This was driven home by a comment former IATA CEO Tony Tyler made a few years back when he said if Indians flew to the same extent as Americans, there would be a market potential of two billion people each year.
That is extraordinary and in the next few decades a likely reality. India is already expected to become the world’s third biggest aviation market behind the US and China by 2020 with 370 million passengers traveling to, from and within the country.
Yet this growth is not without it challenges. India simply cannot build or expand its airport infrastructure quickly enough to accommodate this growth. For airlines, the competition is intense and remaining profitable a constant struggle. Regulations are onerous.
Unlocking the full potential of Indian aviation over the coming decades is multi-faceted and complex. How much of and how fast India’s potential is realized depends on how quickly airlines and airports embrace the efficiencies and passenger convenience that advanced IT systems and services bring. This is where SITA plays a key role. Technology can help make the business of air travel easier and smarter. This is supported by the finding of SITA’s SITA’s India IT Trends Benchmark study.
We strongly believe that technology has the real potential to transform air travel in India. For example, airports facing physical constraints on their capacity, can leverage self-service technology to improve passenger flow while business intelligence systems can help proactively identify and avoid potential bottlenecks along the journey. That means more passengers through the same airport infrastructure available today.
For airlines, the ability to leverage connected aircraft will help smooth aircraft operations while offering passengers more options to stay connected inflight.
The benefits of technology and the fact that Indian travelers are high connected – 98% of Indian passengers carry at least one mobile device – is encouraging a strong push by both airlines and airports to invest in self-service and mobile technologies. Overall all airlines and 80% of airports in India expect to see IT budgets increase in 2017 compared to 2016.
This investment in technology is important. While there are many impediments to transforming India’s air transport industry, with the technology available today making your business smarter at every step should not be one of them.