Market Information

Below are some of the key statistics from the industry, each showing the importance and benefits of airlines and rail operators introducing passenger technology solutions into their service.
  • Ancillary Revenue

    • High quality in-flight WiFi connectivity has been seen to deliver a 23% premium over the average passenger due to their expenditure on ancillary revenue, with airlines forecast to generate $0.9 billion in 2018 in broadband-enabled ancillary revenue.

    • Big Data analysis can lift ancillary revenue by 5-10% by helping airlines to generate deeper insights into what customers want and can afford, facilitating better price differentiation and upselling strategies.

    • When 63 frequent flyers were asked to name the single missing service that they expected and considered basic that was causing them the highest amount of frustration, the fourth highest rated (~12%) grievance was a lack of app functionality.
  • AR / VR

    • VR revenues will reach $7.17bn by the end of the year, rising to $75bn by 2021, with VR for enterprise, such as construction and travel, expected to take a considerable market share.
  • Artificial Intelligence

    • Around 14% of airlines now use AI-powered chatbots. Early adopters include AeroMexico, Finnair, Singapore Airlines, Icelandair, Lufthansa and KLM.

    • 52% of airlines plan to implement AI initiatives into their customer service operations over the next five years, and that number is expected to rise to 68% by 2020.
  • Big Data

    • In a recent survey conducted by Accenture, 61% of respondents from within the aviation industry highlighted Big Data analytics as their top priority relative to other priorities within their company. The remaining 49% listed it as within their top 3 or top 5 priorities.

    • This same survey revealed that 40% of respondents from within the rail industry viewed Big Data analytics as their company's top priority. 95% of respondents listed it as within their top 3 or top 5 priorities.

    • Big Data analysis can lift ancillary revenue by 5-10% by helping airlines to generate deeper insights into what customers want and can afford, facilitating better price differentiation and upselling strategies.
  • Biometrics

    • 63% of airports and 43% of airlines are likely to launch biometric identity management solutions before 2020.

    • Investment in passenger self-service, cyber security and cloud services is said to be at the top of the agenda for CIOs at both airlines and airports.
  • Connectivity

    • With nearly every passenger using a smart device as an essential travel tool, the demand for more tech-enabled services from airlines and airports is on the rise.

    • 61% of respondents to the 2017 SITA passenger survey indicated that they would use or like to use their mobile devices to access information about their flight, during their flight.

    • Over 23,000 commercial aircraft will offer in-flight connectivity (IFC) to their passengers by 2027, up from 7,400 aircraft in 2017, while IFC revenues for connectivity providers will hit nearly US$9 billion that year.

    • Currently 3.8 billion passengers fly annually, but only 45% of responding airlines operate or take delivery of connected aircraft. That percentage rises to 66% by the end of 2019. By 2035, connected aircraft with high quality, secure in-flight WiFi are expected to be ubiquitous.

    • High quality in-flight WiFi connectivity has been seen to deliver a 23% premium over the average passenger due to their expenditure on ancillary revenue, with airlines forecast to generate $0.9 billion in 2018 in broadband-enabled ancillary revenue.

    • Connecting onboard commercial aircraft systems to the internet, as well as making operations more efficient and customer-friendly, could save airlines up to $15 billion annually.
  • Cybersecurity

    • Cyber criminals are increasingly targeting the travel & tourism markets, with 3.9 billion malicious login attempts being carried out in 2017 against websites belonging to airlines, rail operators, cruise lines, hotels, online travel, automotive rental and other transport organisations.

    • Investment in passenger self-service, cyber security and cloud services is said to be at the top of the agenda for CIOs at both airlines and airports.
  • Internet of Things (IoT)

    • Whilst two thirds of airline leaders believe that the Internet of Things (IoT) offers clear benefits right now, and 86% expect to see identifiable benefits within 3 years, only 37% of airlines have begun to explore and implement IoT improvements as a way to confront rising costs.

    • Investment in passenger self-service, cyber security and cloud services is said to be at the top of the agenda for CIOs at both airlines and airports.
  • Mobile & Apps

    • With nearly every passenger using a smart device as an essential travel tool, the demand for more tech-enabled services from airlines and airports is on the rise.

    • One in three travellers now book via mobile, and it's predicted that 70% of all online travel agency bookings will be made on a mobile by 2020 as global smartphone ownership rises by 50% to 5.7bn.

    • According to a survey conducted by Google and PhocusWright, 45% of UK smartphone users and 48% of US smartphone users are comfortable researching, booking, and planning their entire trip to a new travel destination using only a mobile device.

    • 61% of respondents to the 2017 SITA passenger survey indicated that they would use or like to use their mobile devices to access information about their flight, during their flight.

    • Today, the vast majority of airlines provide check-in (73%), boarding (70%) and flight status notifications (68%) via mobile, and by 2020 more than 97% plan to do so. A key area of growth will be providing real-time flight updates over social media, which will jump from 31% of airlines doing so to 92% in the next three years.

    • Providing a seamless experience is key to airlines. In total, 94% rate streamlining services into a single app as a priority, with 58% rating this as a high priority, whilst 67% of passengers in the 2017 SITA passenger survey stated a preference for using their mobile devices to acquire this information.

    • The latest survey by SITA shows that 92% of airlines either have or are planning major programs to provide passenger services through social-media integrated apps.

    • The total number of sessions in travel apps increased by 55% between 2015 and 2017 in the US.
  • Passenger Trends

    • Air passenger demand is increasing globally (3.8%) and is forecast to double to 7.8 billion per annum by 2036.

    • With nearly every passenger using a smart device as an essential travel tool, the demand for more tech-enabled services from airlines and airports is on the rise.

    • 61% of respondents to the 2017 SITA passenger survey indicated that they would use or like to use their mobile devices to access information about their flight, during their flight.

    • Currently 3.8 billion passengers fly annually, but only 45% of responding airlines operate or take delivery of connected aircraft. That percentage rises to 66% by the end of 2019. By 2035, connected aircraft with high quality, secure in-flight WiFi are expected to be ubiquitous.

    • Millennials purchase travel approximately four times a year. That means that for most of the year, they are in a state of seeking inspiration or planning their next trip.

    • Whilst 78% of leisure travellers don't know which airline they will use when considering a trip, 27% of passengers would choose to pay more to fly with an airline they believe offers a better passenger experience.

    • The latest global passenger survey from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) showed that just 52% of passengers in Europe are satisfied with their travel experience.

    • Digital travel spending will top €704bn globally by 2020.

    • More than 85% of travel consumers say that personalization has affected their travel purchase decisions.
  • WiFi

    • Over 23,000 commercial aircraft will offer in-flight connectivity (IFC) to their passengers by 2027, up from 7,400 aircraft in 2017, while IFC revenues for connectivity providers will hit nearly US$9 billion that year.

    • Currently 3.8 billion passengers fly annually, but only 45% of responding airlines operate or take delivery of connected aircraft. That percentage rises to 66% by the end of 2019. By 2035, connected aircraft with high quality, secure in-flight WiFi are expected to be ubiquitous.

    • High quality in-flight WiFi connectivity has been seen to deliver a 23% premium over the average passenger due to their expenditure on ancillary revenue, with airlines forecast to generate $0.9 billion in 2018 in broadband-enabled ancillary revenue.

  • Sources:

    Adams, L., Burkholder, E. & Hamilton, K. 2018. Google. Micro-Moments: Your Guide to Winning the Shift to Mobile

    Becker, G., Bouwer, J., John, D. & Toutaoui, J. 2018. Walk before you fly — capturing the digital opportunity in airlines. [ONLINE] Available at https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/travel-transport-and-logistics/our-insights/walk-before-you-fly-capturing-the-digital-opportunity-in-airlines. [Accessed 4 July 2018].

    Boutin, N., Jhunjhunwala, P., Guggenheim, J., Vicq, D. & Karimi, I. 2016. It's High Time Airlines Got Personal. [ONLINE] Available at https://www.bcg.com/en-ma/publications/2016/marketing-sales-technology-digital-its-high-times-airlines-got-personal.aspx. [Accessed 17 July 2018].

    Coren, B. 2018. Talking Chatbots. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.onboardhospitality.com/chatbots/. [Accessed 6 June 2018].

    Fernandez, K. 2018. Pack your Jetpack: The future of travel is here. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.blackbook.net.in/pack-your-jetpack-the-future-of-travel-is-here/. [Accessed 6 June 2018].

    Grous, A. 2017. LSE Sky High Economics. Chapter One: Quantifying the commercial opportunities of passenger connectivity for the global airline industry

    Hodgson, C. & Waldmeir, P. 2018. How airlines aim to use big data to boost profits. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.ft.com/content/f3a931be-47aa-11e8-8ae9-4b5ddcca99b3. [Accessed 6 June 2018].

    Irvin, C. & Schmid, R. 2018. Deloitte. Traveling at the speed of knowledge | Exploring operation and profit benefits of deploying the Internet of Things

    Marcellin, F. 2018. Airports tap into virtual reality for passenger entertainment. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.airport-technology.com/features/virtual-reality-passenger-entertainment. [Accessed 4 July 2018].

    McKeay, M. & Fakhreddine, A. 2018. Akamai. State of the Internet / Security: Web Attack

    Morris, G. 2018. 10 years of the App Store: two million apps and counting. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.tnooz.com/article/mobile-apps-app-store-10. [Accessed 6 July 2018].

    Naumov, M. 2018. How AI is helping airline customer service reps get closer to customers. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.tnooz.com/article/ai-airlines-customer-service. [Accessed 2 July 2018].

    Revillon, P. 2018. Euroconsult. Prospects for In-Flight Entertainment & Connectivity

    Wilson, G. 2017. Experts Have Their Say - The 2018 Mobile Trends That Have Got The Travel Industry Talking. [ONLINE] Available at: http://blog-digital.travelport.com/the-2018-tech-trends-that-have-got-the-travel-industry-talking. [Accessed 6 July 2018].


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