by Gamze ÖZDEMİR
Various technological developments are used by most airlines and airport operators to respond to changing customer needs in the aviation industry and to ensure the sustainability of customer loyalty. In this context of developments, each of the three stages of passenger travel has been facilitated. Examples of these developments include online check-in kiosks, self-service baggage drop points, and facial recognition systems.
With the rapid recovery of the aviation industry from the recent pandemic process, which has gradually lost its effect, innovation efforts have begun to become the focus of businesses. For this reason, businesses that want to integrate innovation into their operations must first create an innovation culture within the organization. However, businesses need to explain why change and innovation are needed to all of their potential employees in the organization chart. Finally, innovation studies should be planned considering the business’s future. Today, airline companies, and huge airports, have started to create their innovation centers. With these centers, businesses have begun to evaluate entrepreneurial approaches and create ideas about future travel experiences, taking into account the innovative ideas of their employees. Thanks to these centers, changes and improvements can be made in the passenger travel experience.
Pegasus Airlines is on the Way to Establish an Innovation Center in Silicon Valley
“Pegasus Airline, which continues its activities with the identity of “Turkiye’s Digital Airline” and has started to invest heavily in technology-based developments since 2018, is opening an innovation center in Silicon Valley.“
By entering Silicon Valley, the airline company has started to create new initiatives and technology ideas to be instantly informed about the changes in technology and to facilitate the establishment of partnerships with aviation industry businesses, universities, and all businesses that provide input directly or indirectly. The business will closely follow technological developments and incorporate innovative technologies that will facilitate and accelerate its operational activities and increase customer satisfaction.
Güliz Öztürk, CEO of the company that wants to pioneer technological activities around the world, explained her thoughts on the work carried out as follows: “Our technology investments are one of the most important features that differentiate us. We have been making serious investments since 2018. In line with our vision of ‘Turkey’s digital airline’, we are working to make the travel experience of our guests and the work experience of our employees easier, faster, and more efficient. Now, we are preparing to take an exciting new step to continue the sustainable development of this digitalization process.”
The company seems to increase its advantage of investing in innovative ideas and start-ups with its technological innovation center to provide its guests with unforgettable travel experiences and facilitate these experiences. In addition, like Güliz Öztürk, Pegasus Airlines Deputy General Manager of Information Technologies Barış Fındık stated that the company will follow technological developments closely and use self-service, mobility, and other advanced technologies.
Some Innovation Center Examples Around the World:
Work has begun to create an innovation center in collaboration with Plug and Play at Istanbul Airport, which is the largest airport in Europe. In cooperation with Plug and Play, units such as ‘innovation management’ and ‘entrepreneurship ecosystem’ will be established within the airport. Thanks to this cooperation, airport employees will be able to easily present their innovative ideas to the business.
IndiGo Airlines, India’s low-cost carrier (LCC), has taken a step in the field of innovation by introducing the artificial intelligence robot to its passengers with the 6Eskai application. The AI robot used by the business is powered by GPT-4 technology. The application was created by the digital unit team within the IngiGo Airlines company. The purpose of developing the application is to facilitate customer experience and increase service quality. The 6Eskai application helps passengers with issues such as booking tickets, applying for promotional discounts, performing web check-ins, and selecting seats. It was determined that the workload of the customer service unit decreased by 75% after the application became operational.
LabCampus, the innovation center planned to be located within Munich Airport, aims to create a culture of innovation together with universities and become an idea development center. Marc Wagener, president of LabCampus, explains that another aim of this platform is to increase cooperation between companies conducting R&D studies and airlines/airports.
The Lufthansa Innovation Center has launched the Swifty initiative to simplify and accelerate Lufthansa’s booking, payment, scheduling, and invoicing processes. Thanks to this initiative, it is based more on business travels and can offer quick solutions to potential problems that may arise. With the launch of Swifty, there has been a spectacular evolution in travel innovations. This startup is the world’s first artificial intelligence assistant that can seamlessly manage travel planning, booking, and payment processes. It is known that Lufthansa, aiming to become a center in the field of innovation, opened innovation centers in Singapore and Shenzhen in 2018.
Singapore Changi Airport
Changi Airport established DIVA (Digital, Innovation, Ventures & Analytics) to implement the innovative approaches of its employees and encourage them to think innovatively. In addition, the ‘Where2Clean’ application developed within this airport helps cleaning staff to see more than 50 gate waiting rooms in two terminals, a list of gates available for cleaning based on flight information, and how long these gates are available between flights. This helps supervisors better plan manpower to meet demand and cleaning needs.
Beswick, C., Bishop, D., & Geraghty, J. (2018). Bir İnovasyon Kültürü İnşa Etmek. Optimist Yayın Grubu.
Özdemir, G. (2023, 14 Ekim). İstanbul Havalimanından Dev Adım: Plug and Play İşbirliği. Informaviation. https://informaviation.blogspot.com/2023/10/istanbul-havalimanindan-dev-adim-plug.html
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