Airlines to get smart over disruptions

Close to three-quarters of the world’s major airlines plan to be able to help passengers deal with flight disruptions via their mobile phones by 2017, according to SITA’s latest airline IT trends survey (published today, June 18).

This is quite an ambitious plan considering that just 11% of the 200 airlines polled offer such services now, and only 62% are currently able to offer live notifications of the status of their flights via smart phone apps.

By 2017, 96% of the IT heads surveyed by SITA expect their airline to be able to give real-time flight updates to passengers through their phones, while 73% say they will be offering disruption management services, such as automatic re-booking and information on alternative routes.

If airlines want to start handling disruptions in this real-time proactive way, they will have to improve their situational awareness, not only of their own operations, but also of other airlines, airports and wider transport networks.

Such a leap forward in less than three years is going to involve a significant amount of work to ensure that the various IT systems employed in the aviation sector are able to communicate with each other.

Software systems that warn MRO facilities of potential maintenance issues while aircraft are in the air, for example, should be considered as a data source for these updates.

Such tools are already helping to cut down turnaround time and AOG incidents, as well as giving airlines greater warning of potentials maintenance issues, allowing them to implement contingency plans.

In their bid to ensure they are keeping up with the smart phone revolution, airline IT managers should be considering how they can incorporate the right level of information from MRO software.  

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