Gregory Ouillon, Chief Technology Officer, SITAONAIR, said the company had focused on delivering a portfolio of passenger services, which is paying off with inflight connectivity now enabling greater personalisation.
“We have invested heavily in how to manage portals and the passenger experience, fairly independently of the satellite technology and cabin systems,” Ouillon said.
“We have been serving a portfolio of services for Emirates across multiple technologies, including Inmarsat SBB and Panasonic Ku, for several years. This means we have developed the know-how and experience of what passengers and airlines want.
“We have also done a lot of back-end integration work to offer value-added services, passenger engagement and personalisation.
For example, SITAONAIR worked with Saudia to enable inflight connectivity sales at the point the airline ticket was being purchased. And with Singapore Airlines it has integrated the airline’s departure control system and passenger manifest.
“Three minutes before the aircraft door closes we know what passenger is in which tier and can tailor their price plans accordingly,” Ouillon said.
“We have also completed integration work with Emirates and their frequent flyer programme. Passengers can just enter their frequent flyer credentials and the portal is instantly optimised for their them, with their own tailored services.”
Ouillon says SITAONAIR has developed an “intimacy” with passengers on behalf of their airline, allowing them to collect data that can then be used to improve their services.
“If airlines are not going to make inflight Wi-Fi a profit centre, and most realise they can’t, how can they leverage it to better engage their passengers and target advertising in a better way?” Ouillon said.
Ouillon said SITAONAIR has also done work on integrating crew tablets.
“Philippine Airlines are a great example, where connected crew tablets are now being rolled out, offering real-time information on flight disruptions, accommodation and passenger service – it just changes the dynamic of what crew can do,” he said.
SITAONAIR is also pushing ahead with its other e-enablement programmes and recently announced it has partnered with Astronics Ballard Technology to provide an integrated product solution using their new webCS Wireless Aircraft Communications Server along with SITAONAIR’s e-enabled application software.
The ‘smart core’ brings together connected aircraft data collected by SITAONAIR’s e-Aircraft DataCapture solutions for cockpit, cabin, and aircraft operations.
Last year SITAONAIR launched e-Aircraft, which was a result of the company’s collaboration with Air France to deliver ‘virtual black box’ flight recording solutions for automatic data collection.
Finally, Ouillon said the company was moving ahead with its on-board mobile 3.5G roll-out.
“Inflight mobile has been a very solid use-case for us, especially in the Middle East and we are absolutely convinced that the move to 3.5G will just help further.
“A lot of passengers like the way they can use their mobiles inflight via their roaming agreement with no log-in required,” he concluded.