Aviation Tech Talks: Why do airlines stay behind on new tech?
The airline industry has become quite famous for lagging behind other industries when it comes to technology. Despite aviation being one of the most technically sophisticated industries out there, decades old software and operational glitches still persist. To find out what may be the reason for airlines’ reluctance to embrace innovation, AeroTime sat down with SIGMO Airline Databases’ CEO Manuel Javorik.
Taking into account that aviation tends to be quite conservative when it comes to technology what in your opinion are the areas where airline businesses need most updating?
Throughout my career and numerous projects with airline managers, I had encountered what you could call „classic“ technologies, especially in the airlines‘ core operations divisions. Usually, the reason for using old technology is the way the internal procedures depend on older software handling and features.
Additionally, any changes to technology and software currently in operation could trigger operational glitches, negatively impacting airline performance. Of course, that is if implementation is not fully and quickly supported by the provider. I suppose, the risk of negative effects is what keeps some companies from radically changing the technology they use. I suppose there is some truth to the saying “if it ain‘t broke, don‘t fix it”.
What does the future of airline software look like and what in your opinion will be the biggest game-changers in the upcoming years?
There are a few key characteristics of future airline software. First – multi-platform capable software, accessible from mobile devices, desktop workstations and other devices. This is because different device types for pilots, management and other operational staff require different software solutions.
Other characteristics are more general – the software will be worldwide accessible and it will have quite a low training complexity. At least these are the features that most tech companies are currently looking at.
What software development trends are the most essential for aviation industry?
Well, since one of the most distinctive aspects of aviation is the fast pace at which the industry functions, this is what software companies have to look at: quick information distribution, problem solving and strategical support are essential. Also, higher aircraft production, lower ticket prices and increasing competition will require quicker decision making to ensure both mid-term and long-term success.
What are the most developed regions for aviation software? Which need the most improvement?
I wouldn’t say that there is a specific region, which is significantly more developed than others. When it comes to companies, younger airlines are likely to be more developed than older ones, which is mostly because of a high number of motivated staff within new companies – I suppose all start-up businesses tend to be this way. They bring their ideas into running software implementation projects, unlike older airlines, which avoid replacing long-running systems and, in turn, are not able to perform their changes in a quick turn.
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