Airlines ‘woefully underestimating’ potential of digital, says PwC

Airlines ‘woefully underestimating’ potential of digital, says PwC

The potential of digital technology is being “woefully underestimated” for internal use by airlines.The accusation comes from Ben Paul, the new airlines and airport industry leader at PwC.

Carriers are increasingly turning significant “sector disruptions” – from new technology and changing consumer behaviours to regulation – to their advantage.

But Paul warned about the risks of cyber complacency as companies continue to develop their digital technologies through customer-facing processes and by sharing business data with third party organisations.

With new EU general data protection regulations coming into force, data breaches could result in firms facing significant fines of up to 4% of their worldwide turnover.

Paul, who joined the firm in 1995, takes over the role from fellow PwC partner, Roger de Peyrecave, and will lead a 100-strong team. He said:

“Over the last few years, the airline industry has had to deal with considerable levels of disruption across areas such as competition, regulation, technology, and shifting customer demands.

“But we’re increasingly seeing businesses come up with a range of ways to turn these to their advantage, most notably in the digitalisation of customer relationships and a shake-up in distribution channels.

“However, when it comes to internal operations, the potential of digital technology is still being woefully underestimated across the industry.

“Using social media internally, for example, can improve collaboration, particularly in the application of key internal and supply chain processes.

“And initiatives such as digital airline maintenance management can also reduce costs and improve fleet utilisation, both of which can positively impact the bottom line.”

He added: “As businesses develop these technologies, it’s vital that boards also gain a greater understanding of what would make their organisation – and their customer and business data – more secure.

“Failure to effectively tackle cyber security could result in significant fines with new EU general Data protection regulations coming into force by 2018.

Darren Jukes, industrial products & services leader at PwC, said:

“It’s clear that as airlines continue to focus on expanding their capabilities and revenue opportunities, they must ensure that this is delivered in a compliant and strategically governed way.

“Against this backdrop, I am delighted that Ben has agreed to lead our airline industry team. Working with our UK team, and a 250-strong global network of airline specialists, his expertise will benefit our clients as they adapt and respond to these megatrends and disruptors

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