Four Groundbreaking Innovations Transforming the Airline Industry This Month

Welcome to the first edition of the Airline-Tech Innovation Radar, where we spotlight the latest technological advancements reshaping the airline industry.

Today’s article delves into the most exciting innovation launches from February 2024. In the past month, we have pinpointed four standout innovations poised to redefine the landscape of Airline Tech.

Let's explore each innovation in detail.

Innovation #1: Innovating Airport Operations With 3D Visualization


The unveiling of Apple's VisionPro headset has captured the imagination of the tech world, potentially marking the dawn of a new era in consumer devices. Yet, its implications stretch far beyond just consumer appeal, particularly in the B2B sector. In fact, the mixed reality capabilities of the VisionPro might find their most immediate and impactful applications within professional contexts, especially within the aviation industry.

ForeFlight, a Boeing subsidiary, has swiftly capitalized on the capabilities of Apple’s VisionPro to introduce “Voyager”—an application that transforms airport operations into a 3D immersive experience. This way, Voyager could become a practical tool that provides real-time insights into airport dynamics. Through the spatial computing power of VisionPro, “Voyager” crafts a detailed three-dimensional airport environment that users can explore in real-time, offering an unprecedented level of engagement with live flight operations.

What sets the tool apart is its ability to incorporate satellite imagery, high-resolution terrain data, and live traffic updates, effectively bringing airport landscapes to life in the palm of your hand. This immersive experience is presented on a virtual floating disk, offering panoramic views from any perspective. Whether selecting from a list of prominent airports or searching for any global location, users gain a real-time projection of nearby airports, providing a comprehensive operational overview at a glance.

While initially appealing to aviation enthusiasts, the potential applications of Voyager extend far beyond operational enhancements for the aviation industry. By providing a holistic, real-time view of airport activities, it promises to streamline airport processes. This could significantly improve the coordination of various stakeholders involved in airport operations, potentially optimizing the efficiency of critical procedures such as the aircraft turnaround.

Innovation #2: Virgin Australia's Baggage Tracking Revolution


Virgin Australia has embarked on a mission to tackle one of the most persistent frustrations in air travel: baggage tracking. Recognizing the urgent need for innovation in baggage management (see our previous analysis), characterized by increasing mishandled luggage rates, Virgin Australia has taken significant strides forward.

The airline has enhanced its baggage tracking capabilities, granting passengers unprecedented transparency over their luggage whereabouts throughout their journey. This initiative, initially trialed in May 2023, has been expanded across Virgin Australia's entire network, encompassing both domestic and international flights.

Now, through the Virgin mobile app, customers can track their luggage in real-time on any route and opt to receive updates at key stages of their bags' journey. This improvement in customer service is reflected in the tool's popularity; it's been utilized over 1.3 million times since its introduction.

The direct, customer-focused approach to solving the baggage dilemma underlines Virgin Australia's broader commitment to innovation. Alongside enhancing baggage tracking, the airline has also made notable improvements in its customer service. This is evidenced by a significant reduction in call center volumes and average wait times, as Simple Flying reports.

Innovation #3: AirAsia's Leap into the Experience Economy


The third innovation we're spotlighting this month has also been born within the internal innovation departments of an airline, in this case, AirAsia. The carrier is already renowned for its expansive vision of building a Super App and becoming more than just an aviation provider. This ambition crystallizes in the launch of Movetix, a novel ticketing platform developed in partnership with Coras, a leader in global ticket distribution.

Movetix is designed to revolutionize how travelers plan, book, and combine their flight tickets, offering access to over 10,000 global events and activities. This extensive range of options is now directly accessible via the AirAsia Super App, alongside flights, hotels, and transportation services, ensuring a seamless travel experience from a single digital touchpoint.

What sets Movetix apart is not just its integration within AirAsia's ecosystem but its strategic alignment with the growing Experience Economy. By significantly expanding its ancillary service offerings into the domain of events and activities,  AirAsia is venturing into an entirely new category of travel-related services. Such a move is in line with the market trend of rapidly rising ancillary offerings. As well, this is a bold statement by AirAsia on the future direction of airline ancillaries, positioning the airline at the forefront of integrating the broader travel experience within its digital platform.

Innovation #4: Revolutionizing Inflight Ancillaries on Icelandair's Flights


Shifting the spotlight to the operational side of airline ancillaries, our fourth innovation of the month comes from Omnevo, a German tech startup, in collaboration with Icelandair. Together, they've introduced a cutting-edge electronic point of sale (ePOS) system designed to transform inflight service by enhancing operational efficiency and elevating the passenger experience.

This next-gen ePOS system equips airline crews with live inventory updates, ensuring they're always informed about the availability of meals and products onboard. This eliminates the all-too-common issue of running out of meal choices and allows for more accurate and dynamic inventory management.

Beyond inventory control, the system enhances customer service by offering combo meal options, integrating loyalty payments, and even allowing for preordered meal seat maps and an allergen filter. This means crew members can provide personalized service with greater ease, catering to the specific needs and preferences of each passenger.

Wrapping Up February's Radar

That concludes our February edition of the Airline-Tech Innovation Radar. While the airline industry is buzzing with many more new product launches and innovative collaborations, these four stood out to us due to their significant impact on airline retail and operations.

Make sure to stay tuned for our next edition, where we'll continue to spotlight the most exciting innovations, helping you stay ahead of the latest Airline Tech innovations. 

For a deeper understanding of our selection criteria and the conceptual setup of the Innovation Radar, we invite you to review our introduction from last month