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FUTURE PERFECT TRAVEL

The white paper available below is the first in a series of collaborations between Panasonic Avionics Corporation and Harbor Research on the future of air travel.

The “wanderlust generation”

The Millennial “wanderlust generation” is about to become the largest traveler population in human history. As the first generation of digital natives, they have grown up with a seamless life of online shopping and excellent design in all things digital.

Far from being merely buyers of services, Millennials are a networked cohort that broadcasts its strong opinions to the world instantly. Travel-industry companies without a plan for meeting the expectations of this demographic are flirting with their own extinction. Millennials represent a disruptive and perplexing challenge for the travel industry as a whole, but especially for airlines which still lag far behind other businesses in the delivery of seamless experiences.

To enable new tailored end-to-end air travel experiences based on both Millennial and non-Millennial traveler habits and preferences, companies across the air transport arena will need to develop a more acute and nuanced understanding of their customers’ needs and wants in each stage of a journey.

Airline ecosystem innovation

Airlines have remained “product-centric”

However, to date the airline industry has remained largely “product-centric.” All of the major segments of equipment and hardware suppliers who serve the industry have historically operated within well-established business models that reflected the distinctive competencies that each group had at its core.

Collectively, they continue to see their customers as “freight-to-be-hauled” rather than as passengers who expect a personalized experience.

But today, digital transformation is causing a blurring of the line between legacy business models, forcing all the major suppliers to re-think their strategies. The new reality for air transportation players is collaborative systems. As carriers, airport operators, airframe OEMs and IFEC players evolve to understand that all aspects of a traveler’s experience are interconnected, new innovations will emerge  in every stage of a journey—pre-flight, at the airport, in the cabin, and post-flight—as well as many new relationships across the air transport system.

Two important opportunities

Airlines now have two important opportunities in front of them: To become “engagement-centric” in relation to their customers, and to become ”innovation orchestrators” for a new era of collaboration across their entire industry.

Digital transformation and innovation are creating the potential for visionary players in the air transport ecosystem to re-think their focus, shifting from a product-centric to an engagement-centric relationship to users and customers.

As air transport players become more responsive to new trends, technologies, and evolving flyer preferences, they can step into a new role of “innovation orchestrators” where they become part of a collaborative group of players enabling innovative new passenger journeys that are accompanied by a whole new realm of lucrative services. Orchestrators will help facilitate changes in how aircraft systems and air travel experiences are organized and delivered. ◀︎

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