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Connected Aircraft are a Priority as Airlines Focus On Keeping Passengers Happy in China, SITA

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SITA reports that airlines are making heavy investments to satisfy the needs of China’s ‘hyper-connected’ travellers by focusing on connected aircraft, improving their mobile platforms, and launching Internet of Things (IoT) programs.

According to the technology company’s 2016 SITA Passenger IT Trends survey, China has the highest proportion of ‘hyper-connected’ passengers world-wide. ‘Hyper-Connected’ travellers rely on technology like mobile devices to book, check-in, and manage their trips more frequently than other travellers.

  • 24% of Chinese travellers could be defined as hyper-connected, compared to a global average of 14%
  • 98% of passengers in China carry at least one mobile device
  • 49% carry a tablet.
  • 7.1 out of 10 Chinese passengers use mobile services for travel
  • 17% of passengers check-in using a mobile app, with a jump in adoption expected as the service becomes more readily available over the next three years.

To meet the high demand from these passengers for access to the internet and immediate information sharing, SITA reports that airlines are making significant investments to improve their fleet, IT infrastructure, and available mobile services.

“In today’s connected world of travel passengers prefer to use technology. SITA’s research shows that they expect to be connected and have services delivered to their mobile devices at every step of their journey, including during their flight,” explains May Zhou, Vice President, SITA China.

“Today we see that airlines in China are responding to the needs of these ‘hyper-connected’ passengers by focusing their investments in connected aircraft, mobile-based services, and the Internet of Things. With this strategy they can meet passengers’ growing demands for information and services to their mobile devices,” May Zhou says.

As SITA reports:

  • 40% of Chinese carriers believe the top benefit of connected aircraft is passenger experience improvement
  • 80% of Chinese carriers are adopting connected aircraft
  • 100% of Chinese airlines will invest in wireless in-flight services for passengers over the next three years.
  • 58% of passengers in China already use their mobile devices onboard for in-flight entertainment.
  • 100% of airlines are investing in mobile services.
  • 100% of airlines in China will make investments to establish and/or improve IoT infrastructure.
  • 78% of airlines in China are planning ‘major’ IoT programs.

For now, SITA says, the only IoT initiative already implemented by Chinese airlines is fuel/engine monitoring on connected aircraft, and only 10% of Chinese airlines have done this.

Over the next three years, Chinese airlines will focus on smart bag tags, asset tracking and monitoring of the aircraft cabin environment as their top IoT projects.

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2 Replies to “Connected Aircraft are a Priority as Airlines Focus On Keeping Passengers Happy in China, SITA”

    1. Hi Expat! Thanks for reading. If it helps at all, there are already many aircraft flying with this service onboard, some including mobile telephony. There are very few phone calls made. Most passengers use mobile for data instead. There have been no reports of Candy Crush disruptions, or even inflight Pokémon GO hunts that I know of. While aircraft are getting quieter, there’s usually enough cabin sound to drown out the occasional bleep bloop and many use headsets when playing, either on their devices or on the in-flight entertainment systems. Most passengers now like the option of staying in touch with the ground when they fly. It’s still possible to be completely switched off and enjoy the silence. I don’t connect to Wi-Fi often, to be honest, but when I have it’s been pretty amazing. I’m old enough that it blows my mind that we can do this. Maybe you remember when AirFones were on every seat back? Ugh. The quality was so poor that most people didn’t make calls anyway. But the majority of today’s flyers who use Wi-Fi onboard stay active on Social Media and keep up with their emails. There are also benefits to the airline from connected aircraft which include improved operations, safety and service. Imagine knowing that your flight connection is taken care of, if you’ve been delayed, because the airline can notify you straight to your setback screen. Or, even better, imagine fewer delays because aircraft can keep up with latest weather updates and plan more efficient flight paths. It’s a brave new world, really, full of possibilities. Safe journeys!

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