Geneva | April 2, 2020–The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic data for February 2020 showing that demand (measured in total revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) fell 14.1% compared to February 2019. This was the steepest decline in traffic since 9.11 and reflected collapsing domestic travel in China and sharply falling international demand to/from and within the Asia-Pacific region, owing to the spreading COVID-19 virus and government-imposed travel restrictions. February capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) fell 8.7% as airlines scrambled to trim capacity in line with plunging traffic, and load factor fell 4.8 percentage points to 75.9%.

“Airlines were hit by a sledgehammer called COVID-19 in February. Borders were closed in an effort to stop the spread of the virus. And the impact on aviation has left airlines with little to do except cut costs and take emergency measures in an attempt to survive in these extraordinary circumstances. The 14.1% global fall in demand is severe, but for carriers in Asia-Pacific the drop was 41%. And it has only grown worse. Without a doubt this is the biggest crisis that the industry has ever faced,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

International Passenger Markets

February international passenger demand fell 10.1% compared to February 2019, the worst outcome since the 2003 SARS outbreak and a reversal from the 2.6% traffic increase recorded in January. Europe and Middle East were the only regions to see a year-over-year traffic rise. Capacity fell 5.0%, and load factor plunged 4.2 percentage points to 75.3%.

Asia-Pacific airlines’ February traffic plummeted 30.4% compared to the year-ago period, steeply reversing a 3.0% gain recorded in January. Capacity fell 16.9% and load factor collapsed to 67.9%, a 13.2-percentage point drop compared to February 2019.

European carriers’ February demand was virtually flat compared to a year ago (+0.2%), the region’s weakest performance in a decade. The slowdown was driven by routes to/from Asia, where the growth rate slowed by 25 percentage points in February, versus January. Demand  in markets within Europe performed solidly despite some initial flight suspensions on the routes to/from Italy. However, March data will reflect the impact of the spread of the virus across Europe and the related disruptions to travel. February capacity rose 0.7%, and load factor slipped 0.4 percentage point to 82.0%, which was the highest among regions.

Middle Eastern airlines posted a 1.6% traffic increase in February, a slowdown from the 5.3% year-over-year growth reported in January largely owing to a slowdown on Middle East-Asia-Pacific routes. Capacity increased by 1.3%, and load factor edged up 0.2 percentage point to 72.6%. 

North American carriers had a 2.8% traffic decline in February, reversing a 2.9% gain in January, as international entry restrictions hit home and volumes on Asia-North America routes plunged 30%. Capacity fell 1.5%, and load factor dropped 1.0 percentage point to 77.7%.

Latin American airlines experienced a 0.4% demand drop in February compared to the same month last year. This actually was an improvement over the 3.5% decline recorded in January. However, the spread of the virus and resulting travel restrictions will be reflected in March results. Capacity also fell 0.4% and load factor was flat compared to February 2019 at 81.3%.

African airlines’ traffic slipped 1.1% in February, versus a 5.6% traffic increase recorded in January and the weakest outcome since 2015. The decline was driven by around a 35% year-on-year traffic fall in the Africa-Asia market. Capacity rose 4.8%, however, and load factor sagged 3.9 percentage points to 65.7%, lowest among regions.

Domestic Passenger Markets

Demand for domestic travel dropped 20.9% in February compared to February 2019, as Chinese domestic market collapsed in the face of the government lockdown. Domestic capacity fell 15.1% and load factor dropped 5.6 percentage points to 77.0%.

Chinese airlines’ domestic traffic fell 83.6% in February, the worst outcome since IATA began tracking the market in 2000. With the easing of some restrictions on internal travel in March, domestic demand is showing some tentative signs of improvement.

US airlines enjoyed one of their strongest months in February, as domestic traffic jumped 10.1%. Demand fell  toward the end of the month, however, with the full impact of COVID-19 expected to show in March results.

The Bottom Line

“This is aviation’s darkest hour and it is difficult to see a sunrise ahead unless governments do more to support the industry through this unprecedented global crisis. We are grateful to those that have stepped up with relief measures, but many more need to do so. Our most recent analysis shows that airlines may burn through $61 billion of their cash reserves during the second quarter ending 30 June 2020. This includes $35 billion in sold-but-unused tickets as a result of massive flight cancellations owing to government-imposed travel restrictions. We welcome the actions of those regulators who have relaxed rules so as to permit airlines to issue travel vouchers in lieu of refunds for unused tickets; and we urge others to do the same. Air transport will play a much-needed role in supporting the inevitable recovery. But without additional government action today, the industry will not be in a position to help when skies are brighter tomorrow,” said de Juniac.

Read the full report for February 2020 (pdf)

Today’s Rectangle: AirFly Pro


PUBLISHER’S NOTE

Times are tough! Depression just may be around the corner. Read this: Deutsche Bank Economists forecast “severe recession” due to Covid-19 – Newsroom And as of Saturday, 3/21/20, the US numbers jumped up. Confirmed Coronavirus Cases Are Growing Faster In The United States Than Any Other Country In The World  I guess the message here is: As this virus grows, airline and travel news will dwindle, so IFEC news just might be a bit reduced!

The Farnborough Airshow – this year’s largest aerospace expo and a showcase for tens of billions of dollars of business deals – has become the latest major event to be canceled because of the coronavirus crisis, organizers said last week.

Editor’s Note: To give you an idea of how exposed the airline industry is to the impact of Coronavirus, the folks at Moodys Investor Service categorized it a 100% – the biggest exposure to financial risk!


AIRFLY

Despite the current state of air travel, we thought it might be  time to present an article about wireless earphone solutions for travel. The product for review is from the folks at AirFly – a Bluetooth wireless transmitter/receiver for your wireless entertainment earphones, in the case of the Pro version, a device that will receive Bt audio entertainment from an iPod/iPhone/or most Bt enabled devices and send it to a receiver/amplifier in your car, train, plane, or whatever mode of transport you choose.

This is an incredible product that amazed us with quality, small size (57 mm x 25.5 mm x 11 mm & weighs 15.5 grams – about the size of a pack of chewing gum), long life battery and a lot of functionality. Our product review should not only give you an idea about the value of the AirFly Pro, but IFExress feels this is the missing link between wireless headphones and wired headphone jacks because it it creates the wireless Bluetooth link between the audio source and your wireless earbuds or headphones on airplanes. We note, that there are Bt audio jacks being supplied in the industry (IFPL’s is a great product), but not all aircraft have it installed, especially the older jetliners that have not been recently refurbished.

AirFly offers four product variations:  AirFly Classic (one headphone), AirFly Duo (2 headphones & USB-C), AirFly USB-C (2 headphones & charges via USB-C with pass through power), and AirFly Pro (connects 2 headphones & has a receive mode that provides audio input to a device like a car radio). We tested the Pro and it delivered audio to two Bluetooth headsets – like it would do in an airplane; you and your seat mate could hear the same audio. Check out their website if you have questions or want to see more data on this clever product – AirFly Pro | Bluetooth transmitter connects wireless headphones to wired audio jacks – Twelve South Here’s how works:

  1. Be sure to charge the AirFly Pro module before you leave on a trip via a USB charge jack in the back. The company says you will be able to get some 16 hours of use out of it so virtually all of your flights will be supported.
  2. Setting up the device with your earphones or headphones is easy. We plugged in the AirFly jack to our signal source (iPod) and when we figured out how to put our Bose earphones in the “connect” mode the earphones and the AirFly paired immediately with a fixed light on each when connected. You will be surprised at the quality – it sounds as good as your earphones can deliver.
  3. So, when the movie begins on your next long flight, plug AirFly Pro into your seat’s headphone jack to listen to the movie with whichever premium noise cancelling wireless headphones you employ.

The company lists some of the usable headphones on their website (and there are a lot) but it worked with every Bt stereo headphone we tested. We need to also say the audio was really unbelievable and now we can take that hike with the iPod, without the wires – smooth! We also tried sending a Bt signal from our iPod with music on it through the device when it was plugged into the car radio input port – and it was great. Also, the unit can operate while charging if plugged into the USB power connection.

Lastly, we contacted AirFly and we asked their Marketing Director, Marlee Luttrell if the device was universal, and she said: “Absolutely! AirFly can pair any device with a 3.5m audio jack to almost any Bluetooth-enabled headphones (even hearing aids!). There are so many uses for AirFly beyond in-flight entertainment. A few of my favorites:- plugging into an amp or record player audio jack to listen to your guitar or records wirelessly- pairing Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids with your TV- Listen to your Nintendo Switch with your wireless headphones”

Beyond the auto or airline application this great little invention can be used in the gym, used in gaming, or on your boat. We even tried a wireless remote speaker and the sound was great!

Editor’s Note: Here is what might be happening to Bluetooth Audio – Bluetooth’s LE Audio allows better audio quality, hearing aid support – CNET


AIRBUS

Airbus SE announced that it expects production and assembly work to partially resume in France and Spain on Monday, 23 March following health and safety checks after the implementation of stringent measures. In addition, the Company is supporting efforts globally to tackle the COVID-19 crisis.

Airbus has carried out extensive work in coordination with its social partners to ensure the health and safety of its employees, while securing business continuity. The implementation of these measures required a temporary pause in production and assembly activities at the French and Spanish sites for a period of four days. Work stations will only re-open if they comply with the new health and safety measures in terms of hygiene, cleaning and self-distancing while improving the efficiency of operations under new working conditions.

The same measures are being deployed across all other sites without full interruption.

For other non-production activities globally, Airbus continues to support home-working where possible. Some employees will be asked to return to support business continuity following the implementation of these new measures. In February, the Airbus Final Assembly Line in Tianjin, China, reopened following a temporary production stoppage related to the coronavirus outbreak and is now operating efficiently.
Airbus is supporting those in the health, emergency and public services that rely on its aircraft, helicopters, satellites and services to accomplish their critical missions. In addition, in the past days, the Company has donated thousands of face masks to hospitals and public services around Europe and has started to use its test aircraft to obtain larger quantities from suppliers in China. A first flight with a test A330-800 aircraft has this weekend transported approximately 2 million masks from Tianjin back to Europe, of which the large majority will be donated to the Spanish and French authorities. Additional flights are planned to take place in the coming days.

  • “Health and safety is our number one priority at Airbus so the work stations at our sites in France and Spain will only re-open if they meet the required standards. I’d like to salute the strong commitment from our employees to ensure business continuity in close cooperation with our social partners and other stakeholders. At the same time we are doing all we can to support those on the frontline to fight the coronavirus and limit its spread. We try to live up to our values, humbled by the complexity of the situation, and contribute as much as we can to society in these very difficult times,” said Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury.

Airbus is committed to ensuring the health and safety of its people while maintaining delivery capability for its products and services to its customers

Also, Airbus SE announced measures to bolster its liquidity and balance sheet in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as it continues to assess the ongoing situation and the impact on its business, customers, suppliers and the industry as a whole.

Reflecting the Company’s prudent balance sheet policy and to ensure financial flexibility, Airbus’ management has received approval from the Board of Directors to: secure a new credit facility amounting to 15 billion Euro in addition to the existing 3 billion euro revolving credit facility; withdraw the 2019 dividend proposal of  1.80 euro per share with an overall cash value of approximately 1.4 billion euro; and suspend the voluntary top up in pension funding. Given the limited visibility due to the evolving COVID-19 situation, the 2020 guidance is withdrawn. Operational scenarios, including measures to minimize cash requirements, have been identified and will be activated depending on the further development of the pandemic.

With these decisions, the Company has significant liquidity available to cope with additional cash requirements related to the coronavirus. Liquidity resources previously standing at approximately 20 billion euro, comprising around 12 billion euro in financial assets at hand and around 8 billion euro in undrawn credit lines, were further bolstered by converting an existing 5 billion euro credit line into a new facility amounting to 15 billion euro. Available liquidity now amounts to approximately 30 billion euro.

By maintaining production, managing its resilient backlog, supporting its customers and securing financial flexibility for its operations, Airbus intends to secure business continuity for itself even in a protracted crisis. Safe and efficient air travel is a key backbone of global economic development and cultural exchange. Airbus therefore highly welcomes governmental efforts around the globe to stabilize this industry by supporting the financial health of its airline customers and its suppliers. Airbus continues to monitor the overall health of the industry.

Airbus has convened its 2020 Annual General Meeting in Amsterdam on 16 April. Due to the global outbreak of COVID-19, Airbus discourages physical attendance and strongly encourages shareholders to vote by proxy in line with public health and safety measures.


BOEING

Boeing announced several decisions to support the company as it navigates through the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring the company is positioned for the industry’s recovery. Decisions include:

  • CEO Dave Calhoun and Board Chairman Larry Kellner will forgo all pay until the end of the year.
  • The company will suspend its dividend until further notice.
  • Boeing will extend its pause of any share repurchasing until further notice. The company previously suspended its stock buyback program in April of 2019.
  • Boeing is drawing on all of its resources to sustain operations, support its workforce and customers, and maintain supply chain continuity through the COVID-19 crisis and for the long term.

Boeing announced a temporary suspension of production operations at its Puget Sound area facilities in light of the state of emergency in Washington state and the company’s continuous assessment of the accelerating spread of the coronavirus in the region. These actions are being taken to ensure the well-being of employees, their families and the local community, and will include an orderly shutdown consistent with the requirements of its customers. Boeing plans to begin reducing production activity today and projects the suspension of such operations to begin on Wednesday, March 25, at sites across the Puget Sound area. The suspension of production operations will last 14 days, during which Boeing will continue to monitor government guidance and actions on COVID-19 and its associated impacts on all company operations. During this time, we will be conducting additional deep cleaning activities at impacted sites and establishing rigorous criteria for return to work.
“This necessary step protects our employees and the communities where they work and live,” said Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun. “We continue to work closely with public health officials, and we’re in contact with our customers, suppliers and other stakeholders who are affected by this temporary suspension. We regret the difficulty this will cause them, as well as our employees, but it’s vital to maintain health and safety for all those who support our products and services, and to assist in the national effort to combat the spread of COVID-19,” Calhoun added.

Production employees should continue to report for their assigned shifts today and will receive guidance on their role in the suspension shutdown process. Puget Sound area-based employees who can work from home will continue to do so. Those who cannot work remotely will receive paid leave for the initial 10 working days of the suspension – double the company policy – which will provide coverage for the 14 calendar day suspension period.

“We will keep our employees, customers and supply chain top of mind as we continue to assess the evolving situation,” Calhoun said. “This is an unprecedented time for organizations and communities across the globe.”
When the suspension is lifted, Boeing will take an orderly approach to restarting production with a focus on safety, quality and meeting customer commitments. This will be a key step to enabling the aerospace sector to bridge to recovery. Boeing is working to minimize this suspension’s impact on the company’s ability to deliver and support its defense and space programs, and ensure the readiness of our defense customers to perform their vital missions. Boeing will work closely with those customers in the coming days to develop plans that ensure customers are supported throughout this period. Critical distribution operations in support of airline, government, and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) customers will continue.


OTHER NEWS

London | January 24, 2020–Technavio has been monitoring the global travel technologies market and it is poised to grow by USD 6.4 billion during 2019-2023, progressing at a CAGR of 9% during the forecast period. The report offers an up-to-date analysis regarding the current market scenario, latest trends and drivers, and the overall market environment.

Adoption of robotic process automation (RPA) has been instrumental in driving the growth of the market. Request a free sample report

Travel Technologies Market 2019-2023: Segmentation

Travel Technologies Market is segmented as below:

Product

  • GDS
  • Airline and hospitality IT Solutions

Geographic Segmentation

  • Americas
  • APAC
  • EMEA

To learn more about the global trends impacting the future of market research, download a free sample: https://www.technavio.com/talk-to-us?report=IRTNTR30318

Travel Technologies Market 2019-2023: Scope

Technavio presents a detailed picture of the market by the way of study, synthesis, and summation of data from multiple sources. Our travel technologies market report covers the following areas:

  • Travel Technologies Market size
  • Travel Technologies Market trends
  • Travel Technologies Market industry analysis

This study identifies widening application of AI in the Travel Industry as one of the prime reasons driving the travel technologies market growth during the next few years.

Travel Technologies Market 2019-2023: Vendor Analysis

We provide a detailed analysis of around 25 vendors operating in the travel technologies market, including some of the vendors such as Amadeus IT Group, Dolphins Dynamics, Expedia, Sabre and Travelport. Backed with competitive intelligence and benchmarking, our research reports on the travel technologies market are designed to provide entry support, customer profile and M&As as well as go-to-market strategy support.

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Travel Technologies Market 2019-2023: Key Highlights

  • CAGR of the market during the forecast period 2019-2023
  • Detailed information on factors that will assist travel technologies market growth during the next five years
  • Estimation of the travel technologies market size and its contribution to the parent market
  • Predictions on upcoming trends and changes in consumer behavior
  • The growth of the travel technologies market
  • Analysis of the market’s competitive landscape and detailed information on vendors
  • Comprehensive details of factors that will challenge the growth of travel technologies market vendors

Tourist interest in sporting events in new markets is increasing rapidly and Sports Events 365 has signed agreements with incoming travel operators in order to tap into the huge potential.

November 19, 2019–Sports Events 365 (www.sportsevents365.com), the provider of tickets for sports and music events worldwide, is expanding its reach beyond the company’s traditional markets to encompass countries where there is growing interest of tourists in sporting events. At the recent World Travel Market in London in early November Sports Events 365 signed agreements with incoming travel operators that represent around 20 different countries in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The countries include Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Croatia, Greece, the three Baltic states, Slovenia, Qatar and Morocco. The entry into these new markets is part of the company’s ongoing expansion beyond its main 11 traditional markets: the U.S., Spain, Italy, France, Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, Russia, Turkey and Serbia.

“There is growing interest by tourists to take in a football match or other sporting events in countries that are outside of our traditional markets,” said Sefi Donner, founder and CEO of Sports Events 365. He noted that countries like Argentina, Brazil, and Croatia, which have produced some of the world’s top players like Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Neymar, Roberto Firmino and Luka Modric, have witnessed a sharp increase in demand by tourists to attend matches. This is also the case with other countries taking part in the Champions and Europa Leagues matches.

The new markets are expected to make a substantial contribution to the company already in 2020. “We’re looking for increased sales next year and a further expansion going forward,” predicted Donner. In addition to football, there is interest in basketball and tennis matches in these new markets.

November 6, 2019–Through AlphaWise, we conducted a global survey of 200+ corporate travel managers responsible for airline negotiations. Overall, 2020 budget and demand growth are expected to step-up moderately.

We highlight the following key takeaways:

  1. Global Corporate Volumes and Pricing are Decelerating for Air Travel. Respondents in our survey anticipate ~3.4% global passenger volume growth (response-weighted), which is below last year’s ~5.1%. And on the airline pricing side of the equation, it is seeing a similar step-down with growth of ~1.3% versus the previous year at ~1.8% (both response-weighted).
  2. Travel Budgets Should Grow Slower Into 2020. Over the past year, corporate travel revenues have remained steady despite the volatile backdrop. That said, growth in budget expectations for air and hotel are set to be lower with respondents expecting ~4.0% growth into 2020 compared to last year’s forecast of ~5.7%.
  3. North America Domestic Remains the Leading Region. Global volume and pricing expectations vary quite a bit across the relevant regional exposures for US airlines. Specifically, North America Domestic is the strongest region again this year given its volume and pricing expectations at ~2.3% and ~1.9%, respectively, followed by LatAm, Transatlantic, then Asia Pacific.
  4. Premium Policies are Becoming More Stringent, But with Discounts Steady. Along with lower budget expectations, premium travel policies are becoming more conservative with a ~2x increase in managers pointing to more stringent policies in 2020. And on discounts, they remain steady and within the historical range of 10-15%.
  5. Delta is Still Best-in-Class. DAL has consistently screened as the preferred airline amongst corporate travel managers and again held this position based on performance across all polled categories. As such, we expect the airline to hold off any material share shift in the near-term, though note that UAL has made some gains in its relative positioning.
  6. Declining LCC Corporate Share Reversed. This year found corporate travel managers reversing the trend of decreasing LCC use with an up-tick YoY. Specifically, the travel budget allocated for low cost carriers increased to ~12% from the prior year’s ~9%. Overall, we view this trend as a potential disrupter for the Legacies over the long-term.

Read more here.

  • Runzheimer Report Reveals Insights on Business Travel Expenses; Hawaii Ranks Most Expensive State for Business Travel

Boston | October 3, 2019–Runzheimer, the premier relocation and living costs intelligence solution, powered by Motus, today released its 2019 Cost of Business Travel Report, which helps organizations and professionals understand the expenses associated with business travel across the U.S. The report revealed that business travel costs have increased steadily in recent years and predicts that this trend will continue in 2020. Specifically, airfare is anticipated to increase between a half of a percent and one percent, ground transportation is expected to rise two percent and hotel prices are likely to jump two to three percent.

Motus found that the average business trip costs $1,293, and although many people think of airfare as the most expensive part of a typical business trip, it only makes up 34 percent of the cost. Lodging (28 percent), meals (19 percent) and ground transportation (18 percent) combine to make up the majority of a business traveler’s expenses today.

“Travel is one of the most difficult expense categories to control. By understanding the costs of business travel in detail, organizations can gain deeper insight into their T&E expenses,” said Ken Robinson, market research analyst for Motus. “These insights can be extremely valuable to a wide range of professionals. For example, finance professionals can forecast more accurate travel budgets, event planners can understand the true costs of the locations they choose and government officials can make sure that their cities are competitive destinations to attract business travelers.”

The report also reveals location-specific insights for business travelers and their organizations to keep in mind as they plan business travel, as high cost areas can range as much as 55 percent higher than the U.S. average, due to price variations related to lodging, meals, airfare and ground transportation.

The top ten most expensive states for business travel, ranked from most to least expensive, are:

  1. Hawaii
  2. Massachusetts
  3. California
  4. Vermont
  5. Washington
  6. Rhode Island
  7. New Jersey
  8. New Hampshire
  9. Connecticut
  10. New York

The cities of New York, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle and San Jose are the top five most expensive cities to travel to, in order. These cities are likely to cost up to 55 percent more than the average destination when compared to cities such as Denver and Cleveland. Many of these cities are expensive for business travel because of high hotel costs, but other costs can make a trip pricey. For example, New York City has higher meal and hotel costs, but below average car rental costs. Boston has above-average costs in all categories.

To access the full report, please visit: http://in.motus.com/2019-business-travel-costs-report

Micro vacations and trips planned with shorter notice are on trend for 2019

Riverwoods, IL | May 24, 2019–More Americans will pack their bags for a summer vacation this year, but most are keeping their trips short, according to a new national survey from Discover. The survey found 71 percent of consumers plan to take a vacation this summer (from May through September), compared to just 58 percent in 2018.

The survey found that most consumers plan to take micro vacations (shorter trips of one to three days) this summer. Fifty-five percent of respondents said their summer trips will last one to three days, compared to 21 percent who said four to six days, 12 percent who said one week, 6 percent who said 8 to 13 days and 5 percent who said their trip will last two weeks or more.

In addition, consumers are planning their summer vacations with relatively shorter notice. Forty-six percent of respondents said they plan their trips three months or less in advance, compared to 26 percent who said four to six months, 11 percent who said seven to nine months, 10 percent who said 10 to 12 months and 8 percent who said more than one year in advance.

Younger Generations Travel Differently

While more consumers plan to travel overall, younger generations are more likely to take a vacation this summer than older generations, as 77 percent of Gen Z and 76 percent of millennials are planning summer trips, compared to 67 percent of baby boomers and 60 percent of the Silent Generation.

When it comes to accommodations, younger generations, 21 percent of Gen Z and 16 percent of millennials, are more open to staying in home rentals compared to other generations, 8 percent of baby boomers and 5 percent of the Silent Generation.

Younger generations also have different priorities about what they want most out of their vacations. Twenty-five percent of Gen Z and 25 percent of millennials are looking to spend time with their friends and family, while 41 percent of baby boomers want to relax on their trips.

Younger consumers are also most likely to splurge on activities while on vacation (36 percent of millennials and 30 percent of Gen Z), whereas older consumers said they would rather splurge on food and dining (43 percent of the Silent Generation and 37 percent of baby boomers).

Consumers Prefer to Use Credit Cards When Traveling

Credit cards are the leading form of payment while on vacation, with 39 percent saying they prefer to use their credit card to other forms of payment when traveling.

More consumers plan to cash in credit card points for their summer vacations, as 18 percent will use points entirely to pay for their trips, up from 13 percent in 2018. Younger generations are more likely to use points for their vacations than older generations – 38 percent of millennials and 35 percent of Gen Z, compared to 28 percent of Gen X, 18 percent of baby boomers and 15 percent of the Silent Generation.

There is a knowledge gap when it comes to booking trips with points, as 41 percent of consumers feel they do not know what they are doing when they book trips with credit card points. When asked how they feel about doing so, 29 percent of Gen X and 27 percent of millennials said they feel restricted in their ability to book because points dictate their airline and hotel choices.

“The core value of a travel credit card should be simplicity, especially in earning rewards while traveling, or redeeming your rewards to take a road trip or fly cross-country to visit family and friends,” said Laks Vasudevan, vice president of card programs, strategy and marketing at Discover. “That’s why our Discover it® Miles card offers a simple rewards structure – 1.5x Miles on every dollar spent on purchases. Plus no airline restrictions or blackout dates. You can easily redeem Miles as a statement credit for travel purchases, all without an annual fee1.”

It’s that time of year again! From 02 to 04 April, the Aircraft Interiors Expo 2019 is being held in Hamburg // Crystal Cabin Award ceremony on 2 April

Hamburg, Germany | March 28, 2019– For the international aviation industry, it is one of THE high- lights in the annual calendar: the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, the leading global trade show for everything to do with aircraft cabins, passenger experience and on- board products. And in 2019, the event is celebrating its 20th birthday. Thousands of airline managers, manufacturers, suppliers and journalists from all over the world will gather in the German city from 02 to 04 April, to view and discuss the latest trends in aircraft seats and in-flight entertainment at more than 500 stands. The absolute vanguard amongst the innovative concepts this year will be crowned by an international expert jury on the evening of 2 April at the Crystal Cabin Awards, an initiative of Hamburg Aviation.

Hamburg’s First Mayor to visit the Aircraft Interiors Expo for the first time

This year, Hamburg’s First Mayor, Dr Peter Tschentscher, will be visiting the Aircraft Interiors Expo for the first time. During a tour of the event on the morning of Wednes- day 3 April, he will get an overview of Hamburg’s participants in the world’s biggest aircraft interiors show. The northern German metropolitan region is considered the world’s most important site for this rapidly growing segment. It is not just major corporations such as Airbus and Lufthansa Technik that have concentrated their world- wide activities in the field here. Dozens of suppliers of all sizes, research institutions, such as the ZAL Center of Applied Aeronautical Research and, on the university side, the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences have a focus on aircraft interiors here.

Hamburg’s First Mayor, Dr Peter Tschentscher, comments: “The final assembly and delivery of one in every six airliners worldwide takes place in Hamburg. More than 40,000 highly qualified specialists work in the civil aviation industry in Hamburg. Some 3,000 of them are in the field of cabin development. The Aircraft Interiors Expo underlines our status as an important location for this field. The Customer Definition Center at Airbus has contributed to this development by allowing the airlines to tailor their cabins with the latest technology. And the ZAL Center of Applied Aeronautical Research also plays a role with innovative developments that optimise cabins and associated technologies.”

Boom industry: the growing importance of aircraft interiors

Worldwide, air transport is growing rapidly, and already, around the globe, more than 120,000 flights take off every day, carrying over 10 million passengers. The atmos- phere and services on board are increasingly serving the role of a “business card” for airlines, especially in the premium segment. At the same time, every square centimeter of space is precious. If the aircraft cabin were an apartment, the monthly rental would equate to some 1,400 euros per square meter. Just how to increase passenger comfort in a tightly packed Economy cabin therefore continues to be one of the most important areas for products at the show.

Crystal Cabin Award crowns the best concepts of the year

The leading international innovations and concepts this year will be selected at the Crystal Cabin Awards, to be presented in eight categories at a formal ceremony in the Great Stock Exchange Hall of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, on the evening of 2 April. The independent industry prize, an initiative of Hamburg Aviation, is one of the most coveted honours in the aviation industry for airlines, manufacturers, suppliers and universities alike, and it is closely watched by media from all over the world. The guest list for the evening event this year is full of famous names, too. Alongside political heavyweights such as Hamburg’s First Mayor, Dr Peter Tschentscher and the Coordinator of Aerospace Policy for the Federal German Government, Thomas Jarzombek, there are also several CEOs from the aviation industry,y along with top stars such as model Toni Garrn and Emirates President Sir Tim Clark. On Wednesday 3 April, at 2:30 p.m., all victors will be at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in person to present their concepts in the Cabin Space LIVE Auditorium on the 1st floor of Hall B4. Throughout the Expo, the Crystal Cabin Award Gallery is located here, displaying all of this year’s finalists.

Strong Hamburg presence amongst the exhibitors

The Aircraft Interiors Expo may be highly international, but Hamburg is all the more present. At its stand in Hall B5 (5A20), Airbus is focusing on matters including long-haul comfort, using the A320 range of aircraft as an example. A major portion of the final assembly for these best-selling aircraft takes place in Hamburg. The A320 family was conceived as a short and medium-haul airliner. However, the new A321LR (“Long Range”) version can serve lower-volume long-haul routes without passengers having to sacrifice comfort. The Airbus Airspace cabin concept incorporates additional elements to improve well-being on board, for example with customised lighting scenarios and more spatial depth.

The Aircraft Interiors Expo is an important event for Lufthansa Technik (Hall B6, 6B80), too. The company, headquartered in Hamburg, now provides maintenance support for 20 percent of the world’s airliners, giving it plenty of experience of where there is room for improvement in the cabin. Examples include the galley area, where flight attendants regularly get chilled feet and colds because of the unheated floors, or the lack of USB ports for passengers to charge their smartphones in flight. The Lufthansa subsidiary has solutions for both of these concerns.

Amongst this year’s biggest exhibitors, once again, is Diehl Aviation, a supplier active in the Hamburg market (Hall B7, 7D20). Alongside a walk-through cabin model that brings innovative lighting scenarios and digital assistant systems to life, Diehl’s booth is focused on the essential matter of water on board. A retrofit antibacterial filter for the lavatory, the UV-LED Water Disinfection Unit, uses ultraviolet light to ensure that for the first time, passengers can safely drink tap water.

Krueger Aviation and zweigrad Design present a complete re-invention of the on- board lavatory in their multicultural aircraft toilet. The re-thought lavatory can be used in a sitting position or, in line with Asian cultures, squatting. The diverse utility of the room is completed with a seating area for getting changed prior to landing and a large baby changing table with animated figures. (Hall B6, Stand 6B70). Pretty much right next door, but with a very different focus, Airbus partner Altran will for the first time be demonstrating its Printed Electrics technology that won a Crystal Cabin Award in 2018, with live printing of electronic wiring for the cabin. Hamburg companies Silver-Atena and jetlite are presenting the jetlite Controller in Hall B1 (1A58). The device uses scientific algorithms and current flight data to calculate the optimal lighting scenario for the cabin. This has been proven to reduce the sense of jetlag.

The first point of contact for all Hamburg businesses and organisations this year is once again the Hamburg Aviation stand in Hall B6, 6B90, a shared presence with the ZAL Center of Applied Aeronautical Research. This is part of the “Hanse Pavilion”, the largest joint stand at the Aircraft Interiors Expo, organised by the Hanse-Aerospace supplier association. The Hamburg Aviation cluster is also politically active and will be holding a reception during the trade fair for a delegation of Canadian aerospace representatives, including the Minister of Economy for Québec, Pierre Fitzgibbon. The delegation is spend- ing the entire week in northern Germany.

Aircraft Interiors Expo celebrates its 20th birthday

The Aircraft Interiors Expo, organised by Reed Exhibitions, is celebrating its 20th birthday in 2019. It has become part of the larger Passenger Experience Week, which begins on Monday 1 April with the Passenger Experience Conference (PEC) and continues with “AIX” and two other parallel trade shows, the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) and Passenger Technology Solutions (PTS). All these events are taking place at at the Hamburg Messe trade fair site.

 

January 23, 2019– Starting Jan. 23, on Delta flights around the globe boarding zones will be renamed to reflect the branded fare purchased, while still prioritizing customer loyalty.

The new branded boarding order introduces additional boarding groups, encouraging fewer customers to line up in the gate area at any given time and easing crowding during the boarding process. This marks the latest evolution in Delta’s multi-year work to bring consistency, simplicity, clarity and less stress to the gate and boarding experience, efforts that have driven all-time high customer experience scores.

Here’s what customers can expect on day one:

Previous mobile boarding pass

On boarding passes:

  • Customers will see the branded fare purchased, or Sky Priority, on their mobile or printed boarding pass – this indicates their boarding group.

At the gate:

  • Instead of featuring numbered zones on gate screens and signs, and in boarding announcements, customers will see and/or hear the branded fare they purchased or Sky Priority, letting them know it’s time to board.
  • For most customers, their place in the boarding order doesn’t change – the new name simply makes it easier to recognize. SkyMiles Medallion Members* and eligible Delta SkyMiles American Express Credit Card Members will continue to receive priority boarding.
  • Gate area boarding screen

    Customers will also see new color accents distinguishing each of Delta’s fare products and Sky Priority on screens and signage at the gate.

On the Fly Delta app and delta.com:

  • Those same new colors associated with each branded fare will be visible to a small number of customers in the digital shopping experience to start. A gradual roll out to all customers on delta.com and the Fly Delta app in 2019 is in accordance with best practices for large digital changes. And, this phased approach will allow Delta to gather customer feedback for continuous improvements.

Delta.com mobile

Branded boarding builds on Delta’s latest boarding enhancement, the addition of zone 4 in 2018 for Basic Economy customers. This change resulted in better customer satisfaction scores in every zone, with dramatic improvement for the reduced number of customers in zone 3 and double digit improvement for Main Cabin zones.

Delta continues to put boarding under the microscope, looking at new ways to organize and test concepts – such as the use of digital screens instead of static boarding signage, like pillars. To help keep customers informed, the airline has also been a leader in adding larger display screens above the door to Jetways and pushing boarding notifications from the Fly Delta app.

Traffic growth in the region will generate demand for over 1200 new aircraft

Moscow | November 20, 2018– According to Airbus’ Global Market Forecast, unveiled at the Wings of the Future conference in Moscow, Russia & CIS’s airlines will need some 1220 new aircraft* valued at US$175 billion in the upcoming 20 years (2018-2037). This means that the passenger fleet in the region will almost double from 857 aircraft in service today to over 1700 by 2037. Over the next 20 years, passenger traffic in Russia & CIS region will grow at the average rate of 4.1% annually with Russia being the major contributor to this growth. By 2037 the propensity for air travel in Russia will more than double.

In the Russia & CIS region, in the Small segment typically covering the space where most of today’s single-aisle aircraft compete, there is a requirement for 998 new passenger aircraft; In the Medium segment, for missions requiring additional capacity and range flexibility, represented by smaller widebodies and longer-range single-aisle aircraft, Airbus forecasts demand for 140 passenger aircraft. For additional capacity and range flexibility, in the Large segment where most A350s are present today, there is a need for 39 aircraft. In the Extra-Large segment, typically reflecting high capacity and long range missions by the largest aircraft types including the A350-1000 and the A380, Airbus forecasts demand for 44 passenger aircraft.

Airbus’ GMF foresees that in the next 20 years airlines in the Russia & CIS region will continue to renew their fleets by introducing more new fuel-efficient models, while gradually phasing out previous generation aircraft.  The doubling in the fleet will require over 23,000 new pilots and 27,960 additional technical specialists.

“We see growth in the air transport sector in Russia & CIS. Tourism and business remain the key drivers resulting in an increased demand for new generation and more fuel-efficient aircraft. For over 25 years Airbus has been supporting its Russia & CIS customers in their fleet development needs, offering the most advanced, efficient and comprehensive aircraft family. We look forward to seeing more new Airbus deliveries in the upcoming years, including the A220, our bestselling A320neo Family and the A350,” said Julien Franiatte, Head of Country Russia, Airbus.

The passenger traffic growth in terms of Revenue Passenger Kilometers (RPK) to, from and within the Russia & CIS region is forecast to increase at 4.1% per year on average over the next 20 years. The region’s highest traffic growth is expected to be on international routes to Latin America (+5.9%), Asia-Pacific (+5.4%), Middle East (+5.1 %) and North America (+4.5%).

As of end October 2018, almost 400 single-aisle and widebody aircraft were in operation in Russia & CIS, with over 330 of these in Russia alone.

 

Panama City | November 20, 2018– Latin American air travel is expected to double in the next two decades thanks to anticipated growth of the region’s middle class from 350 million people to 520 million by 2037, and evolving airline business models making travel more accessible.

Passenger traffic in the region has more than doubled since 2002 and is expected to continue growing over the next two decades — increasing from 0.4 trips per capita in 2017 to nearly 0.9 trips per capita in 2037. Historically, domestic traffic was the fastest growing segment, but in 2017 intra-regional traffic grew faster. Less than half of the region’s top 20 cities are connected by one daily flight, creating a great potential for the region’s airlines to build intra-regional traffic.

According to the latest Airbus Global Market Forecast (GMF), Latin America and the Caribbean region will need 2,720 new passenger and freighter aircraft to meet this rising demand. Valued at US$349 billion, this forecast accounts for 2,420 small and 300 medium, large and extra-large aircraft. This implies that the region’s in-service fleet will almost double from the 1,420 aircraft in-service today to 3,200 in the next two decades. Of these aircraft, 940 will be for replacement of older-generation aircraft, 1,780 will be accounted for growth, and 480 are expected to remain in service.

“We continue to see growth in the region’s air transport sector, despite some economic challenges. With two of the world’s top 13 traffic flows expected to involve Latin America, and traffic expected to double, we are very optimistic that the region will continue to be resilient. Also, with intra and inter-continental demand rising, Latin American carriers will be in a very strong position to increase their footprint in the global long haul market segment.” said Arturo Barreira, President of Airbus Latin America and Caribbean, at the ALTA Airline Leaders Forum.

 

In 2017 Panama City joined Bogota, Buenos Aires, Lima, Mexico City, Santiago and Sao Paulo in the list of aviation megacities in Latin America. By 2037 Cancun and Rio de Janeiro are expected to be added to the list. These aviation megacities will account for 150,000 long-haul passengers daily.

Airbus has sold 1,200 aircraft, has a backlog of nearly 600 and nearly 700 in operation throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, representing a 56 percent market share of the in-service fleet. Since 1994, Airbus has secured nearly 70 percent of net orders in the region.

Leveraging India’s Aadhaar system will create the world’s most efficient travel system

Air Transport IT Summit, Jaipur, India | March 22, 2018– With its leading Smart PathTM biometric solution for ID management now rolled out globally, air transport IT provider SITA is well poised to deliver a seamless, paperless travel experience for passengers across India.

SITA has already shown the benefits of using biometric technology to automate passenger identity checks at airports across the world – from the USA to Australia – and is well positioned to help unlock the full benefits of seamless, biometric travel across India.

Maneesh Jaikrishna, SITA Vice President Indian Subcontinent, Eastern & Southern Africa, speaking at the Air Transport IT Summit in Jaipur, said: “Leveraging India’s national Aadhaar biometric identity system – one of the biggest in the world – together with our proven common-use and Smart PathTM technology, SITA will be able to deliver a seamless biometric experience across all airlines and airports – both domestic and international – in India. This would allow passengers to use their biometric identity no matter where they travel.”

SITA is already successfully helping airports and airlines incorporate biometrics into their existing infrastructure and government systems. According to Biometrics for Better Travel: An ID Management Revolution, a SITA report published this week, airlines and airports are increasingly investing in various forms of biometric technology. Over the next three years, 63% of airports and 43% of airlines plan to invest in biometric ID management solutions.

In the USA, SITA is using facial biometrics to help passengers flying with British Airways from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to London Gatwick to quickly board where all that is needed is a photo – no passport, no boarding card. The system integrates the US Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP’s) and airline’s IT systems to authorize boarding while completing necessary US exit checks in a single process. SITA is providing a similar solution to JetBlue at Boston’s Logan Airport.

At Australia’s Brisbane Airport, SITA has introduced its Smart Path™ technology which allows passengers to register their biometric details at a self-service kiosk at check-in and then, when ready to board, use an automated boarding gate to be verified using face recognition technology to access the aircraft.

SITA’s vision for the future strongly supports India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation’s decision to work with the air transport industry to create a “digitally unified flying experience”. Citizens’ national biometric identification cards and foreigner’s passports could be linked with the databases of airlines, airports and other stakeholders to deliver a seamless, secure travel experience at every step in the journey.

Hani El-Assaad, SITA President, Middle East, India and Africa, said: “In many respects, India is leading the way with the use of biometrics in all walks of life. We feel this presents an opportunity for the Government of India to work with the air transport industry and lead the way to drive new efficiencies in passenger processing and establish India as the world’s most efficient travel system.”

Aadhaar, India’s biometric identity system, has over one billion enrolled members. Indian passengers have shown greater willingness to use biometrics to speed up their journey through the airport. Research published in SITA’s  2017 Passenger IT Trends Survey showed that 70% of passengers in India said they would definitely use biometrics if given the option, removing the need to show a passport or boarding card at key points in the airport. This was well above the global average of 57%.

Maneesh Jaikrishna, said: “Many travelers are comfortable with the use of biometrics and see the benefits of using them throughout their journey. This aligns perfectly with the need to find more efficient ways to manage rising passenger numbers. There is little doubt that this technology is the key to resolving India’s constraints on airport infrastructure.”

India is expected to see passenger numbers grow by 337 million over the next 20 years to 2036, more than tripling from the 141 million passengers in 2016, according to IATA’s 20-year Air Passenger Forecast.

SITA automated boarding gates speed passengers through boarding using secure biometrics

Orlando, Florida | March 8, 2018– Passengers flying with British Airways from Orlando International Airport (MCO) to London Gatwick are enjoying a secure and seamless departure with new biometric boarding at the gate. A quick photo is all that is needed to board the international flight – no passport, no boarding card – thanks to innovative technology. SITA, the global air transport IT provider, integrated automated boarding gates with the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and airline’s IT systems to allow the necessary checks and authorize boarding.

This is a joint initiative by the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA), British Airways and CBP to incorporate the US biometric departure (exit) check for passengers as smoothly as possible. SITA, using its extensive airline and airport expertise, has ensured fast and easy implementation for the airport and airline. By merging the usual boarding procedures with the CBP biometric exit check, SITA is delivering a smooth experience for passengers.  A quick photograph taken at the gate is used to confirm passengers’ identities and authorization to travel.

John Newsome, Chief Information Officer, GOAA, said: “This innovative boarding process is already proving popular with passengers. They simply look at the camera and within seconds the gate opens and they can board the flight. It is easy, fast and most importantly, secure. While we are currently using SITA’s gates for biometric exit with British Airways, they are common-use boarding gates so they can be easily used by other airlines at MCO.”

Raoul Cooper, Digital Airport Design Manager, British Airways, said: “Our customers are always our first priority and we want to make their journey as smooth as possible. Working closely with SITA at Orlando has allowed us to explore various ways of incorporating the US biometric exit check.  Together we have designed a really smooth and secure departure process for our customers, including children, as they leave Orlando. This complements the learning and insight we have gained in Los Angeles where a similar technology trial is under way.”

The option to board at Orlando by simply looking into a camera is available now to British Airways passengers on flight BA 2036 to London Gatwick. The trial will run for up to 90 days. Participation is optional and passengers can choose to provide their passport and other documents to an agent to board the flight. During the early days of the trial, the response from passengers has been very positive with nearly 100% of passengers opting to simply look in the camera and board the plane.

Diana Einterz, SITA President, Americas, said: “We are working closely with the US CBP, airlines and airports to test different ways of doing the US biometric exit check. This includes our recent award-winning work with JetBlue at Boston Logan International Airport, and British Airways at Los Angeles International Airport. We have designed this solution to meet the needs of all parties. It is based on industry-standard common-use gates so it can be used by any other airline at Orlando and by airlines at any other common-use airport.”

The use of biometrics is growing globally and SITA is a world-leader using biometrics to deliver secure seamless journeys for airline passengers. SITA Smart Path, which is in use in Brisbane Airport, Australia, provides a walkthrough experience from check-in to the aircraft door helping passengers fast-track through the airport.

SITA provides self-service solutions at every step of the passenger journey from check-in to boarding at airports across the world. More than 165 airlines use SITA’s passenger processing applications while its common-use systems board more than 100 million passengers per year. Today, SITA provides border management solutions to more than 40 governments across the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Einterz added: “SITA is the global provider to the air transport industry and we develop our solutions for airlines and airports so that they are scalable and work in multiple environments worldwide. Our integration of the automated boarding gates is being investigated with US CBP, British Airways and Orlando International Airport for speed and efficiency of passenger processing as they do accurate border checks. Our performance analysis of this trial will help all our partners evaluate how best they can use biometrics to meet their individual operational needs.”

Greece | March 6, 2018– Responding to the ever-growing expectations and demands of the traveling public, Hermes Airports announces the introduction of a new online system, displaying the routes available to and from Larnaka and Pafos international airports; connecting the Cypriot airports with the rest of the world.

The mentioned service is available on Hermes Airports’ website, under the section “Flight Search” and the direct link:

http://www.hermesairports.com/en/larnakahome/destination-map-lca. Visitors to our website using this new service have the possibility to locate all the available routes offered from/to any destination around the globe, both through direct and connecting flights.

By simply adding the travel dates and desired destination via an automatic research, the system displays all the possible options or routes available to the public and transfers the user directly to the linked airline and its website in order to either to book a ticket or to further explore his/her choices, based on the airline’s specific flight schedule.

With this new service, Hermes Airports website is upgraded, offering a complete platform of information to the public which includes a lot of useful information regarding departures and arrivals, options concerning the airlines and their routes and also a variety of information regarding the services offered by Larnaka and Pafos airports and material regarding the tourism product of Cyprus.

 

Vision-Box has just implemented a paperless biometric self-boarding
solution to expedite passenger flow and improve traveler experience


Princeton, NJ | December 20, 2017–
Los Angeles Airport is trialing an advanced biometric self-boarding solution by Vision-Box to clear travelers flying out of the USA in a contactless, quick and secure way.
The new passenger flow solution allows travelers to board their aircraft in just a few seconds simply by looking into a high-resolution face capture system at the traveler- friendly flow-control gateway. No need to present their travel document or boarding pass anymore. The system deployed by Vision-Box captures a live, high quality image of the traveler’s unique biometric facial traits, for US Customs and Border Protection to match it against the passenger’s file containing the digital facial token captured at the initial immigration process. This process permits as well to virtualize the process of sending the boarding-pass details to the Airline Departure Control System, using face as a token to reconcile the passenger and his flight. After assuring the identity and eligibility of the passenger on that specific flight, the gateway then opens and the traveler can swiftly board the aircraft.

The solution combines an effective human-factor centric design along with key security features, such as biometric data capture of superior quality in a complex environment in seconds. This combination consequently delivers high-performance reliable match against the authorities’ biometric database, pre-processed by Vision-Box anti-spoofing and liveness checks technology. In spite of the fact that the solution is ready to rely solely on biometrics, it accommodates other possible workflows that include boarding-pass scan, seat re-assignment or multiple additional verification modalities.

Security, safety, efficiency, and a unique, traveler-centric experience are the cornerstone of the project developed in the scope of a partnership between LAX and Vision-Box, supported by US Customs and Border Protection Agency under the umbrella of the US Biometric Exit trial program. British Airways was the first airline to begin expediting boarding procedures using the new contactless technology.

Justin Erbacci, chief innovation and technology officer at Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), the airport oversight and operations department, said, “This industry-first deployment of innovative solutions from the US Customs and Border Protection and Vision-Box, shows the amazing potential of using biometrics to speed up the boarding process while maintaining safety and security. We have been very impressed with the results thus far, and love to see the passengers’ excitement at being some of the first in the world to use facial recognition”.

Miguel Leitmann, Chief Executive Officer and Founder at Vision-Box explained the reasons for success: “Vision-Box made use of state-of- the-art biometric technology, able to deliver high quality data that drastically enhance matching accuracy, sustained by in-house developed Deep Machine Learning engines for superior facial capture. The results present a solution that addresses current security, efficiency and flow-control challenges in a relevant, revolutionary way. We are very proud to have come up with an industry- changing solution that all stakeholders involved in the process rely on. In the end, it’s about collaboratively raising the security and efficiency standards while eliminating obstacles from the traveler’s way, offering frictionless interactions and the best experience to guests until they’re comfortably seating in the aircraft.

The new contactless platform has been installed on three stands of Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles Airport and will be tested by a number of other airlines after New Year’s Eve.

Travelers expect mobile services and biometrics to speed up their journey 

Mumbai | November 23, 2017–As passengers in India become more familiar with the use of technology – particularly mobile – they expect to use it more on their airline journey. This is according to the 2017 SITA Passenger IT Trends Survey, a global survey released by IT provider SITA and co-sponsored by Air Transport World.

While the use of technology among Indian airline passengers remains high at check-in (87%) and booking (52%), 2017 saw tremendous growth in usage at other points in the journey. The research showed while adoption remains low, self-bag drop usage climbed to 21% from 12% in 2016.

Passengers are also demanding new mobile services with 83% saying that they would definitely use flight updates on their mobile. And they would use their mobile for baggage services too: 82% would report mishandled bags and 79% would track their bags in real-time. This comes as no surprise with more than one billion Indians using at least one mobile device in 2016 of which 300 million are using a smart device[1].

Maneesh Jaikrishna, SITA Vice President Indian Subcontinent, Eastern & Southern Africa said: “In India, travelers are increasingly demanding the use of self-service and mobile technology in the airport to speed up their journey. This expectation, in many cases, is running ahead of availability in Indian airports today.”

The research shows 54% of passengers would rather opt to use self-bag drop than go to an airline check-in counter, compared to 33% globally and well ahead of current usage.

Jaikrishna said: “This is good news for the industry as it provides airports and airlines the opportunity to fully benefit from technology to speed up the journey and drive operational efficiencies, helping them meet the demands of rapidly growing passenger numbers across the country.”

India is expected to see passenger numbers grow by 337 million over the next 20 years to 2036, more than tripling from the 141 million passengers in 2016.2

Another area that is gaining the attention of passengers is the use of biometrics. India’s national biometric identity system is the largest in the world with over one billion enrolled members and Indian passengers have shown greater willingness to use biometrics to speed up their journey through the airport. In 2017, 70% of passengers in India said they would definitely use biometrics if given the option, removing the need to show a passport or boarding card at key points in the airport. This was well above the global average of 57%.

India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation is working with the air transport industry to create a “digitally unified flying experience” where citizens’ national biometric identification cards and foreigner’s passports are optionally linked with the databases of airlines, airports and other stakeholders to deliver a seamless, paperless travel experience at every step in the journey.

Jaikrishna said: “Many travelers are comfortable with the use of biometrics and see the benefits of using them on their travels. This aligns perfectly with the need to find more efficient ways to manage rising passenger numbers with current resources. There is little doubt that technology is the key to resolving India’s constraints on airport infrastructure.”

The survey was conducted across seven Indian airports, representing 71% of passengers in the country.

As you probably know, the Trump administration is considering banning laptops from the passenger cabins of all international flights to and from the US, and homeland security secretary John Kelly was quoted as saying when asked if he was going to ban all laptops on all flights to and from the US: “I might,” he said. The existing ban set in place earlier this year affects some 50 flights per day from 10 cities, mostly Middle Eastern, such as the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Turkey.  Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security introduced a restriction on personal electronic devices in March, mandating anything larger than cellphones or smartphones be sent via the traveller’s baggage – so no tablets either. Clearly this does not affect airline provided tablets for IFEC, as Emirates is loaning tablets to passengers in upper classes, obviously keeping the the folks in front happy as their laptops/tablets ride in their suitcases down below.

Currently, several news outlets report that the U.S. is considering extending the ban to other locations, including Europe. Ostensibly, airlines and countries worldwide could do the same. In fact, IFExpress has heard that Australia is presently considering a ban as well. The folks at Digital Trans noted: “Kelly added that Homeland Security planned to “raise the bar for – aviation security much higher than it is now,” and spoke of “new technologies down the road,” though declined to offer any details.” Furthermore, among the enhanced security measures that will be forthcoming will likely be tighter screening of carry-on items to allow Transport Security Administration agents to discern problematic items in tightly stuffed bags so we all will probably be affected – laptop or not. Hey, this ban could end up way bigger than anyone imagined.

However, not everyone is sold on the restrictions and this was noted recently in Aviation Week – “In a statement May 23, AAPA (Association of Asia Pacific Airlines) director general Andrew Herdman said, “The ripple effects of such measures, and their proposed wider expansion, threaten to disrupt the global economy and impose far greater costs on society with no tangible public security benefits. This would only serve to further the aims of the terrorists, who measure their success by how much society over-reacts to their provocations. Rather than focus on generalized screening of innocent passengers, past experience with evolving threats and terrorist plots repeatedly highlight the critical importance of effective intelligence gathering and analysis.” Screening may be fine, but still one bad device could cause a lot of cabin damage –  and all it takes is one.

Many say that the ban expansion will force a lot of passengers to send their laptop and tablets to their destination via luggage in the hold, or just leave them at home. IFExpress sees several potential issues with this scenario. Firstly,  large quantities of laptop batteries in the aircraft hold could potentially increase the risk of combustibility, which we all know has been an issue – and not just for laptops (think back to last year with the Galaxy 7)! After all, Lithium batteries can fail. But even beyond that some travelers have told us that they won’t ship laptops in luggage because of  the potential for theft – especially in some parts of Eastern Europe, Africa, and other locations. Additionally, if you do carry your laptop in your baggage, you might want to also carry a copy of the PC sales receipt with you as well, because if the bag is “lost”, you need proof of it’s value to get repaid – be sure to check out the rest of the article as it is pretty good as well!

However, not everybody agrees that laptops are the big bad device onboard and a SpaceNews article about inflight connectivity reported: “Right now a laptop is the least-used device in the broadband networks that we are supporting,” Ric VanderMeulen, vice president of space and satellite broadband for ViaSat’s Government Systems Division, said during a Washington Space Business Roundtable panel. “Phones are first, tablets are second, and laptops are about seven percent of the market.”

No doubt, a laptop ban could be a boon to aircraft IFE, but no personal devices, with the exception of smartphones, could potentially benefit the IFEC industry more. In fact, such a scenario would most likely require airlines to select some form of IFEC, especially on long flights. Thales notes in ATW: “The future of IFE will involve seatback monitors that interface with passengers, customize content and generate ancillary revenue,” according to Thales executives at the company’s new IFE final integration and test facility in Irvine, California, May 22. “If you look at the system right now, it’s super static, from top to bottom,” Thales InFlyt Experience CEO Dominique Giannoni said. “How do we move from an in-seat system—where an airline is looking at cost-line—to an in-seat solution coupled with connectivity that moves to a revenue line? We believe it is an untapped area and opportunity for revenue.” Thales InFlyt Experience CTO Fred Schreiner said, “We are going to go into a period where it’s really about engagement – the paradigm has completely shifted – your ability to access the internet, to catch up on social networks, is changing the game.” Yes, and it might also be promoting more laptop usage, however, whether flying folks are willing to trust their secure personal and business email and work on an airline supplied screen, remains unclear.”

But, IFExpress had some questions too:

 

  • If the issue is battery size, what size limit is there or is the issue resolved with no laptops?
  • Will this new security change be a boon to smartphone usage inflight? And if so, portable keyboards (with Apple and Android phones) will be seen a lot more?
  • Or for another solution – can you imagine the cost and hassle of a secure, lockable cabin laptop storage enclosure? And the ensuing mess of storing and retrieving your laptop before and after a flight? Bad idea – rule that one out!

 

 

 

So in the future if this security increase passes and you want to “laptop work” onboard, you might want to consider a good smartphone (perhaps one with the biggest screen possible) and at least 128 Gb of memory, a secure device for storing your data, and a portable keyboard, and a mouse (if that works on a phone). You may want to figure a way to support it while watching some form of entertainment – not to mention power. You will need power either from the plane or brought with you on a “brick”- and that brings up another issue, what size Lithium Ion power device will be allowed? Is this getting crazy, or what? However, with the size of some PC’s getting smaller (credit card size), could this be a possible carry-on computing solution when combined with a small keyboard, portable Li-ion cube and a small screen on an iPod or a phone? Check this out because they are getting smaller as well.

Additionally, here are 10 tips for mobile security that will help keep all that portable stuff safe while you do travel, big laptop or not.

And lastly, since we are on the subject, here is another good link on the potential laptop ban line as well.


Other News

  • SAFRAN’s deal to acquire Zodiac has a new offering that drops their original price by $1.1 B, to a little over $9.5 B.
  • It was a “drag” when we learned how many how many antennas are on B787. Why? Because we were so wrong? If you said there are than 20, you are correct! Check it out.

From personalizing the travel experience to big data, improved efficiency and new dynamic distribution standards – Lufthansa Systems supports airlines on every level of digital transformation

Raunheim, Germany | February 16, 2017– Everyone is talking about digitalization. Many companies are wondering how to future-proof themselves in the digital world. Lufthansa Systems turned this vision into reality a long time ago. For years, the aviation IT specialist has been advising and supporting airlines in their digital transformation, demonstrating what sustainable airline processes can look like and helping customers implement concrete projects.

“The core of our company strategy is to put airlines in a perfect position for the digital future. For example, we have spent over 15 years helping airlines work toward a paperless flight deck,” said Olivier Krüger, CEO of Lufthansa Systems. “We are offering new solutions and expanding our consulting unit in response to growing demand in the market. In keeping with this, we are continually enhancing our digital expertise so we can develop innovative solutions for the entire cosmos of an airline and its passengers – with data analytics, personalization, mobility and new developments such as eye tracking and dynamic navigation maps.”

The spectrum includes solutions and consulting services for improving the efficiency and differentiation of all aspects of an airline as well as for optimizing the entire travel chain for passengers.

Personalized Air Travel Services: Personalized solutions aim to enhance the passenger travel experience. New digital and individual services and apps, which can be used before, during and after a flight, ensure that passengers are addressed directly and personally. BoardConnect is one example. This digital platform enables passengers to access wireless inflight entertainment on their own smartphones and tablets, while offering additional functionalities for flight deck and cabin crews – with or without an Internet connection. The new inTime app is another example. It calculates how much time passengers will need to reach their gate punctually from their current location. Both the traffic situation outside the airport and the waiting times at check-in and security are taken into account here. The timings are based on (anonymized) data from real passengers, so the app gets more intelligent over time.

Dynamic Distribution Management: Dynamic distribution management makes it possible for airlines to increase their revenues by offering ticket and service packages directly to travelers. The New Distribution Capability (NDC) standard of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is promoting this development and significantly affecting the distribution structures of airlines. Together with partners, Lufthansa Systems provides solutions for the entire NDC process, including offer and order management, dynamic pricing, and billing with the Sirax/RA revenue accounting solution. Airlines benefit from improved customer loyalty through more individualized offers, with lower distribution costs and higher revenues.

Safe & Efficient Flight Operations: Optimization and efficiency in all aspects of flight operations are the crucial aspects here. Simplified processes, improved routes, reduced fuel consumption and shorter handling times (including for crews and maintenance work) not only generate considerable savings potential, they also increase flight safety. For example, the digital navigation maps of the Lido/Navigation product line are becoming more and more dynamic. In the near future, they will be able to seamlessly display all flight processes from gate to gate. With an on-board Internet connection, additional smart functions in the maps can show information that is relevant to specific situations during a flight. This increases the pilots’ situational awareness.

Reliable Air Travel Experience: New developments in the field of flight operations revolve around passengers and their positive travel experience. If disruptions or delays do occur, these solutions aim to minimize the negative effects on passengers and communicate changes in a transparent way. This is essential to an airline’s success. The successful NetLine/Ops ++ operations control solution helps here with its innovative eye-tracking feature. Employees in an operations control center sometimes have to monitor six screens showing current flights and information about potential disturbances. Analyzing the eye movements of operations controllers with the help of eye-tracking technology ensures that no important warnings or disruption notifications are overlooked.

“In light of the growing importance of digital solutions in the aviation industry – including in the areas of data sharing, analytics and prediction – we founded a company last year called zeroG,” said Lufthansa Systems CEO Stefan Auerbach. “zeroG is a consulting firm with the character of a start-up which can respond quickly and flexibly to changes in the market. With their expertise in IT and aviation, our zeroG consultants support digitalization projects inside and outside of the Lufthansa Group.”

The attached infographic provides an overview of current digitalization projects and innovative solutions. Excerpts can be provided upon request. An animated version of the infographic for digital use can be found on YouTube. (Copyright: Lufthansa Systems)

More information about Lufthansa Systems’ digitalization expertise is available online: www.lhsystems.com or on YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/LHsystems

  • Business Class… Redefined
  • Private jet convenience, enhanced security, intercontinental sophistication

Westchester, NY | June 29, 2016– Bliss Jet today launched the first individually-ticketed private jet flights between New York and London on a regular schedule. This innovative new service offers sophisticated travelers an ultra-exclusive transatlantic travel experience that is significantly more efficient, convenient and secure than the airlines’ first and business class products.

Pre-screened travelers, who are accustomed to flying private or in premium cabins, can begin taking advantage of Bliss Jet’s new class of service between New York’s Westchester County Airport and London’s Biggin Hill Airport in September. Bliss Jet is now accepting reservations.

“Bliss Jet is for people who schedule time in minutes, not hours,” says President and CEO David Rimmer. “We will cater to discerning, intercontinental travelers who seek a unique, private jet experience that is superior to any scheduled premium cabin service, yet far more cost-effective than bespoke private jet charter.”

Bliss Jet’s premier service will enable busy travelers to circumvent the hassles of flying from congested major airports. Bliss Jet passengers can expect to:

• Arrive at the airport only 30 minutes before departure
• Board an aircraft just a few steps from the private terminal
• Benefit from discreet, highly professional security
• Avoid lengthy airport and flight delays
• Proceed rapidly through boarding, deplaning and customs
• Arrive faster at their final destination with immediate baggage retrieval and ground
transfers

“We are offering all the advantages of a private jet experience on optimally-scheduled flights that bypass the inefficiencies of business class travel,” Rimmer says. “Not since the days of the Concorde has a door-to-door journey between New York and London been this fast or refined.”

Bliss Jet passengers will be able to choose custom meals from an extensive menu, access a variety of inflight entertainment options, and connect to worldwide Wi-Fi. Upon request, Bliss Concierge services will arrange ground or helicopter transportation, or private charters for passengers flying to another location.

Bliss Jet flights will depart from New York on Sunday nights so that passengers will arrive at London’s uncrowded Biggin Hill Airport refreshed, relaxed, and ready for a productive work week. Return flights depart from London after lunch on Friday so passengers can schedule morning meetings and arrive back in the United States for a family dinner or a Broadway play. Travelers accustomed to private jet charter will appreciate that Bliss Jet provides virtually the same amenities at a fraction of the cost. Seats on the 14-passenger jets will cost $11,995 each way. Unlike crowded business class sections, Bliss Jet will limit seat sales well below the maximum aircraft’s capacity for extra comfort.

“Bliss Jet security will be supervised by top global firms in New York and London to ensure the safety and security of everyone on board,” Rimmer says. “Our security team, complemented by high-level security intelligence, will provide comprehensive, discreet coverage that far exceeds regulatory requirements and the industry’s best practices.”

Every flight will be operated by a highly-experienced carrier and crew on aircraft judged superior by respected third-party safety audit standards such as Wyvern Wingman, ARGUS Platinum ISBAO and the Air Charter Safety Foundation. The initial schedule of flights will be operated for Bliss Jet by Jet Access Aviation under a Public Charter approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Bliss Jet CEO David Rimmer is an experienced premium air travel and charter industry innovator. He will lead a seasoned team of private jet professionals who will ensure Bliss Jet passengers receive the highest level of customer service. A pioneer with more than 15 years of private aviation leadership experience, Rimmer has created exponential growth and generated significant success in the private aviation market by championing industry-leading safety standards and business practices.

“Throughout our careers in private aviation, the Bliss Jet team and I have catered to the needs of the world’s most prominent and successful people, including CEOs, heads of state, royalty, film and music superstars, and ultra-high net worth individuals, all of whom have very high expectations when they travel,” Rimmer explains. “Bliss Jet will capitalize on that priceless insight to meet, and exceed, the expectations of these discriminating passengers.”

  • The Un-carrier takes the worry out of summer travel to the No.1 overseas destination, with unlimited high-speed data across all of Europe all summer long—at absolutely no extra cost
  • Stateside travelers, including Verizon and AT&T customers #GetThanked too with a free, full hour of Gogo Wi-Fi on ALL flights this weekend

Bellevue, WA | June 23, 2016– T-Mobile just showed again why it is the Official Sponsor of Summer.* The Un-carrier today announced it’s unleashing summer travel, giving customers unlimited high-speed data, up to 4G LTE speeds, throughout Europe all summer long. But, of course, T-Mobile didn’t stop there. For those travelling this weekend, T-Mobile announced it’s giving absolutely everyone – including Verizon and AT&T customers who never get thanked by their carrier – a full, free hour of Wi-Fi on all Gogo-equipped domestic flights—just to show everyone what it feels like to #GetThanked with the Un-carrier.

On top of that, T-Mobile today announced that Un-carrier customers can roam worry-free in Belize starting July 1st. Belize is joining the long list of 140+ countries and destinations where Simple Choice customers get unlimited data and texting and low, flat-rate calling while travelling abroad.

“The carriers see your summer trip as the perfect occasion to slam you with insane international roaming charges. When you travel with the Un-carrier, you’ll never come home to surprise overages or crazy fees,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. “Travel with T-Mobile, and you can use your phone the way you want to without thinking twice! Share every fantastic moment and don’t pay a penny more for your data!”

Cut Loose and Stay Connected this Summer in Europe
Far and away the single most popular overseas travel destination every summer is Europe, where more than 2.5 million Americans are expected to vacation this summer. So, starting July 1st all the way through August 31st, T-Mobile’s giving Simple Choice customers unlimited high-speed data across all of Europe** – all at absolutely no additional cost – so you can share, Skype, snap and scope every moment of your European holiday. Customers get the highest available data speeds wherever they travel across the continent. And, as always, texting is free around the globe with T-Mobile, and calls are just 20 cents a minute throughout Europe and a host of other destinations.

That couldn’t be more different than the carriers’ approach to tax and toll everything you do with your phone outside the country. For example, if a Verizon customer used their phone normally during a two-week holiday in Rome, they could come home to upwards of $2,730 in international roaming fees.

If you travel with T-Mobile, your phone just works – exactly like it should – at exactly $0 extra for unlimited data and texting. And the best part? Customers don’t have to lift a finger to get these Un-carrier benefits. All of which makes T-Mobile the only choice for summer travel.

This Weekend, Everybody Flies Like a T-Mobile Customer
Just a few weeks after unveiling Un-carrier 11, an industry-rocking move dedicated to thanking customers, the Un-carrier’s now offering everyone a chance to #GetThanked like a T-Mobile customer. The millions of Americans expected to fly this weekend can get a taste of what it means to be part of the Un-carrier—even those long-abused AT&T and Verizon customers.

Starting this Friday, June 24 through Sunday, June 26, passengers on any domestic flight with Gogo service can automatically get one free hour of Wi-Fi on their smartphone, courtesy T-Mobile. That’s a free full hour coming and going on every flight with Gogo service—more than 33,000 flights this weekend alone!

“We want to show everybody what it feels like to #GetThanked and travel like a T-Mobile customer!” said Legere.

While this offer for everyone flying this weekend ends Sunday at 11:00pm ET, T-Mobile customers will always enjoy free messaging and texting all flight long, plus a full free hour of Gogo Wi-Fi on your smartphone on all Gogo-equipped domestic flights, courtesy the Un-Carrier. For more information on what it’s like flying with T-Mobile, visit www.t-mobile.com/offer/free-in-flight-wifi-texting-uncarrier.

Belize Completes the Picture for South & Central America
Finally, for the tens of thousands of Americans who travel each year to Belize to enjoy its natural beauty and pristine beaches, T-Mobile also announced that Belize is will be part of Simple Global starting July 1st. Meaning T-Mobile customers can travel to all 20 countries in South & Central America – from the tip of Patagonia in Chile to that scuba spot in Belize – and never have to worry about data roaming or texting charges.

With Simple Global, which launched in 2013, T-Mobile Simple Choice customers get unlimited data and texting and low, flat-rate calling for just 20 cents a minute in over 140 countries and destinations around the world.

For more information about travelling with T-Mobile, check out http://www.t-mobile.com/optional-services/roaming.html.

  • Passenger experience improvements the goal for airport’s trial

Melbourne | June 7, 2016– Melbourne Airport continues to improve passenger services with a recent trial that has included self-service boarding with global travel technology provider SITA. The airport is focusing on using technology in new ways to improve processes to make the journey smoother for its passengers and the airlines that serve them.

Melbourne Airport’s passenger improvements are underpinned by SITA’s common-use platform, which has successfully delivered self-service check-in kiosks and automated bag drop throughout the airport. The self-boarding gates are the next step in delivering a highly efficient self-service passenger experience and reducing the cost of operations for the airlines using the airport. This is one of the six areas of a passenger’s airport journey in IATA’s Fast Travel program which aims to save the industry up to US$2 billion annually.

Over a three-month period, SITA worked with the airport to analyze the potential improvements that self-boarding gates can provide. Together, SITA and Melbourne Airport have implemented a self-boarding gate in T2 International which allows passengers to simply scan their boarding pass to gain access to the aircraft. Speed of processing, passenger perception and accuracy will be measured as the airport evaluates the benefits that self-service boarding offers passengers, airlines and Melbourne Airport.

Ilya Gutlin, SITA President, Asia Pacific, said: “SITA is committed to our technology partnership with Melbourne Airport which allows us to explore the potential benefits of services and plan the ideal solution implementation with the airport team. Moving forward, we are exploring how technology and innovative services can further improve the passenger experience and operations at Melbourne Airport.”

Initial results of the self-boarding trial are positive with passengers showing strong interest and approval of boarding the aircraft by scanning their own boarding pass. The final results will now be analyzed by the SITA and Melbourne Airport teams.

This initiative is part of the overall airport development to enhance the experience for the 30 international airlines and more than 32 million passengers who currently use it.

“As Melbourne Airport focuses on optimizing the efficient use of assets, technology and innovation play an increasing role in providing better customer service,” Melbourne Airport Executive Planning Michael Jarvis said.

“Working closely with expert vendors and service providers, like SITA, facilitates the testing of world-class solutions at Melbourne Airport and allows our passengers to be among the first to experience leading-edge technology that will improve their experience.”

Passenger numbers are expected to double to 60 million by 2030.

– Analysis suggests up to 5% of flights affected by delay or cancellation
– Passengers entitled to average compensation of 400€
– CTI partners with AirRefund to assist compensation service

Manchester, England | February 22, 2016– CTI, the leading regional travel management company, has investigated and identified the impact of air delays and cancellations on clients and created an offering to help.

As a trusted travel partner for hundreds of firms across the UK, CTI conducted an analysis of airline delays, with initial findings suggesting that 5% of its clients’ flights are affected by delay or cancellation.

CTI is the only UK travel company to currently offer this service, and its clients will be able to claim compensations averaging 400€ depending on distance flown.

CTI has partnered with AirRefund, the claim management service, to provide its clients with an easier approach to compensation for flight delays, cancellations and overbookings. It will be the first independent UK travel company to partner with AirRefund.

With the service available to all of CTI’s clients and their employees, it’s the latest addition to a network of trusted travel partner suppliers that ensure CTI’s clients receive excellent value and superior service.

Clive Wratten, CEO of CTI, said: “We have identified the need for clients to easily claim for disrupted flights, and we are pleased to be the first independent UK travel company to offer this service.

“Our airline partners deliver an efficient and trouble-free service the vast majority of the time. With compensation as an entitlement by law for every passenger, we are simply enabling our clients to claim easily when disruption occasionally happens.”

Thomas Benita, CEO, AirRefund, added: “The traveller’s experience is our main focus, and we’re happy to be able to extend our offering through CTI’s great array of partners. Our efforts are aimed at reengaging the passengers positive attitude towards the company, the travel solutions at their disposal and the airlines.”

YOURSpace: Bear with Holiday Travel This Year – A Better Experience is Nearly Here

By Chris Smith, Founder and CEO, Area360

Today’s typical airport experience is at the very best, hit or miss. Travelers may be prepared and get to the airport on time, have a great meal while enjoying a book in a hushed terminal, and board a flight with no delays. But that’s a rare day, and the typical airport journey involves at least one complication that throws everything off.

This year, Airlines for America projects that 38 million Americans will take to the skies over the 2015 holiday season, equaling 2.2 million travelers every day between December 18th and January 3rd. That many people flowing through the nation’s airports truly puts their efficiency and customer experience to the test, and showcases their biggest problem spots – curbside congestion, snakingly-long lines to check in and get through security, and many more.

I am a geek and a frequent flier, so as I traverse through herds of people resembling The Walking Dead, I can’t help but get excited about the way passengers will experience and flow through airports in the very near future. Here’s a glimpse.

It’s 5:30 AM in the morning when your alarm sounds. You roll over and in a gurgle manage to muster a somewhat coherent sentence: “Alexa, what are my flight details this morning?”. My Amazon Echo replies, “Your Alaska Airlines flight to LA is currently scheduled to board at 11:25 AM, 15 minutes delayed. Traffic will be moderate to heavy. Would you like me to set you a reminder when it’s time to leave or order you an Uber to get you there 1hr prior to departure?” You respond, “Thanks Alexa, please order me an Uber Lux, I like to roll in style”.

As your Uber drops you at the departure door, your phone lights up with a message: “Welcome to Sea-Tac. I see you have checked in and do not have luggage, would you like to head to security?” (A few airlines already do this.) You select yes and the next screen says, “Currently, the fastest security line is 1500 feet away, would you like directions?”. Why yes, yes you would. As you walk to the security line, your phone is navigating you with turn by turn directions as accurate as Google Maps, and also happens to show you the time delta between where you’re currently waiting, and how long it will take to get to your gate on time.

Approaching the security line, an overhead screen shows your name with a green arrow under it pointing you into the TSA Pre line, as it knows you’re already approved. Upon approaching the agent stand, your boarding pass pops onto your mobile screen without your having to dig for it, and you simply tap your phone on a waist high pedestal and it reads the information. To double check, you’re required to hold your phone up to your face so that a quick facial recognition scan can be beamed via Bluetooth to the pedestal to confirm your identity.

The gate opens and allows you through to a conveyor belt that scans your bag without your having to take a single thing out, and you walk across a scale-like platform that does a quick scan to make sure nothing’s out of the ordinary, and in less than two seconds you’re done.

Next, your phone buzzes and up pops another welcome message: “Congratulations, you are through security. You have 55 minutes before your flight starts boarding – would you like to go to to the coffee shop (2 min walk), get a sandwich (6 min walk), buy something at the newsstand (1 min walk) or go to your gate (10 min walk)?”. Naturally, you select the coffee shop and lo and behold, a free drink is waiting as it’s your 10th time, this month.

After you enjoy your coffee, your phone buzzes and tells you: “Your flight is boarding in 15 minutes and you are currently 10 minutes away from your gate, would you like directions?”. You take your phone up on the offer and get there in exactly 10 minutes – no more, no less.

As you stroll up to the gate, your boarding pass pops up again and as you near the agent, you see that she’s already rolled up your favorite newspaper along with headphones for the trip.

You say “thank you” and you’re on our way.

Chris Smith is the founder and CEO of Area360, a location technology company, building products that enhance the way people engage with physical locations through the use of mobile applications and location-aware technology.

  • New airport app gives users the right information at the right time, wherever they are

Atlanta, Georgia | February 10, 2016– Miami Airport today launched its new mobile app, which is designed for passengers and all airport users. This is the first airport app in the USA to use the latest technologies, including Bluetooth beacons, to get the right information to the right people, when and where they need it. Developed by IT provider SITA, the app presents an easy-to-use interface and gives travelers personalized updates, directions and tips based on their location and needs.

Described by the airport as “Your Personal Travel Assistant,” the MIA Airport Official app can be used on iOS and Android devices from anywhere in the world. When the user opens it, options are provided based on location, so a user in Miami will get a different experience than someone opening it in London, Bogotá or New York.

As travelers make their way through the airport, the app provides information and support that is relevant to their individual journey, including updates on their gate, flight times and baggage collection, as well as nearby food and retail outlets, prioritizing suggestions based on their current location. The app beautifully presents the most accurate and up-to-date indoor maps. And with ‘blue-dot’ functionality, map rotation, turn-by-turn directions, ‘walk times’ and a ‘near me’ feature, they allow passengers to quickly locate virtually anything inside the airport.

“MIA Airport Official 2.0 is the latest example of how we are leveraging new technology to make travel through our airport easier than ever,” said Miami-Dade Aviation Director Emilio T. González. “Thanks to the installation of data beacons, our mobile app can now guide you from your driveway to the runway with personalized, user-friendly instructions.”

Matthys Serfontein, Vice President, Airport Solutions, SITA, said: “There are a multitude of airport and travel apps but at SITA we have taken the initiative to develop one that provides a truly personal experience. We’ve incorporated the latest technologies, including Miami’s beacon infrastructure and a selection of SITA’s industry APIs, to provide a context and location-aware experience.

“What this means is that anyone who uses Miami International Airport will find this app incredibly useful. We have drawn on our decades of experience with airlines and airports and worked very closely with the team in Miami to deliver the world’s most technologically advanced airport app.”

Traditional airport apps do not know when you are flying or where you are, how you are getting to the airport or what you want to do once you arrive…they are passive. SITA’s Day of Travel Airport App is the smarter airport app. It recognizes the user and makes sense of the vast amounts of data that are available at the airport adding real-time business intelligence to create an outstanding user experience. It uses data delivered via SITA’s industry-leading APIs to present the user with a seamless experience on their device of choice.

The MIA Airport Official app can be used on mobile devices running iOS or Android, and is available today in the Apple App Store and in Google Play. Updates and new features will be made available over the coming months to further improve the day-of- travel experience in Miami.

This app was designed to make use of the latest beacon technology based on the Common Use Beacon Registry standards. The registry was developed by SITA and is currently managed by the organization on behalf of the airlines and airports of the world.

By Chris Smith, Founder and CEO, Area360

Today’s typical airport experience is at the very best, hit or miss. Travelers may be prepared and get to the airport on time, have a great meal while enjoying a book in a hushed terminal, and board a flight with no delays. But that’s a rare day, and the typical airport journey involves at least one complication that throws everything off.

This year, Airlines for America projects that 38 million Americans will take to the skies over the 2015 holiday season, equaling 2.2 million travelers every day between December 18th and January 3rd. That many people flowing through the nation’s airports truly puts their efficiency and customer experience to the test, and showcases their biggest problem spots – curbside congestion, snakingly-long lines to check in and get through security, and many more.

I am a geek and a frequent flier, so as I traverse through herds of people resembling The Walking Dead, I can’t help but get excited about the way passengers will experience and flow through airports in the very near future. Here’s a glimpse.

It’s 5:30 AM in the morning when your alarm sounds. You roll over and in a gurgle manage to muster a somewhat coherent sentence: “Alexa, what are my flight details this morning?”. My Amazon Echo replies, “Your Alaska Airlines flight to LA is currently scheduled to board at 11:25 AM, 15 minutes delayed. Traffic will be moderate to heavy. Would you like me to set you a reminder when it’s time to leave or order you an Uber to get you there 1hr prior to departure?” You respond, “Thanks Alexa, please order me an Uber Lux, I like to roll in style”.

As your Uber drops you at the departure door, your phone lights up with a message: “Welcome to Sea-Tac. I see you have checked in and do not have luggage, would you like to head to security?” (A few airlines already do this.) You select yes and the next screen says, “Currently, the fastest security line is 1500 feet away, would you like directions?”. Why yes, yes you would. As you walk to the security line, your phone is navigating you with turn by turn directions as accurate as Google Maps, and also happens to show you the time delta between where you’re currently waiting, and how long it will take to get to your gate on time.

Approaching the security line, an overhead screen shows your name with a green arrow under it pointing you into the TSA Pre line, as it knows you’re already approved. Upon approaching the agent stand, your boarding pass pops onto your mobile screen without your having to dig for it, and you simply tap your phone on a waist high pedestal and it reads the information. To double check, you’re required to hold your phone up to your face so that a quick facial recognition scan can be beamed via Bluetooth to the pedestal to confirm your identity.

The gate opens and allows you through to a conveyor belt that scans your bag without your having to take a single thing out, and you walk across a scale-like platform that does a quick scan to make sure nothing’s out of the ordinary, and in less than two seconds you’re done.

Next, your phone buzzes and up pops another welcome message: “Congratulations, you are through security. You have 55 minutes before your flight starts boarding – would you like to go to to the coffee shop (2 min walk), get a sandwich (6 min walk), buy something at the newsstand (1 min walk) or go to your gate (10 min walk)?”. Naturally, you select the coffee shop and lo and behold, a free drink is waiting as it’s your 10th time, this month.

After you enjoy your coffee, your phone buzzes and tells you: “Your flight is boarding in 15 minutes and you are currently 10 minutes away from your gate, would you like directions?”. You take your phone up on the offer and get there in exactly 10 minutes – no more, no less.

As you stroll up to the gate, your boarding pass pops up again and as you near the agent, you see that she’s already rolled up your favorite newspaper along with headphones for the trip.

You say “thank you” and you’re on our way.

Chris Smith is the founder and CEO of Area360, a location technology company, building products that enhance the way people engage with physical locations through the use of mobile applications and location-aware technology.