Aviation data market analysis

ICARUS aims to develop an innovative, modular and usable platform for the Aviation sector which will create an aviation data value chain with the ambition to positively impact European Aviation, ICT and Data industries offering companies and organisations innovative services and at the same time improving travel experiences for passengers flying in Europe.

In order to precisely identify the current needs and ‘pain points’ of potential ICARUS users, we have conducted a series of continuous market, scenarios and needs analysis. In this post we highlight some of the main findings from our analyses.

Recent years have seen a strong momentum for the global aviation industry, characterised by low oil prices, efficiency of aircraft capacity utilisation and fleet growth. These factors allowed very good results for the industry: for instance, 2017 saw a strong profitability of airlines, with attractive fares and, in turn, a strong growth of passenger traffic. Within this landscape, the role of widespread digitisation is quite critical. A dramatic growth in the amount of data being generated daily by the aviation sector calls for modular and easily integrate-able data services. Airlines and airports have been steadily growing IT spending in recent years but, as each plane is expected to generate more than one petabyte of data by 2030, these users need to be able effectively collect, analyse and use the produced data so as to offer value-added services. This is actually perfectly in line with our core mission in ICARUS.

In such a scenario, airports, with their richer and diversified airport services, are becoming key actors in the digitization push of the sector. In fact, we have seen that airport investments in IT are higher than revenue growth with a compound annual growth rate in airport IT spend at 16%  from 2012 to  2016 (source: Boeing). The crucial areas for data-centric airport services are:

  • Advanced data-sharing tools: sharing data between air traffic control, airline operators, and airports (e.g. electronic flight data exchange, surveillance data integration, departure scheduling).
  • Advanced IT support to aircraft: departures, slots, and traffic flow to help ultimately improve passenger experience, a very strong driver for IT investment by airports.
  • Kiosks and passenger self-service: today at least 90% airports have some form of kiosk, and the trend growing. Passenger self-service is quickly extending all the way to the aircraft door. Self-service scenarios also offer unprecedented opportunities in leveraging on Artificial Intelligence, already emerging through the use of chat-bots and similar customer care software in some airlines.
  • Improvements in airport operational efficiency including tools for collaborative decision making (CDM).
  • Marketing and airport shopping. A recent study by The Sunshine estimated that 20% of holiday-maker spending was devoted to buying gifts, and of this about half happened in airports. This means that airport shopping is a strong revenue generator and the integration of big data and smart technology, such as targeted ads or smart recommendations, will be used to increase returns.
  • IoT. The increase of connected devices, such as phones, wearables, connected aeroplanes, and device-enabled cabin crews, dramatically increases the amount of data produced about airlines, travellers and operations. Applying data analytics to these datasets opens opportunities for new operational and marketing and customer services.

Finally, data Value Chains (including in Aviation) must still be created and show strong business opportunities in their capacity to push innovation, leverage on global communities and create new cloud-based business models.

Post prepared by: Lorenzo Sutton (ENG)