Nicole Grainger leads strategic marketing for Collins Aerospace’s inflight connectivity and cabin operations portfolios. She regularly develops business cases for new concepts and provides feedback on design activities for existing products.
Having a solid business case for aircraft connectivity is more important than ever; airlines want to know how they can use IFC across their entire fleet in the most efficient way possible.
Nicole Grainger, Collins Aerospace
Can you explain to us what a “strong” business case really is? What key elements must a business case have to be considered strong?
Looking at what makes a strong business case means looking at all the options and opportunities available. It’s about working with an airline to ensure that their planes really help them achieve their business goals. Aircraft themselves are an integral part of any airline’s service delivery and business model, so the contribution of any new product or service to the aviation platform must be quantified and understood.
Whose job is it to determine the business case for aircraft connectivity and who does it need to convince? Are there more than two parts to this process?
Historically, airlines have worked with a number of disparate suppliers on various elements throughout the service value chain. Sometimes that’s always the case, but more and more airlines want to understand the benefits of single-source synergies and how they can be exploited to increase benefits for the airline, driving operational efficiencies and level of service, for example.
Previously, the development of the business case was the responsibility of the airline, whether at the fleet management, engineering or platform level, and was part of the evaluation discussion for all new integrated service. But Collins Aerospace is uniquely positioned to help build that connectivity business case because we have a business model that can help quantify and validate the expected return on investment and payback period.
What role do each of the following play in a well-rounded business case for connectivity?
- Operational efficiency
Operational efficiency plays a huge role in the business case from a nose-to-tail connected aircraft perspective. A business case for connectivity cannot be based on revenue alone. For airlines to understand what can be achieved with a connected aircraft, the efficiencies from things like live weather apps need to be looked at. It is also important to ensure multimedia capabilities for the aircraft (having the right off-aircraft communication method for the various applications that transmit and receive data).
Safety is obviously paramount. The ability to use the air traffic control hose in the intended manner is essential. Shifting from non-security and higher bandwidth demands to more appropriate transmission methods, such as broadband backhaul, will ensure that critical transmissions are not affected by a heavier load of operational or non-operational messages. related to security.
- Passenger satisfaction
Beyond the enhanced cabin services made possible by cabin connectivity, there is value in passengers also having an inherently digital journey. It enables omnichannel experiences to continue in flight, adding tangible and intangible values. Ensuring this is documented will improve the overall value of the business case.
- Connected crew
We all know that flight crews embody brand value and are essential to delivering the customer experience promises made by the airline. The ability to quantify the value of crew support with time-saving apps and systems also plays a key role in creating a business case.
Which of these elements do you think should be highlighted right now and why?
Given the current climate, it is essential to help airlines make better use of their existing assets and to seek ways to provide upgrades or improvements without significant additional investment. This is especially true if they play a role in the airline’s core value proposition.
Of course, anything that helps improve passenger perception of sanitization or hygiene, such as reducing physical touchpoints, will help meet the basic need for safety that must be met before any other improvements can take place. be brought to a contactless cabin environment.
Tell us about a specific product or service from Collins Aerospace’s portfolio that can help airlines measurably improve the effectiveness of their IFC investment in a short period of time?
Our smart solutions involving aircraft interface devices and managed connectivity provide ways to offload safety pipes to broadband pipes. This is an area where airlines can see significant improvements in a short period of time.
Working with various teams and departments within an airline to understand their business and how having access or visibility to various connected aircraft data elements could improve their operations or their ability to forecast is an area where we can also have a significant impact.