Always-on aviation – service excellence to smooth the journey

Always-on aviation – service excellence to smooth the journey

Always-on aviation – service excellence to smooth the journey

Service excellence to smooth the journey

An ‘always-on’ world is smoothing the passenger journey by delivering better operations and richer personalized services. It requires service excellence, every time, locally and globally.

The world is connected as never before. More and more people are traveling for business, for holidays, to meet with other family members. The world is on the move, and increasingly throughout the journey the world’s travelers want to be constantly connected.

The idea of being ‘always-on’ is infectious, and as it becomes ubiquitous there are major opportunities for stakeholders in the journey to be a part of each individual’s ‘always-on’ environment.


Air transport is the perfect example of how everyone and everything is becoming interconnected, real-time and personal. Everyone across the journey is starting to expect live, up-to-the-minute information.

It’s not just passengers, but crew, operations staff, engineers, caterers – they’re all players in the ‘always-on’ air transport environment and increasingly joined together by information and communications technology.

Add to that the evolution of the Internet of things, where everything that can benefit from a connection will have one, and the complexity grows. Continuously connected consumer gadgets along with constantly linked in business assets and equipment.

24x365, 100%

The IT communications, systems and applications that power the 24x365 air transport ecosystem are required at no less than 100% availability and reliability.

For airports and airlines, ensuring 24 hour access to services places huge strains on the industry’s communications and data infrastructures. Capacity, volume, speed and resilience are all being tested to new limits that are themselves expanding exponentially.

“For the CIO, this is a strategic issue at the highest level,” notes Rob Watkins, SVP SITA Global Services (SGS). “You’re faced with more data, more users, higher expectations and the need for increasingly higher levels of reliability.

“The challenge is to deliver against business needs, support stakeholders, manage a wide variety of vendors and a growing mix of applications and technologies. All the while striking the optimal balance of cost versus scope of service versus the level of business risk you are prepared to accept.

“It’s a major task which SITA is helping CIOs to address through major investment in global and local infrastructure, service and support,” says Watkins. “That includes transforming our support models, first among them a new Airport Support Model.”

Uptime up

The foundations for SITA’s service and support are investments made in state-of-the-art Command Centers, Next Generation Data Centers and Service Desks, capable of delivering the highest levels of availability and reliability for SITA services, and efficiently handling the vast amounts of data on which the industry relies.

Application and infrastructure availability rates have continued to improve to record levels. At the same time, SITA has significantly reduced the total downtime for major incidents, driving down the operational impact on both the airlines, airports and passengers.

Levels of service continue to deliver ‘best-in-class’ ratings and SITA sits firmly in the top quartile among IT service organizations globally.

‘5 dimensions’

“We’re focused on ever higher levels of intensity of support for the always-on aviation ecosystem,” says Watkins, “with continuous investments in what we call a ‘5 dimensions’ service model.” That model addresses customer experience, operational excellence, elevated efficiency, service expansion and capability enhancement.

Watkins again: “The initiative includes investing in new managed services through an evolving Service Catalog and the launch of a breakthrough Airport Support Model, bolstering SITA’s unrivalled global footprint and service at airports.”

New airport support model

SITA’s transformation of its service model is taking service and support beyond proactivity and towards prevention, as well as from labor-based to automated, value-driven services.

It involves the convergence of ways by which SITA can enhance its service and support capabilities for the benefit of customers. As centers of gravity where the air transport community interacts, airports are the initial focus.

The new Airport Support Model includes the deployment of technology to improve system administration, remote support capabilities, local field engineer mobility and increased service desk first call resolution. In addition to the direct service benefits that this delivers it also enables SITA to offer increased value to customers through support and service management of more of their IT infrastructure.  

Airport service managers

Roll-out to existing and new airport customers is well underway, including the introduction of Airport Service Managers – at 18 airports and the end of 2014 – as the customer-facing owner of all SITA services delivered at airports.

“As part of the introduction of Airport Service Managers,” comments Watkins, “we’re broadening the operational responsibility of our staff to cover all SITA products and services within the airport.

“This will remove some of the fragmented support arrangements that have evolved over time between different parties.”

Mobile workforce

“We’re also mobilizing SITA field engineers, providing remote access to SITA tools via a smartphone app. They can open, update and resolve an issue remotely rather than in a SITA office – making resolution faster and overall service levels sharper."

“We’ve achieved this so far for 50% of our engineers. The app includes incident and proactive monitoring tools, corporate databases such as knowledge management and corporate collaboration tools."

“This is a terrific opportunity to provide a more rounded and integrated service to airport customers, as well as airlines and other stakeholders in the airport ecosystem.”

With the major components of the Airport Support Model now in place, during 2015 the airport transformation will continue to combine local presence with global capability.

“It’s all part of the continuing transformation of our support model and our drive for service excellence in a highly demanding and interconnected 24x7 air transport ecosystem,” says Watkins.

SITA service portfolio

SITA Global Services (SGS) offers a managed service to meet customer and industry service and support requirements for their communications and IT infrastructure, globally and locally.

That includes an evolving Service Catalog with a growing range of managed multi-vendor service offerings to complement SITA’s portfolio, enabling broader support for customers across the industry.

Examples include:

Airport car parking

As a key part of the passenger journey, car parking provides the first interface with the airport. How effectively parking services are provided will impact on the rest of the journey.

Yet car parking systems providers frequently don’t have a local presence. In addition, car parking is increasingly driven by IT systems, either onsite in the car park or through greater integration with the passenger journey.

When managed successfully, airport car parking contributes significant revenue to the airport operator and delivers systems availability. SITA’s service capability starts with break-fix and maintenance services, building towards a fully managed car parking solution.

Paper consumables

Despite the move towards digital processes, paper consumables are still a core requirement for airports and their tenants.

The airport authority may have a combination of CUTE, CUSS, auto bag-drop, airline-specific tags and general office stationery needs, with an absence of standards – including 30 different varieties for length and configuration of bag tags.

SITA can offer a cost effective managed service for some or all of these requirements, introducing standards, managing the transition to new standards (to CUSS, for example) and improving quality.

On-demand field services

For many air transport companies – as they cope with changes, seasonal peaks, unforeseen events and deadlines – it’s tough to find the right air transport industry-specific IT resources, with the right skills, at the right time in the right place.

SITA’s on-demand field services provides skilled air transport industry engineers as needed, either for the long term or for as little as one hour – worldwide. SITA is the only air transport industry IT provider able to offer this service, based on its service reach of 200 countries and presence at some 400 airports.

Subscribe to the Air Transport IT Review