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This report is the first of what will be an annual series from T2RL representing an assessment of the market for airline operations systems. T2RL have looked at the capabilities airlines are currently using, as well as the new capabilities airlines are demanding. These are the basis for projecting where the market for airline operations systems is going and what trends everyone needs to watch.
Like any dynamic marketplace, new solutions to old problems are constantly emerging. At T2RL, we have identified some major themes expected to grab the attention of both Airline Operations executives and vendor development teams over the next decade:
- Legacy system renewal – Better tools for integrating databases from disparate systems have made the process of changing systems considerably less complex.
- Real-time response to events – Responding better to real-time events – from routine delays to large-scale weather issues – will become more routine..
- Proactivity – Acting quickly is usually better than deliberating, even if the initial response turns out to have been wrong.
- Big data – As data collection becomes less expensive, increased use of analytics will provide actionable intelligence that will enable airlines to be more responsive.
- Irregular operations (IROPS) – Decision support for weather events will be the dominant frontier for the next decade. There is a lot of development going on currently, aided by the fact that most of the enabling technologies (e.g., systems integration, portable databases) are now in place.
No industry standard applications have emerged yet in any of the above frontiers, which means that these markets are still evolving rapidly and remain immature. The market will always be dynamic, volatile, and unpredictable. However, the current favourable operating environment (good profitability, management focus, and high investment in process improvements) portends good performance for both airlines and vendors over the next decade.