without interline agreements, offering passengers cohesive transfer or roundtrip itineraries.

The Benefit? This strategy can significantly enhance the connectivity of regional airports, offering passengers increased flexibility ” with one -stop to reach the world” from your home airport, in turn, augmenting airport growth.

Photo by Andrik Langfield

Strategizing Virtual Interlining: The Extended 4Ps Approach

1. Product

We delve deeper into the benefits and list a few ways how airports can optimize their approach to virtual interlining:

Roundtrips: Beyond offering additional services like fast-track or lounge access, regional airports can consider partnerships with nearby hotels or tourist attractions, creating bundled deals that enhance traveler experience.

Mix & Match: Existing carriers can adopt an mix and match approach to their routes via single leg virtual interlining for example.

Transfers: Beyond the through-check of luggage between non-interlined carriers, consider initiatives like dedicated transfer desks or express security checks for passengers with tight connections.

2. Price

Exploring pricing dynamics:

Carriers: Establish a tiered incentive system where carriers that achieve certain virtual interlining booking thresholds receive progressively higher discounts on aviation fees.

Passengers: Create a loyalty program offering discounts or rewards for passengers who frequently book virtual interlining flights via specific OTAs.

3. Place

Broaden the distribution channels:

Local Travel Agencies: Organize workshops and training programs, ensuring travel agents are well-versed in the benefits and processes of virtual interlining.

Airport Websites: Integrate interactive tools and widgets that educate travelers on the benefits of virtual interlining, enhancing their booking experience.

Airline Websites: Explore collaborations where airlines’ marketing materials highlight the benefits of virtual interlining, leading to informed decisions by passengers.

4. Promotion

Direct Marketing: Use targeted email campaigns, leveraging analytics to tailor promotions to frequent travelers or those previously interested in destinations not directly served by the regional airport.

Reinforce promotion strategies:

Local Influencers: Identify and partner with micro-influencers who have a niche, engaged audience that matches the airport’s target demographic.

Traditional Methods: Organize community engagement events or roadshows, creating a direct dialogue with potential travelers.

The Bigger Picture: Virtual Interlining’s Long-term Impact

Virtual interlining doesn’t merely present an immediate solution; it promises a transformative impact on the regional aviation landscape in Europe. As regional airports embrace this, they:

Enhance Passenger Experience: Seamless connections, reduced travel times, and added services mean happier travelers.

Boost Profitability: More bookings directly translate to higher revenues.

Promote Sustainability: By reducing the need for ground transportation to larger hubs, virtual interlining can contribute to decreased carbon emissions.

We can help

Embracing innovation is not a luxury but a necessity for regional airports in Europe. With virtual interlining, these airports have a golden opportunity to redefine their operational landscape, promising growth, enhanced passenger experiences, and a brighter future. 

Airsiders can help your regional airport take the first steps towards interlining. Get in contact with us to see what is possible. 

In a world that is rapidly advancing with innovative technologies at its core, the travel industry is undergoing a radical transformation. Airports, which once solely stood as physical landmarks for travel transitions, are now emerging as pivotal nodes in the digital ecosystem of the travel experience. One such revolution in enhancing the traveller experience is the ‘Door-to-Gate’ concept.

The Pre-travel Passenger Engagement Dilemma

Currently, airports have a conundrum. Their myriad of services and offers remain, for the most part, unseen by passengers until they physically arrive at the airport. Up until that moment, it’s predominantly the airlines or travel platforms through which passengers have made bookings that stay in constant touch. Airports, though bustling with options, often remain a silent partner.

Travellers today have an array of concerns before they even reach the airport. For first-time travellers or visitors, the common queries include:

  • “When should I leave for the airport?”
  • “Which transport method would get me there the fastest?”
  • “How long will it take for me to navigate through the airport?”
  • “Where can I find good food options once I’m there?”

While a quest for answers might direct them to the airport website, the information they get isn’t personalized. It’s a generic overview. This impersonal interaction not only leaves many questions unanswered but also means they are less likely to revisit the airport’s digital platforms.

Painting the Ideal Picture

Imagine a digital platform where a traveller can get answers tailored precisely for them. This platform would function as follows:

  • Personalised Flight Itinerary: Passengers would key in details of their specific flight, adding nuances like whether they need to check-in, if they’re carrying luggage, and even specifics like restricted mobility.
  • Visual Journey Preview: They would then receive an interactive map showing them a bird’s eye view of their entire journey. From walking paths within the airport to estimated processing times at various checkpoints, passengers would get a complete picture.
  • Tailored Transport Recommendations: By simply adding their departure address, passengers would receive transport suggestions best aligned with their flight time and personal preferences.
  • Customized Airport Offers: Depending on their flight details and the destination, travellers would receive offers ranging from discounts at airport eateries to exclusive lounge access.
  • Inbound Assistance: This tool isn’t just for those leaving the city. Incoming passengers can input their destination in the city, and the platform would advise on the best transport methods, coupled with expected processing times at the airport.

Benefits Beyond Passenger Convenience

While this might seem like a tool designed for the convenience of the passengers, the implications for airports are profound:

  • Early Passenger Engagement: The platform would allow airports to engage passengers before their actual travel date. Early engagement means better service visibility and potentially higher conversions.
  • Contextual Promotion: Services like parking, fast-tracking, and more could be promoted based on the passenger’s exact journey details. This contextual approach can significantly enhance conversion rates.
  • New Revenue Streams: Airports could tap into affiliate marketing, integrating offers from transport services or third-party companies into the platform. Each click, each purchase from these third-party offers could mean a commission for the airport.
  • Wider Reach through Integration: Since this would be web-based, integration with airline websites and travel platforms could be seamless. The more the platform is promoted post-booking, the higher the engagement rates.

The Future is Here with Airsiders Webapp

This might sound like a traveller’s utopian dream, but the future is already here. Enter the Airsiders Webapp. Crafted meticulously, keeping in mind the complex needs of airports, airlines, and travellers, the Airsiders Webapp is changing the face of pre-travel engagement.

With a plug-and-play design, it offers adaptability to the unique brand personalities of different airports. It’s not just a tool; it’s a comprehensive solution that promises a complete transformation in how airports interact with their passengers.

Moreover, with the potential to be set up in a matter of weeks, it represents a swift transition to the future, without the teething troubles of traditional digital transformations.

Wrapping Up

The door-to-gate concept isn’t just a digital tool; it’s a paradigm shift in the travel experience. By bridging the gap between passengers and airports in the pre-travel phase, it promises a smoother, more informed journey for travellers and a plethora of commercial opportunities for airports.

Are you an airport, an airline, or a travel platform keen on being at the forefront of this revolution? It might be time to explore the Airsiders Webapp. Dive into the future, today.

Interested in learning more? Reach out to Airsiders.

In today’s hyperconnected world, industries across the board are tapping into the transformative power of technology. The aviation industry is no exception, yet there remains a glaring anomaly. 

Despite the proliferation of mobile apps, only a scant 7% of travelers use an airport app. What lies behind this disconnect, and what might the future of airport digital engagement look like?

The Enigma of the 7%

To understand this startling figure, we must first delve deep into the factors responsible for the minimal adoption of airport apps:

  • The Engagement Timing Dilemma: By and large, passengers initiate their interaction with the airport at a point where the journey is about to commence. This late engagement diminishes the window for digital influence. Before this point, interactions largely revolve around airlines and travel platforms, leaving airports out of the equation.
  • The Local Traveler Bias: Local and frequent fliers are the primary beneficiaries of these apps. For them, downloading and engaging with the app is a valuable proposition. In contrast, a vast majority of travelers resort to ad hoc internet searches or navigate the airport website, opting against the perceived inconvenience of an additional app download.
  • The Personalization Gap: While airport apps present structured data, they often fall short in delivering a personalized user journey. The absence of bespoke itineraries, offers, or information tailored to an individual traveler’s needs severely impacts the user experience and overall app retention.

It’s intriguing to consider that in an age marked by a global surge in app adoption, airports have channeled significant capital into app development. Still, without robust promotional channels and tangible user value, the investment yield remains subdued.

Photo by Rob Wilson

Repercussions for the Airport Ecosystem

The implications of low app adoption are multifaceted and resonate deeply within the airport ecosystem:

  • Opportunity Cost: The failure to engage passengers prior to their airport arrival signifies lost revenue opportunities, especially for lucrative services like parking, lounges, and fast-track security.
  • Compromised Service Delivery: Once the traveler steps into the airport, the chance to offer real-time updates, guidance, or a hyper-personalized experience is greatly reduced, detracting from the overall service quality and passenger satisfaction.

Envisioning a New Era of Digital Engagement

If traditional mobile apps aren’t the panacea to the airport’s digital woes, what could be the way forward?

1. Expanding Reach Through Strategic Alliances:

To tap into the elusive 93% who remain disengaged, collaborations with airlines, retail providers, and travel platforms are paramount. These entities can actively promote the airport’s digital offerings, channelling their expansive user base towards increased airport engagement.

2. Prioritizing User Accessibility:

The era of app saturation has instilled a sense of app fatigue among users. To circumvent this, a digital platform accessible via the web, sans the need for downloads, can prove invaluable.

3. Pioneering Personalization:

The future of digital engagement hinges on personalization. Platforms must be designed to offer curated experiences, taking into account individual travel details, personal preferences, and specific travel circumstances.

4. Savvy Monetization Strategies:

Once users are onboarded and engaged, monetization avenues multiply. Dynamic, contextually relevant promotions, both from the airport and affiliated third parties, can be introduced to enhance revenue streams. The key lies in offering timely and tailored promotions at pivotal points in the traveler’s journey, ensuring relevance and maximizing engagement.

Airsiders’ Revolutionary Approach with the Airport Webapp

This vision isn’t confined to the realms of ideation. Airsiders’ groundbreaking Airport Webapp offers a tangible glimpse into the future of airport digital engagement.

Here’s how it’s revolutionizing the landscape:

  • A User-Centric Interface: Passengers can seamlessly input their itineraries and personalize their travel details.
  • Immersive Visual Experience: A visually arresting interactive map offers a step-by-step preview of the journey, making trip planning intuitive and enjoyable.
  • Dynamically Curated Promotions: With sophisticated algorithms at play, users are presented with promotions that align with their preferences and journey stages, optimizing conversion rates.
  • Real-time Wallet Pass Feature: This innovation ensures users stay updated in real time, cementing the platform’s utility quotient.

The plug-and-play nature of the WebApp allows seamless integration into diverse channels – from airport websites to interactive monitors. The cherry on the cake? As a web-based solution, it’s primed for easy integration with travel platforms and websites, amplifying its reach.

The Flight Path Ahead

In the grand tapestry of the aviation industry, digital transformation remains an ongoing journey. The onus lies on airports to keep pace, continuously innovate, and offer enhanced user experiences. The pivot from traditional app models to more expansive, web-based platforms signifies a step in the right direction.

As airports globally seek to redefine passenger experiences, the collaborative synergy between airports and entities like Airsiders presents a promising horizon. With tailored solutions like the Airport Webapp leading the charge, the future of airport digital engagement seems not only bright but boundless.

For those at the crossroads, pondering their next digital strategy move, the answer might just lie in broadening horizons and embracing this new era of engagement.

If this paradigm shift resonates with your vision, it’s time to join the journey. Engage with us to explore the possibilities.

The Power of E-Commerce Personalisation for Airports

In today’s rapidly changing aviation landscape, non-aero revenue has emerged as a linchpin for airport growth and sustainable business operations. As more passengers tread the airport concourses, the race to engage, entice, and convert them into customers has intensified. Interestingly, the heart of this evolution lies not just in introducing new services but in personalising the digital experience.

The Rise of Non-Aero Revenue Streams

It’s no longer just about operational performance and airline partnerships. 

Non-Aero revenue streams have grown in importance for airports, as airlines heavily try to bargain on aero fees to be paid to the airport

Airports are now looking beyond the horizon, venturing into direct e-commerce offerings to enhance passenger experience and simultaneously boost revenue. Some notable additions to their arsenal include:

  • Duty-Free Shopping: Transforming wait times into shopping adventures.
  • Order Ahead Food Services: No more waiting in line for your favourite meal.
  • Parking Reservations: Ensuring a seamless start to the journey.
  • Fast-Track Options: Bypassing the crowds, offering passengers the luxury of time.

And these are just the tip of the iceberg. As technology evolves, so does the array of services that airports can offer.

Addressing the Elephant in the Room

However, introducing services is just half the battle won. The bigger challenge? Ensuring passengers know about, and more importantly, avail these offerings. Two core issues plague airports:

  • Limited User Engagement: According to a study by TNMT / LIH research, only 7% of passengers regularly engage with airport apps or websites. This low number directly translates to missed opportunities for upselling and cross-selling.
  • One Size Doesn’t Fit All: A passenger arriving from a long haul flight might be looking for a quick bite. In contrast, a business traveller may find value in a fast-track service. A parking reservation for a transit passenger is irrelevant.

The Age of Personalisation

The key to effective e-commerce lies in personalisation. For airports, this means:

  • Addressing Pain Points: By identifying the needs of different passenger types, airports can attract them with tailored, relevant information.
  • Broad-based Platform Accessibility: A web-based platform ensures broader accessibility, especially when it can be linked from airlines and other travel platforms. This not only promotes the airport’s services but also enhances the overall travel experience.
  • Journey-based Personalisation: Offers should be dynamic, changing based on the passenger’s journey timeline and type.

Airports have seen substantial growth in non-aeronautical revenues in recent years, rising from 33% in 2010 to over 40% today according to ACI statistics. As airports look to further diversify revenue streams, many have turned to offering new digital products and services directly to passengers. However, the challenge remains in effectively marketing these e-commerce offerings amidst low digital engagement rates.

Personalizing the passenger experience through an integrated travel planning platform provides a solution for airports to maximize the success of their online businesses.

Current digital touchpoints like mobile apps struggle to reach more than 7% of passengers on average according to surveys by Amadeus and SITA. Even for those interacted with, offers are often irrelevant as they lack personalization. For example, an arriving traveler has no interest in fast-track security while a connection passenger wouldn’t benefit from parking deals. 

Photo by Anete Lūsiņa

Personalization presents a key opportunity for useful wayfinding, trip planning features that reinforce the airport brand across all phases of travel.

Some airports have already had some wins with personalisation.

In Canada, Vancouver International Airport has implemented such an approach through their “YVR Experience” travel assistant. Passengers enter trip details upfront and receive a customized journey overview mapping terminal walking routes, popular amenities, and promotions matched to their itinerary. This level of digital concierge service helps relieve stress and encourage spending.

Taking the concept further, a shared travel planning platform could power e-commerce at any airport globally. The proposed “Airport Web App” would allow passengers to input flight reservations from any carrier. It then previews their end-to-end airport experience, integrating real-time flight updates and highlighting recommended offers inserted directly into the itinerary page. Notifications are also pushed through the app’s digital wallet for those who download it.

Airports maintain full control over which passenger segments receive each promotion. For example, short connection travelers may see food/retail but skipped over parking ads. Demographic and purchase history data could also refine targeting over time. Most importantly, the app supports airport branding while any airline or OTAs can seamlessly integrate the tool into their own channels as a value-added service.

Since launches, Incheon Airport and Singapore Changi Airport have credited passenger-centric technologies including personalization with over 10% year-over-year increases in non-ticket sales.

Enter the Airport WebApp, a revolutionary solution designed to bridge these very gaps.

Airport WebApp: Revolutionising the Travel Experience

So, how does the WebApp transform the e-commerce experience for passengers?

Intuitive Itinerary Selection: Passengers start by choosing their flight itinerary. Simple, right?

Journey Preview: No more ambiguity. Passengers can visualise their entire airport journey, ensuring they’re always a step ahead.

Personalised E-commerce Recommendations: Here’s where the magic happens. The WebApp curates and promotes offers that resonate with the passenger’s profile and journey type. Whether it’s on the itinerary page, integrated within the map, or via real-time wallet notifications (for those who opt for downloads), passengers receive timely, relevant promotions.

Flexibility for Airports: 

Airports aren’t bound by rigidity. They can decide which offers to push for different passenger segments. Tailoring offers not only boosts sales but significantly enhances the passenger experience.

Collaborative Approach: 

Recognising that the tool is beneficial for all travellers, the WebApp is designed to be promoted by airlines and other travel platforms post-booking, further enriching the digital experience for passengers.

In essence, the Airport WebApp is not just another digital tool; it’s a strategic asset, enhancing the journey for passengers while simultaneously creating lucrative revenue opportunities for airports.

Photo by Kevin Schmid

Which other airports have successfully made the jump into e-commerce personalization?

These airport examples have successfully leveraged e-commerce personalization strategies:

  • Incheon Airport (ICN): Their “My Airport” platform allows travellers to save flight/passenger details to receive tailored shopping/dining recommendations at each terminal based on departure times. Profiles are also used to promote nearby Seoul attractions. This boosted concessions 3-5% yearly.
  • Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS): By linking frequent flyer data from KLM and EasyJet, Schiphol can remarket to loyal flyers visiting their home airport. Past purchases influence targeted digital ads for related products. First-party data sharing has increased retail repeat sales 10%.
  • Dubai International (DXB): Emirates worked with Dubai Airport to build rich profiles from passenger bookings. These power personalized push notifications on flight delays and shopping deals within connected store maps. Families get family-friendly offers, increasing non-flight bookings 15%.
  • Munich Airport (MUC): Their “plan-your-trip” site uses cookie data to present relevant parking, dining and lounge access deals to frequent corporate travelers from major carriers like Lufthansa. Upselling airport experiences increased associated revenues 7% annually.
  • Hong Kong International (HKG): By linking their frequent flyer app to on-site beacons, HKG delivers geo-targeted offers to users as they move between terminals. Partnering airlines provide better targeted communications and crossover loyalty programs.

The bottom line

As the lines between aviation and e-commerce blur, airports stand at a pivotal juncture. The choice is clear: to evolve, personalise, and grow or remain static and watch opportunities fly by.

The Airport WebApp, with its intuitive design and focus on personalisation, is a beacon for the future—a testament to how technology can transform challenges into opportunities.

Interested in learning more? At Airsiders, we deliver a positive impact on the travel experience for airport passengers. Reach out and discover the world of possibilities with Airport WebApps.

Learn how Airsiders‘ innovative airport wallet pass technology revolutionizes the passenger journey on airport websites. Discover how this plugin enables real-time flight tracking and updates without the need for app downloads, providing a seamless and convenient experience.

The challenge with airport websites

Passengers rely heavily on airport websites and apps to access flight information, making the online FIDS page the most visited section. However, many airports face the issue of low app adoption among non-local passengers.

Since it is currently not possible to send users push notifications from the browser, this leads to repetitive website refreshing and inconvenience for passengers in accessing the latest updates about their flights.

The solution: Airport Wallet Passes

Airsiders airport wallet pass

With Airsiders’ airport wallet pass, passengers can effortlessly track their flight status directly in their browser and receive real-time updates without the need for app downloads. Here’s how it works:

1. Flight selection: Passengers visit the flights page on the airport website and locate their flight.

2. Add pass: By clicking the “Add to Wallet” button next to their flight, passengers instantly receive an airport-branded mobile wallet pass tailored to their mobile device (iOS or Android).

3. Push notifications: Whenever there’s a new announcement from the AODB (Airport Operational Database), passengers receive push notifications directly on their home screen, even without an app download.

One pass, multiple use cases

Apart from real-time flight updates, the airport wallet pass plugin offers additional features and benefits:

  • Seamless redirection: Clicking on a notification takes passengers back to the airport website or the webapp provided by Airsiders, ensuring a seamless browsing experience.

  • Traffic status information: Airports can provide relevant information on traffic conditions to passengers before they depart from home, enhancing their journey planning.

  • Personalized marketing notifications: With passengers opting in by saving the pass, airports can send targeted marketing notifications, including personalized retail and parking offers, promoting a tailored and engaging experience.

Jam-packed with benefits loved by airport marketing teams

The airport wallet pass plugin brings several advantages for airports and passengers alike:

  • App-free updates: Passengers can receive timely flight updates without the need to download an app, improving accessibility and convenience.

  • Enhanced passenger engagement: By delivering push notifications directly to users’ home screens, airports can engage passengers effectively and ensure they remain informed throughout their journey.

  • Accessible airport information: The plugin makes airport information readily available, enabling passengers to stay up-to-date without constantly refreshing the website.

  • Browser-based reach: The wallet pass plugin empowers airports to reach passengers directly in their browsers, eliminating the barrier of app adoption.

  • Targeted promotions: Airports can deliver personalized retail and parking offers to passengers who have opted in, enhancing customer satisfaction and generating revenue opportunities.

Get started with Airsiders

Discover the power of the airport wallet pass plugin by Airsiders, empowering airports to provide seamless flight tracking, real-time updates, and personalized engagement for passengers. Experience the benefits of easy integration, improved accessibility, and enhanced passenger satisfaction. Contact us today to explore additional use cases and unlock the full potential of your airport’s digital transformation.

Implementing the airport wallet pass plugin is a breeze for airport marketing and digital teams. Airsiders, a Berlin-based travel technology company backed by Beumer Group, a global leader in airport systems, provides scalable and end-to-end solutions for airports to innovate and digitize the entire airport journey.

We’re entering the era of self-connecting travel. According to data we’ve observed, self-connecting flights have grown fourfold within the past year. These self-connecting passengers, or ‘travel hackers,’ book two or more connecting flights independently from each other with airlines that don’t have interlining agreements in place. They’re willing to take the risks and downsides that come with it in exchange for more flexibility and more choice around flight times, prices and destinations. Above all, they are looking to save money and time. 

So, what can airports do to get on board and reap the full benefits of this latest travel trend? Let’s first take a look at the obstacles for self-connecting passengers, then discover how airports play a role in creating a seamless self-connected travel experience.

Challenges for self-connecting passengers

For many travellers, the very idea of the self-connection process is anxiety-inducing. Air travel can be stressful enough without the addition of making your own connections, which brings plenty of challenges.

A lack of information is central to the anxiety around self-connecting flights. Without a clear idea of minimum time needed between flight transfers, door-to-gate distances, risk factors in terms of delays etc., passengers are left with the feeling that they are taking a major gamble – or worse, they may decide to stay away from booking altogether.  

Another major pain point is the need to re-check and reclaim baggage with every connection. Endless luggage queues are enough to put many would-be self-connecting travellers off. The time lost when re-checking and reclaiming luggage is vital, as is the time lost from flight delays. For a self-connecting passenger, every minute counts – the longer the delay, the more likely they are to miss a connecting flight. And if passengers miss flights, they run the risk of being stranded and having to scramble to re-book tickets themselves, likely without a refund. 

Even if travellers do like the idea of making their own connecting flights, it’s often hard to know where to start and the whole process can seem daunting. Questions over where to go upon arrival at the airport, when and where to check-in and what to do if a delay causes them to miss a connection all create a feeling of uncertainty. 

All these factors combine to create confusion, worry and wasted time for travellers when they should be free to spend their time dining, shopping or simply relaxing in between flights.

How Airports can provide more transparency for self-connecting passengers

As an essential part of any connected journey, airports play a key role when it comes to the self-connecting passenger’s journey. Airports have the opportunity to shape the self-connection process and alleviate pain points, while building strong customer relationships, increasing revenue and providing a truly connected travel experience. 

This is where Airsiders comes in.

As the travel industry’s first genuine door-to-gate and virtual interlining solution, we bring the products and processes to bridge the gaps across all stages of the passenger journey. 

Airsiders’ Door-to-Gate – a standardised airport map & itinerary builder

Airsiders’ Door-to-Gate aggregates specialised data feeds from airports all over the world to improve the self-connecting passenger journey and build a trusting relationship between the airport and the traveller. 

It all starts with journey times. Using our extensive airport map database, we accurately predict the time it would take for a passenger to go from door to gate at any transfer airport in the world. Our maps are standardised and integrated with flight schedules, passenger itineraries and operational data. We also use specialised global data to calculate risk scores for transfer flights, bringing added peace of mind and encouraging passengers to book connecting flights. 

All this enables airports to increase passenger flow by predicting and visualising passenger journeys, offer personalised guidance for travellers, manage data and analytics in real-time, and integrate custom data. The bottom line? An increase in revenue, cost reduction and a seamless, personalised travel experience for self-connecting passengers. 

Best of all – our solution can be implemented in the way that works best for your airport. Either as a standard API that easily integrates into your passenger-facing platform Volario Go or as a white-label tool, enabling you to use it in-house with your own branding. 

Virtual interlining – a seamless self-connecting solution

Yes, travel hacking comes with plenty of baggage, but, having collaborated with BEUMER Group, a global leader in baggage handling systems, we’ve got the fundamentals of luggage checks in the bag. Our software and automated processes make luggage through-checks a breeze, even when an interline or alliance agreement doesn’t exist between flight handlers. We also take the edge off flight disruptions, with a connection guarantee that makes sure passengers are rebooked in the event they miss a flight.

All in all, an improved self-connecting traveller experience means more airport passenger traffic and happier customers which, ultimately, translate in increased revenue and customer loyalty.

Airsiders is already helping airports, airlines and travel tech companies provide a standardised travel experience. To discover how we can help your team today, book a demo now