We live in challenging times for every industry. From the continuous threat of Covid-measures to the global political tensions (linked to the war in Ukraine) all the way to the energy crisis and the increased cost of living (due to historically high inflation rates). The airline industry is no exception to this and is probably even more impacted than most other industries, due to its direct link with all those challenges.
As a result, the airline industry needs to be highly resilient and needs to react aggressively to a number of universal trends (i.e. trends applicable to any industry), i.e.
- Increased pressure on margins due to the increased competition (linked to further globalisation) and increasing costs, due to increasing customer expectations (on quality, service, sustainability…), increasing regulatory needs (like e.g. GDPR, safety and ecological standards…) and obviously the increasing energy (fuel) costs. At the same time due to tele-work and videoconferencing (which will even further evolve with VR/AR and the Metaverse), the need for airline travelling (especially for business flights, which is a very profitable segment) is decreasing.
This means a further growth for the low-cost carriers, focusing on the price-conscious leisure travelers. Especially the trend of “Workcations” (i.e. trips abroad which combine “work” and “vacation”) can give an interesting boost to the sector.
- Trustworthiness: with companies becoming more and more international and virtual, trust becomes harder to earn. This means any airline company needs to take measures to gain and retain this trust via
- Transparency and traceability, e.g. by a clear communication in case of disruptions and by a clear and transparent pricing (e.g. by eliminating certain costs like change and cancellation costs)
- Security and privacy, e.g. by ensuring that all personal data is stored and processed in a secure and privacy-conscious way or by maximum ensuring passenger safety (e.g. via predictive maintenance technologies to catch problems pre-emptively)
- Timeliness, i.e. ensuring that all flights are departing and arriving on time as much as possible. This can be achieved by good coordination and data exchange with all involved partners, via predictive maintenance technologies, via robust flight scheduling…
- Frictionless customer experience: the end-to-end journey of a customer from searching a flight, over the booking of the flight, all the way to the check-in and check-out and the flight itself should happen as smooth as possible. This can be achieved via (hyper) automation (e.g. automated check-in or digitized bag-tracking), embedded user journeys (in channels of partners) and a multi-channel experience (e.g. via biometric fingerprint and facial recognition for check-in, security, lounge access and boarding).
- (Hyper-) Personalization: customers expect more and more an experience which is personalized to their specific needs and desires (‘It’s all about me and I want it here and I want it now’). In the airline industry this is reflected in personalized communication (e.g. personalized promotional campaigns to improve upsell and cross-sell opportunities), airline companies offering more and more customer-facing apps, which allows to accompany the traveler in every step of his journey, an increase in last-minute bookings…