The role of digitalization in airline industry

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Before the jolt of COVID-19, digitalization was at the forefront of the aviation industry’s collective consciousness.  

Carriers all over the world are making progress toward fulfilling their digital transformation objectives by investing in cloud services, data centers, wireless onboard crew services, and autonomous data management, all of which are critical components in attaining digitalized airline operations. 

The digital revolution has reached its pinnacle, and it is now affecting established businesses like utilities, industrial goods, and airlines, to name a few.  

Sensors, equipment, and IT systems may well be connected to evaluate data, allowing for faster, more flexible, and more efficient processes, according to experts in these industries.  

However, many of these leaders are baffled as to how digital techniques may help them gain strategic benefits. 

Beyond mobile boarding cards and text message notifications, digital technology and services are improving the passenger experience at many airports.  

Airline Digital Business Process Management (BPM) is responsible for the business processes that are impacted by digital transformation. 

BPM services are critical to providing a better customer experience. Call center outsourcing firms connect brands from many industries with their customers via various channels, such as chat, phone calls, and emails.  

To develop strong and durable customer relationships, an omnichannel approach across multiple media is required. 

With the harsh realities of the post-COVID-19 operating environment, adopting gleaming new digital tools, solutions, and services might not be at the top of airlines’ priority lists.  

According to Tom Mouhsian, Principal Analyst, and Frederic Giron, VP, Research Director, Forrester, “Once the world has dealt with the pandemic, hordes of passengers will flock to airlines and happily fly again. Airlines need to have immediate ramp-up plans in place, by country, by route, and by sales/service channel. Imagine going from zero to 4 billion passengers (as was the number of air travelers globally prior to COVID-19) in a matter of a year. Yes, more planning will be required for that.” 

However, many airlines are at a key juncture in terms of putting digitalization rhetoric into action, with a plethora of affordable intelligent solutions on the market that not only allow them to work smarter and more cost-effectively when times are tight.  

They may also assist airlines with long-term refinement and rebuilding of their operations, as well as actively support their digital goals as they evolve. 

Digitalization of Flight 

Strategic digital advancements delivered through a range of intuitive airline software and services provide immediate and future-proof benefits to airlines in everyday flight operations.  

By assisting with the responsibilities involved at each stage of the flight, airlines may improve their overall operations. 

Work operations in the cockpit have become increasingly computerized as a result of digitalization. A networked ecosystem of apps, services, and documents that will define the future flight deck is becoming more accessible to pilots.  

Pilots can acquire rich, important information from a single handheld device thanks to targeted applications.  

As part of an airline’s bespoke digitalized portfolio, these can assist them with improving operational efficiency, situational awareness, collaboration, and safety protocols. 

Going digital is a certain way for pilots to reduce their burden. Having the ability to digitally upload briefings or submit reports with a device that connects at the gate, for example, eliminates levels of administration. 

Digitalization improves operational efficiency as well. Consider specialist apps that provide situational weather knowledge.  

Apps that offer better awareness of the cockpit can support more flexible and responsive operations, as well as safer and more economical flight paths, by delivering graphically optimized views of market-leading weather data.  

The reason for minimizing such risk is evident, with aircraft interruptions previously estimated to cost the airline industry $60 billion per year. 

Establishing a centralized digital ecosystem for airlines application testing also makes it easier for pilots and ground-based operators, many of whom have had to adjust to remote work, to interact more efficiently. 

Greater consistency and communication around flight performance can be achieved by providing everyone involved in flight operations with the same perspective on airline information, regardless of where they are situated.  

Having more eyes on the same data, such as through smart fuel tracking, increases the likelihood of detecting problems or opportunities for improvement. 

Likewise, employing a digital applications suite for cabin staff helps to significantly cut administrative operations, allowing them to spend more time focusing on passenger service.  

How does digitalization help airlines run more efficiently 

Many airlines acknowledge that a digital transition is critical to reimagining and rebuilding aircraft operations, flying, and the onboard experience in order to make them safer, more efficient, and more entertaining. 

Connecting application-rich cockpit and cabin crew tablets to accessible flight deck connection channels can enable constant data sharing with the ground. 

These advantages can be magnified exponentially when in-flight connectivity is included. Pilots will demand the same level of connectivity in the air as they have on the ground. And it’s easy to see why. 

Those flying with a connected app ecosystem are in the best position to get real-time, consistently formatted, uplinked updates from the ground, giving them the most up-to-date and complete picture for decision-making.  

From real-time weather knowledge, route planning, and air/ground communications to conveying aircraft health information, this has the potential to assist every element of flying. 

Meanwhile, connecting cabin crew devices allows attendants to better communicate with ground IT and their coworkers onboard.  

Enhanced communication empowers attendants to promote safe and upgraded passenger service by allowing them to get connection updates, relay customer complaints, or communicate catering stock information mid-flight. 

On the base, improving aircraft operations activities, collaboration, and support will require evolving digital applications that can communicate with people onboard. 

Advancing digitalized operations – leveraging an integrated, connectivity-ready airline application ecosystem – provides operators with the agility they need to respond to new challenges and needs after COVID-19. 

Airlines must be able to cut across numerous disciplines and satisfy best practices in order for flight operations digitalization to deliver on its promises of increased time and cost efficiency and effectiveness.  

Airlines will require partners with the skills to help them achieve digitization today and in the future, as well as partners who are always ready to adapt. 

Since so much of this transformation takes place across processes, it’s critical to maintain product quality.  

Traditional testing methodologies are continuously being updated by testers, and carriers are devising new ways to make these changes easier to embrace. 

Quality Assurance and Software Testing for Airlines Industry 

The airline sector is currently confronting two major challenges: changing customer behavior and growing global competition.  

Airlines can solve these problems by adapting to social media channels, the cloud, and mobile technology. 

As more people book plane tickets online, travel firms and airlines must focus on providing a positive consumer experience on their websites. 

Quality assurance and testing are crucial in ensuring that online transactions result in a smooth, secure, and dependable client experience.  

It is critical for airlines to have a digital assurance strategy that includes establishing the necessary tools, processes, and measures for delivering a consistent customer experience.  

When looking for high-quality airline software testing, there are three crucial elements to consider: business rules implementation, system integration, and non-functional testing. 

Business Rules Operation Testing 

Airlines must tailor their business, packaging, and pricing rules to their specific needs. As part of the online booking process, these customizations should be appropriately executed.  

Passenger amount limits, infant tax computation, selling insurance policies, and loyalty services all have their own set of business regulations, adding to the test case design’s complexity. 

To test the application of business rules, testers need domain knowledge. The ticketing procedure is not always followed in a sequential order.  

When developing a test strategy, a number of business rules from the booking process must be taken into account.  

In order to avoid user errors, testing airlines digital applications must verify both conformity to industry norms and simplicity of use from a quality standpoint. 

Depending on user situations and application functionality, the airline application test approach must account for user preferences, including browser and behavior, as well as robust test case design employing orthogonal arrays, cause-effect graphing, and state transition diagram methodologies. 

Flight application for testing of systems integration 

The Global Distribution System (GDS), also known as the Computer Reservation System (CRS), and the Internet Booking Engine (IBE), paired with a payment system, are the most common platforms for travel booking services.  

Each of these components has grown in complexity and usefulness, making integration increasingly important. 

The needs must be established clearly and as early as possible. The performance tolerances for GDS, CRS, and payment systems are extremely tight.  

As a result, smooth integration with minimum overhead is critical. Slow replies while retrieving information may result in the UI not rendering correctly or a failed ticket transaction. 

Non-Functional Airline Software Applications Testing 

People’s attitudes toward online applications are shifting. It is no longer limited to browsers on a laptop or desktop computer; tablets or mobile phones with various screen sizes are now commonplace for consuming information and conducting transactions.  

Aesthetics and simplicity of use are crucial components that organizations should be worried about in order to keep users on their website or application. 

Airlines app testing and responsive websites form a critical aspect of software testing in aviation sector. 

Testing Responsive Travel Web Sites 

In order to create appealing web apps, responsive web designs are used. They ensure that your website looks great on all devices, including PCs, tablets, and smartphones.  

Responsive Web Design is the process of resizing, hiding, shrinking, enlarging, or moving content to make it load efficiently on any screen using CSS and HTML. 

The following are some of the advantages of responsive design: 

  • It gives an excellent viewing and interaction experience across a wide range of devices, with easy reading and navigation with minimal resizing, panning, and scrolling. 
  • It offers a unified user experience and coverage across all digital platforms. It facilitates end-user workflow on numerous screens. 
  • It is capable of handling any new operating system or platform release. 
  • It brings resources together and aligns corporate objectives across platforms. 

The majority of today’s software programs are responsive. It takes a long time to manually test responsive applications across many platforms.  

That is why a responsive automation framework is required, which can do automated responsive checks on the application, create mock-ups, and report failures. 

Because there are so many ways to access responsive design applications, automation is required to cut down on testing time. Such dynamic web pages are inaccessible to traditional automation technologies. 

We are transitioning from a pre-digital to a post-digital era. Within ten years, the bulk of the world’s population will be made up of post-digital generations, or individuals who have grown up interacting with internet technology and using it to govern their lives. 

Closing thoughts 

With this generational transition comes the expectation of using technology in all aspects of life, including travel. This will have a significant impact on how passengers engage with airports and airlines, as digital travelers want greater automation and control over every step of their journey. 

In fact, according to a recent study, 83 percent of airport and airline IT leaders estimate that by 2025, this generational transition will have the greatest impact on their passenger solutions strategy. 

End-to-end application testing for airline digital apps (including e-commerce, digital platforms, departure control, passenger management, operations, fleet management, and so on) is provided by Cigniti’s Domain Competency Group of 300+ Quality Engineering experts and a dedicated Testing Center of Excellence for Airlines. 

Cigniti’s automation testing experts are well-versed in all aspects of the airline industry. Our team has managed a variety of modern airline IT systems, including new generation airline passenger solutions, revenue accounting, booking, ecommerce websites, and mobile apps for various platforms, among others. 

Cigniti’s airlines software testing center of excellence gives you access to 400+ Test Accelerators, a strong airline domain testing competency group experts who are passionate about the aviation domain, a robust toolkit and framework, on-demand testing services, and flexible engagement options. BlueSwanTM, Cloud Enabled Test Labs, Certified Test & Engineering Specialists, and a CI-enabled Enterprise Automation Framework are among Cigniti’s enablers. 

We have deep product experience in SITA, Sabre, Amadeus, IBS Cargo, Navitaire, Navtech, Shares, Mercator, AIMS, & Unisys, and also support external interfaces such as GDS, Timatic, APIS, Payment, Cargo, and Alliance Partners. 

To find out more about digitalization in the airline industry, embark on a journey to the digital future with Cigniti by connecting with us. 

Author

  • Cigniti is a Global Leader in Independent Quality Engineering & Software Testing Services with offices in US, UK, India, Australia, and Canada.

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