Mega-Trend 6: Digital Transformation

US Airline passenger revenues as a percentage share of US GDP over the long term. For much of the 1980s and 1990s, that share was about 1%, but since 2000 that share has dropped below 1% and it has collapsed to below 0.3% with the pandemic. What this shows is the airlines share of the overall ‘economic wallet’, at least in the US, has been falling as the digital economy has taken hold over the past two decades.

Consumers are at the heart of Digital Transformation and the pandemic has only accelerated the shift to digital retailing and e-commerce, backed by sophisticated IT platforms. And we have seen how effective the non-travel online retailers, like Amazon, have been – and they’ve grown their wallet share substantially.

These new players have gathered more data and learned more about us over the past two years than ever before and the worry is, for a heavily indebted and struggling airline industry – can it keep up and regain its fair share of the ‘economic wallet’ and unlock new revenue streams, as well as meeting shifting customer needs.

Airlines are at a disadvantage in that their starting point are often ageing tech systems of IT platforms, software and hardware that are highly complex, fragile, susceptible to cyber-attacks and expensive to maintain.

Added to this, an ever-more demanding customer, who wants greater ticketing flexibility, instant refunds, better service, disruption recovery that’s fast and effective and a seamless online and journey experience. The digital experience expectation also extends into the role of the airline’s loyalty programme, as well as its alliances and partnerships. Many airlines are falling behind in this digital arms race.

But for those airlines that get it right, there can be rich rewards in being an effective player in a digital world – and that’s what we’ll be exploring today.

ModeratorSkyscanner, VP of Flights, Hugh Aitken

  • Accelya Group, Global Head of Sales, Bryan Porter
  • Dohop, CEO, David Gunnarsson
  • Lufthansa Airlines Group, SVP Channel Management & CCO SWISS, Tamur Goudarzi Pour
  • Manchester Airports Group, Digital Product Director, Peter Atkinson

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