August 2018– Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Group have announced the intention to build a brand new Virgin-wide loyalty programme, with unique and differentiated reward opportunities to reward customer loyalty across Virgin companies.

A new company, Virgin Group Loyalty Company, will be set up to own and manage this exciting programme. Virgin Red, an existing loyalty start-up within the Virgin Group, will also be integrated into the new group-wide loyalty programme. The new company will bring reward across the Virgin family together into a single company and create a more valuable offer for our customers. The new company will launch in 2019 and will be owned by Virgin Group and Delta Air Lines.

Flying Club will continue as the frequent flyer programme for Virgin Atlantic’s customers and will continue to use miles as its currency. Flying Club members will continue to collect tier points and collect and redeem miles across Virgin Atlantic, Delta and a range of airline and other partners as they do today. In the future Flying Club members can look forward to an expanded range of ways to collect and redeems miles that will be powered by the new Virgin loyalty programme.

Andrew Swaffield has been appointed as CEO to lead the Virgin Group Loyalty Company. Previously the CEO of Avios and most recently the Monarch group, Swaffield has a wealth of experience in the travel and loyalty industry. He said: “Virgin is one of the most admired brands in the UK and across the world, serving 53 million customers each year across 60 companies. Customers expect to be rewarded for their loyalty to Virgin and we want to ensure Virgin customers get the very best rewards possible. Our ambition is to bring the Virgin companies together and combine their appeal to customers, working together to create a truly outstanding offer.”

Oliver Byers, SVP Global Sales and Customer Loyalty, Virgin Atlantic, added: “Today Flying Club offers Virgin Atlantic’s customers compelling and valuable rewards for flying on Virgin Atlantic, Delta and a range of Flying Club partners. This will continue to be the case, but at the same time we’re excited to work collaboratively with Virgin Group to build a stronger loyalty programme and unleash the power of our shared brand to reward customers for their loyalty to Virgin. We’ll be giving customers more reasons to join Flying Club and fly with Virgin Atlantic and our airline partners.”

The Virgin Group Loyalty Company and Virgin Atlantic will keep customers updated with more detail of the new loyalty programme as it is developed.

SITA will deliver the most advanced airport experience when the world’s largest airport opens in 2018

Istanbul | November 1, 2018–Istanbul New Airport, one of the world’s most ambitious airport projects, has appointed global IT provider SITA to bring the region’s most advanced airport to life. SITA will deliver a wide range of airport, passenger and baggage processing solutions to deliver a world-class experience, showcasing the future of air travel.

İGA, the contractor and designated operator of the new airport, has brought SITA on board to design and deliver IT solutions that will manage everything from landing to take off as well as all passenger processing and baggage management systems from check-in through to boarding. SITA’s systems will be required to support 75 flight departures per hour, 3,500 flight operations per day and 1,000 bags per flight. Upon completion of all phases of the project, the capacity will reach over 200 million passengers annually, making it one of the world’s biggest airports.

Hani El-Assaad, SITA President, Middle East, India and Africa said: “Airports are without a doubt one of the most connected public spaces. SITA’s role is to provide and integrate all these systems to provide effortless airport management while elevating the passenger experience and satisfaction. We remove the complexity so that İGA can focus on what is really important: the passenger.”

In the first phase of the infrastructure development, SITA will deploy passenger processing systems to provide a smooth and efficient experience for passengers. This includes SITA’s departure control system and common-use platform, allowing multiple airlines to connect and use the same check-in and boarding infrastructure. SITA will also implement automated passenger access control that will validate all types of boarding passes against travel documents at key touchpoints such as security and boarding. In total, SITA will provide 1,041 check-in and boarding workstations and 90 touchpoints where passengers can validate their boarding passes.

SITA’s state of the art baggage management technology will also ensure airlines flying to the airport are able to track their bags at every stage of the journey, meeting IATA’s Resolution 753 requirements from day one.

In parallel, SITA will deploy key airport management solutions that will allow İGA to proactively manage and oversee every aspect of the airport operation. SITA’s Airport Management Solution will make it possible for İGA to centralize flight data information collected from all the systems in the airport and to proactively take smart decisions in managing the resources in the airport. SITA will help İGA take collaboration a step further through the sharing of common airport operational objectives across stakeholders such as airlines, ground handlers and control authorities.

Yusuf Akçayoğlu, CEO of İGA Airports Construction said: “We fully understand that having the right technology will be essential to the successful operation of the new airport and future-proofing it for decades to come.

It is also critical to ensuring our passengers fully benefit from our new, world-class facilities by providing innovative systems that make the journey through the airport enjoyable and effortless. We are confident that we will conclude this co-operation successfully.”

Ersin İnankul, CIO of İGA Airports Construction said: “In building a new facility, we have the opportunity to implement technology or the capacity to accommodate new technologies, thereby ensuring we are well prepared to accommodate changing requirements over time. Working with SITA, we have implemented passenger and operational systems that support those evolving demands, assuring the long-term future of Istanbul New Airport.”

Read the interview with Ersin İnankul, CIO of İGA Airports Construction in SITA’s Air Transport IT Review online

The construction of the new airport will be carried out in four phases. The first phase will be finalized in 2018 with the opening of three runways and a main terminal building with a capacity of 90 million passengers a year. Close to 100 airlines have committed to begin using the airport once it opens for operations.

A new biometrics-based seamless passenger-walkthrough will modernize passenger journey experience in the scope of the ongoing Digital Airport Program
Amsterdam, The Netherlands | February 9, 2017– Representing one of the m os t expec ted announcements in the Aviation Industry, the design and deployment of a large-scale modernization program aims at facilitating the entire passenger journey throughout the airport for all types of passengers, whilst increasing terminal capacity. New technology will be tested from 2017 to offer passengers a seamless experience, increase throughput, eliminate bottlenecks, thus enhancing capacity within the existing footprint.

After thorough market research, Schiphol selected Vision-Box, the Passenger Experience leaders responsible for processing over 200 million passengers per year at borders worldwide, to take up the challenge. Vision-Box met the highest standards of know-how, trust and experience for the endeavor and will thus be responsible for implementing, one of the founding streams of the overarching Digital Airport Program announced earlier this year.

The framework agreement consists of a long-term modernization program that will bring to life a pioneering end-to-end biometric-based passenger journey. It is founded on completely redesigned, document-less, self-service passenger-centric touch-points. The program will transform conventional physical and psychological barriers into a standardized, yet streamlined, seamless passenger walk-through experience.

Miguel Leitmann, CEO at Vision-Box, stated that “We are proud to announce this real premiere in the Aviation industry at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. Our commitment is to present a completely modernized passenger experience, based on a shared vision of the digital airport. The redesigned Schiphol Airport journey will offer the best-in-class human-machine experience, a memorable passenger-centric walk-through from curb to cabin and a seamless gateway into the future.”

Adelaide | November 22, 2016– Adelaide Airport, Australia’s fastest-growing international airport, has selected SITA to provide smart new passenger and airport operational technology. The airport’s eight million passengers will enjoy new self-service bag drop and check-in kiosks, while SITA’s day of operations technology will ensure optimized airport operations.

SITA has provided technology to Adelaide Airport for more than ten years and the new five-year contract includes a move to common-use self-service (CUSS) which allows passengers to use self-service for any airline, at any check-in kiosk or bag drop point. In total SITA will provide 32 check-in kiosks and 14 bag drop units.

As part of the technology investment for the future, Adelaide Airport will use SITA’s AirportPulse. This day of operations technology includes a business intelligence portal which provides end-to-end visibility of what’s happening in the airport at strategic and operational levels. Data is pulled from all common-use infrastructure to analyze, report and benchmark passenger movements, providing a deep understanding of relevant activities and providing intelligent reporting to effectively manage the allocation of shared resources.

Vince Scanlon, Executive General Manager, Planning and Infrastructure, Adelaide Airport Ltd (AAL), said: “As the gateway to South Australia, we at Adelaide Airport want to deliver exceptional outcomes to our customers, partners, shareholders and community. SITA is providing us with world-class technology that will improve the experience at the airport. Passengers will enjoy efficient bag drop and check-in while the data collected will turn information into knowledge and allow us to focus on what matters for improved performance.”

The increased focus on using data to enhance operations will allow Adelaide Airport to be proactive and predict and identify imminent adverse conditions before they happen. AirportPulse makes sense of data to drive operational efficiencies and improve customer experience.

Ilya Gutlin, SITA President, Asia Pacific, said: “SITA has been Adelaide Airport’s technology partner for over a decade and during that time we have worked with the team to contribute to its growth and success. Over the coming years we will continue to seamlessly transition Adelaide to the latest innovative technology that supports the vision of Adelaide Airport becoming a top tier business center in the Asia Paci­fic region.”

Adelaide Airport’s annual passenger numbers are rising and it forecasts more than 18 million passengers by 2034. This growth comes with the investment in the Adelaide Airport Business District. This development is set to transform the airport into a full-fledged business district acting as the business gateway between the world and South Australia.

  • Why the industry should embrace open systems development and unlock digital service innovation for airlines

October 2016– The first inflight connectivity revolution is already well advanced. Airlines are investing heavily in the latest satellite broadband and connectivity technologies in order to meet growing passenger expectations for fast, reliable and consistent Wi-Fi digital services on any aircraft, anywhere in the world.

But how will this develop? SITAONAIR, the world-leader in developing inflight connectivity solutions, has unique experience and perspective.

Going forward, we believe services should be provided consistently on every frequency band with an open architecture – ushering in the second inflight connectivity revolution.

Read More Here

  • First airport in Myanmar to implement ARINC vMUSE common use passenger processing solution

Singapore | October 25, 2016– Mandalay International Airport (MDL) passengers will realize an enhanced check-in experience with the implementation of a new passenger processing system from Rockwell Collins.

Under the terms of the agreement with MC-Jalux Airport Services Co., Ltd. (MJAS), the group that operates MDL, Rockwell Collins is providing its ARINC vMUSETM Common Use Passenger Processing System (CUPPS) solutions at the airport, the second largest in Myanmar.

“Myanmar is a growing tourist and business destination with a variety of attractions and opportunities,” said Futoshi Hiroi, vice president, COO and CFO of MJAS. “By using the latest airport technology from Rockwell Collins, we are better able to attract airlines and travelers to the northern part of our country. This implementation of ARINC vMUSE makes it easier for travelers to reach the destinations they want to experience, helping develop our tourism industry.”

The new contract also includes the use of Rockwell Collins’ ARINC AviNet® network and message solution which provides a secure, fast and efficient way to communicate flight operation, aircraft maintenance and other critical messages that have a direct impact on airline operational efficiency.

“Being able to improve the passenger experience while also enabling MDL to support multiple airline check-in applications running concurrently on the same workstation makes ARINC vMUSE a powerful technology for airports looking to provide the best service to their passengers and airlines,” said Paul Hickox, head of Airport Systems Sales for Rockwell Collins.

  • Technology enables airlines to connect with their fleet, increasing efficiency of maintenance and content management

Singapore | October 25, 2016– Panasonic Avionics (Panasonic) has today announced the launch of ZeroTouchTM service- its unique and innovative service that simultaneously gives airlines real-time visibility into performance, improves the efficiency of its maintenance operations and also enables data transfer of passenger-facing content to an aircraft to improve the passenger experience.

Paul Margis, CEO of Panasonic Avionics, said: “As an industry leader and trusted partner for over 35 years, Panasonic understands the infrastructure and support airlines require. Our data-driven, real-time ZeroTouchTM service combines all areas of our in-house expertise to help airlines maximize the efficiencies of their business and reduce their operational expenses.”

“Using the ZeroTouch service, our customers gain a seamless and efficient method to operate and manage their aircraft — from any location, at any time. They’ll have real-time visibility into fleet performance. They’ll use a robust infrastructure that lets them continuously and seamlessly improve their operations and the passenger experience. In essence, they’ll be able to solve real business challenges.”

The ZeroTouch Service Vision: Panasonic’s ZeroTouch service will reduce an airline’s need to physically touch the aircraft because all interactions are managed through a virtual dashboard. By providing access to real-time passenger data, software, media and content updates can be data-driven, helping to deliver a relevant and personalized passenger experience. Updates will be sent to an aircraft via three high-speed pipes – Wi-Fi at the gate, aircraft cell modem, or even in flight using Panasonic’s global broadband eXConnect service.

When combined with dynamic content updates, the ZeroTouch service will offer an improvement from an airline’s traditional 30-day media update cycle by enabling live updates to data and files stored on a Panasonic inflight entertainment and communications system. Applications such as movies, games, advertising, live news, and more will be automatically loaded at any time, over any available communications pipe to an entire fleet.

Strategic planning also will be made easier through the actionable insight solution provides. Airlines are presented with both a detailed picture of their aircraft and a broader overview of their fleet. This allows more informed decisions to be made in media consumption, system health monitoring, aircraft maintenance, and much more. The service automatically downloads critical operational data during flight meaning maintenance teams are notified of upcoming tasks and are able to prepare solutions prior to landing.

ZeroTouch Service Deployment Timeline: Today Panasonic is in Phase One of its ZeroTouch service initiative, and is already delivering payloads of up to 700 Megabytes to aircraft over cell modem and its eXConnect service multiple times per day.

By the third quarter of 2017, Panasonic will enter a Phase Two trial, which will leverage a new, more robust and more efficient core infrastructure and an enhanced management console. During this time frame, the company will also introduce the Enhanced Cell Modem with advanced Wi-Fi capabilities that will open up a third communications pipe to the aircraft.

Full commercial availability including content, media and software loading as well as operational data offloading is expected to immediately follow the Q3 2017 trial.

GEE’s Enterprise Data Warehouse Trusted by Airlines Globally for Business Intelligence and Analytics

• Cloud-based platform for commercial aviation analytics and intelligent airline operations
• Analytics subscription services trusted by airlines globally to improve operational reliability and to monitor key operational performance metrics
• Most comprehensive historic and real-time operations data available for over 400 airlines globally
• Fuses real-time aircraft-generated data with flight status, ground surveillance and weather
• Improves efficiencies, reduces costs, improves passenger experience and enables airlines’ digital transformation
Los Angeles, CA | September 6, 2016– Global Eagle Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ: ENT) (“GEE”), a worldwide provider of end-to-end connectivity and media to the airline, maritime and remote mobility markets, today announced Alaska Airlines, which has been ranked the No. 1 U.S. airline by The Wall Street Journal on key operational and customer metrics for two years in a row, awarded a contract to GEE for its Masflight Enterprise Data Warehouse. GEE’s secure and high-performance data warehouse provides the most comprehensive and trusted aviation operations data available for mission-critical airline analytics and performance monitoring.

Alaska Air Group operates Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, which together with its partner regional airlines, serve more than 100 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica. Alaska Airlines, an industry leader in flight completion rates and on-time performance, has been ranked No. 1 in customer satisfaction among traditional carriers in North America by J.D. Power for eight years in a row.

“A key element to Alaska Airlines’ success is investing in cloud-based analytics and intelligent applications that support our operation in real-time,” said Dan Audette, Director of Operations Analytics & Strategy at Alaska Airlines. “GEE’s knowledge of airline operations, coupled with their high-performance enterprise data warehouse technology makes them a good partner for the company.”

“We are honored to provide Alaska Airlines with our cloud-based analytics platform that simplifies analytics, real-time competitive benchmarking, and fleet-wide performance monitoring and alerting,” said Edmund Otubuah, Managing Director of Products, GEE. “The Masflight platform will provide key decision-makers with real-time situational awareness and serve as a decision-support tool to support historical analytics and improve operational workflows.”

Barcelona | May 24, 2016– Airline passengers across the globe are so comfortable with technology today that they are choosing to use it rather than interacting with people. This is according to the 2016 SITA Passenger IT Trends Survey, a global survey released today by IT provider SITA and co-sponsored by Air Transport World.

SITA’s survey shows that 85% of passengers had a positive travel experience, up from 80% last year. Noticeably, passengers are happier at the steps of the journey where they have more choice and control in how they manage their trip. At booking, which they can do online, using a mobile or with an agent, 93% had a positive experience.

Passengers experience the most negative emotions during the security screening, passport control and baggage collection steps of the journey, peaking at nearly one third of passengers at security. These are also the steps with the least number of self-service technology options.

Francesco Violante, CEO, SITA, said: “Knowing that passengers prefer using their own devices and self-service technology throughout the journey should encourage airlines, airports and government to examine how they can transform the experience at security, border control and baggage collection. The technology is available today and the industry can be confident that it will be welcomed by passengers.”

But not all passengers are the same and SITA has analyzed the behavior of four different types – Careful Planner, Pampered, Hyper-Connected and Open-Minded Adventurer. Each profile uses technology in different ways and SITA’s research shows that a ‘one-size fits all’ approach risks alienating some passengers. To help illustrate the differences SITA has made it possible for people to find out their own passenger profile. Anyone can complete this short online form to find out what kind of traveler they are and compare their personal behavior to others from around the world.

Regardless of their type, once passengers are converted from person-to-person interaction to using self-service technology few want to go back. Even if they are not satisfied with one type of self-service technology they tend to try another rather than revert to human contact. When it comes to check-in 91% using self-service technology will do so again and again.

Violante, added: “It is clear that passengers love technology. Once they start to use kiosks, websites, mobile devices, automated gates and other tech they will continue to do so rather than returning to human interaction. As airlines and airports look to introduce new technology they should also note that ‘ease-of-use’ is vital for passengers. At check-in, the ease of use can increase kiosk adoption by as much as 86% and mobile by 59%.”

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • A majority of passengers (55%) use some self-service tech on their journey but the end-to-end self-service journey is not yet widespread.
  • If passengers have a negative experience, 54% will try a different self-service technology.
  • When using mobiles for travel 92% find check-in easy to use.
  • Passengers indicate they want more mobile services and baggage notifications are a top priority.
  • More than half of passengers (56%) using self-service baggage bag-drop plan to use it again.
  • ‘Hyper-connected’ and ‘Pampered’ passengers are the happiest.
  • 92% of passengers are happy during dwell time at the airport but providing poor quality services like food, entertainment and shopping is worse than not providing any.

This is the 11th edition of the SITA/ATW Passenger IT Trends Survey. It was conducted with more than 9,000 passengers from 19 countries across the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa representing almost three-quarters of global passenger traffic.

* Visit travelerprofile.sita.aero to find out what kind of traveler you are.

* More details of the results, including information on the emotional scale tool and the technology adoption model, are available here.