Cashless cabins and POS options combined with back-end management solutions are not a new form of technology. Duty-free concessionaires were the first true onboard retailers, and pioneered the technology more than 15 years ago. So why is there so much buzz today about cabin automation?
With a growing number of carriers adopting onboard connectivity and rapidly advancing tablet technology, the aviation industry is finally able to implement next generation cabin automation technology. These technologies can be leveraged to create a paperless cabin and fully optimize a carrier’s inflight operations. Using all of these technologies combined into a single handheld tablet device, airlines can increase Crew efficiency, while reducing costs and increasing revenues, leaving more time for Crew to provide the best possible customer service to passengers.
Some of the key operational areas that are benefited by cabin automation technology include:
Fuel Burn: An airline could cut fuel costs by deploying a tablet-based cabin automation solution, as it remove the need for hard copy manuals and paperwork necessary to the day-to-day tasks of the Crew.
Administrative Costs: Cabin automation will also generate valuable savings from reduced administration costs. Administration savings include those that derive from giving flight attendants a tablet device, which enables an automated paperwork process. Cost-savings in airline administration are due primarily to reductions in back-office expenses related to the revision, printing, posting and handling of flight attendant manuals, as well as eliminating the need for following up with crew to obtain completed reports.
Airport Real Estate: Cabin automation can enable a potential reduction in physical space needed for crew and administrative ground staff in the airport. Each airline will have its own preference for the need for crew briefing rooms; however, some airlines that have introduced digitized crew briefing processes have eliminated significant airport real estate, saving a great deal on the cost of rent.
Compliance: Airlines must keep flight crews current with ongoing documentation updates, which are mandated by government aviation authorities. The amount of time necessary to get the paperwork completed and delivered is substantial, as these documents must be designed, printed and collated for each subsequent update. After distribution, there is also an audit process necessary to ensure crews have the current information. Using cabin automation, these costs can be eliminated entirely. Airlines can also save on labor associated with this effort.
Onboard Retail: A cashless cabin can create savings primarily due to reduced bank charges (for depositing cash) and reduced costs due to the collection of cash. If used in a connected environment, an airline can significantly decrease their financial loss due to fraudulent credit card charges as well. Airlines can be more effective at forecasting the types of catering and retail offerings that will be preferred by travelers, as well as the time of day, market and seasonality of these purchasing trends. By stocking more of the products that are popular with customers, airlines will not only decrease their weight (on return flights) and fuel burn, but also, increase ancillary revenues drastically.
Providing a suite of applications coupled with in-depth analytics, airlines can ensure that their passengers have the best possible inflight experience and maximize the profit generated through each flight. And cabin automation solutions don’t have to be overpriced; in fact, the cost to implement Allegiant Systems’ FlyDesk can be covered simply by selling an additional five inflight cocktails each month.[[Image: Superjet International – Flickr]