Are Airlines Taking Off With the Cloud?

Cloud computing is a fast-growing segment of the IT market.

Between higher mobile device usage, dropping storage costs, and super-fast connection speeds, the cloud is becoming more and more attractive to businesses and consumers.


So is the airline industry taking notice?

Airlines on Board

According to the 2012 Airline IT Trends Survey, 75% of airlines plan to implement infrastructure-as-a-service technology by 2015; those numbers are the same for software-as-a-service. Nearly 40% of airlines are already using SaaS.

Almost 70% of airlines surveyed said they plan to use desktop-as-a-service technology by 2015, though only 11% already have this service up and running.


Cloud computing provides several benefits for the airline industry, including:


  • Improved flexibility. If the airline needs to update or install a new app on all ticketing office and call center computers, the cloud makes the process quick and painless.
  • Reduced costs. Cloud computing requires fewer onsite IT resources and less physical space. These cost savings are critical for cash-strapped airlines.
  • Cloud providers that offer variable cost models are particularly attractive to airlines. These providers allow the airline to pay only for the amount of bandwidth it uses — which can amount to a major savings in slower months.

Air Malta

For a real-world example of how the cloud can benefit airlines, let’s take a look at Air Malta.

By outsourcing its IT operations and shifting its infrastructure to a cloud-based system, this airline is saving 30% over its old IT model. The company’s networking, security elements, and office automation servers are all moving to the cloud.

At the same time, Air Malta is providing employees with new laptops and tablets supported by mobile services, boosting their overall productivity.

London Gatwick

The U.K.’s second-largest airport, London Gatwick took a major leap into the cloud earlier this year.

By shifting its IT services into the cloud, the airport managed to eliminate 200 servers from its infrastructure. The overall plan is to drop from three data centers to just one by the end of 2016. Gatwick currently uses a dozen cloud-based services, working directly with an airline-industry application supplier.

The airport also launched a bring-your-own-device program to allow employees to use their own smartphones at work. These changes have allowed Gatwick to streamline its IT processes and reduce costs.


A lower-cost subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, Scoot adopted a data link management service to handle message exchanges between the cockpit and the ground. The first airline to adopt such a service, Scoot already has more than 12,000 aircraft using the technology.

Because this service is cloud hosted, the airline didn’t have to invest in extra hardware or hosting. This presented a far more cost effective solution for their data link needs.

Because of its flexibility and ease of implementation, cloud computing is an attractive service for many companies — and the airline industry has embraced it in a big way.

This service is helping airlines save or reduce major costs, helping them stay profitable in challenging economic times.

About the Author: Freelance blogger Angie Mansfield covers a variety of subjects for consumers and small business owners. Her work addresses topics such as business management, marketing, and finding a cheap hotel for your vacation.

License: Creative Commons image source

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