Airlines bracing for exponential growth: How the cloud will be critical for success

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) highlighted that by the end of 2018, global air traffic passenger demand is projected to grow 7% year over year. IATA also forecasts passenger numbers will continue increasing, with an expected 8.2 billion people traveling by 2037, more than doubling the number of air traffic passengers in 2018.

Airliners should expect passenger traffic to double over the next few decades—and while this is something airlines should look forward to, concerns over rising fuel prices, labor exhaustion, capacity issues, load-bearing variables, security concerns, competition growth, and more are very real as well. To withstand such growth, airlines are embarking on a digital transformational journey into the era of Business 4.0, adopting new and emerging technology in order to meet the substantial increase in consumer demands, rising expectations in customer satisfaction, optimised operational efficiency, and more.

While a combination of technology services will be needed to succeed in such an environment, the integration of cloud is proving to be the most valuable to those making this transformational journey forward.

Cloud is no longer a luxury

Organisations originally viewed cloud storage as a place to cut costs. Discrete data centers were too expensive to maintain and cloud adoption served as a cost-efficient solution to that one specific problem. While data storage was revolutionised, the core systems were still operating in traditional ways that today seem prehistoric. The cloud is no longer only a buzzword used to make companies seem more digital while minimising some cost—it’s now an essential business driver. Airlines are finding that they need to make this foundational shift and rebuild their IT infrastructure with the cloud in mind, or else their operational efficiency and customer service efforts will not be able to scale alongside the impending growth.

The traditional on-premise enterprise infrastructures that airlines have used to-date are complex, stagnant, expensive, and inflexible to immediate, spur-of-the-moment changes in services needed to deliver exceptional customer service. By switching to the cloud, airlines are able to leverage the cloud ecosystem to allow seamless connectivity between their front, middle, and back office operations.

Not only is operational efficiency increased, but total cost of ownership is reduced significantly. Airlines can take advantage of the pay per use model that comes with cloud computing, avoid capex on IT infrastructure and associated maintenance costs, and even cut costs on the highly-skilled man power needed to operate and maintain complex airline data centers.

Increased reliability, and minimised downtime

Cloud isn’t only the answer for large, global airlines. Small and medium sized airlines can now afford to establish safeguards in their IT infrastructure as well—avoiding any operational crises that may result in system downtime.

Historically, airlines have been required to overhaul and replace infrastructure every three to five years. Cloud adoption can help these airliners avoid the costly infrastructure rebuilds by developing safeguards and backup processes in their stead. By minimising downtime and optimising operational efficiency through the cloud, airlines can both be poised for inevitable risk and promise improved reliability and customer satisfaction—all while significantly cutting costs.

Improving customer satisfaction and individual personalisation

Companies of all industries are facing a new reality that customer experience is king—and that consumers no longer only want to have a high-quality product at a fair price, but they want to have an enjoyable experience throughout the entire transactional process—from point of sale, to product and service delivery, and beyond. The same is true for airline passengers—and cloud integration allows airlines to offer unique, individualised experiences for each passenger based on a wide range of variables.

By having all data across an entire global enterprise stored in a single source, airlines are able to cater to the differentiating demands of separate consumers and markets across the world. Through use of real-time availability in multiple cloud instances—customers have the access to services that meet their personalised needs.

Additionally, customer experience is improved in several other ways as well through cloud adoption. By integrating booking systems and customer’s immigration and security clearance details into the cloud, customer boarding time and security lines will be streamlined through self-boarding processes and optimised security pre-check. Airlines of course benefit from cloud-based passenger data as well, as they will then have access to consumer insights which can help shape other investments they make regarding in-airport and in-flight experiences.

Airlines are bracing for previously unimaginable growth over the next few decades, and leveraging the transformative power of the cloud will allow airlines to scale successfully along-side such immense growth, but also help them cut costs and optimise operational efficiency across the board. in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences and use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.