5 Reasons Global Airlines like Air France-KLM and Air China are upgrading their Networks

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In September 2015, American Airlines, one of the largest airlines in the U.S., was forced to ground large parts of its fleet due to what a company spokesperson termed as “connectivity issues” in the company’s Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth and Miami hubs.

In July 2015, United Airlines briefly grounded all U.S. flights when a router problem disrupted ‘‘network connectivity’’ for several software applications, the second such incident for the carrier in less than six weeks.

In October 2015, Southwest Airlines faced a software application failure which resulted in 836 delays out of 3,355 scheduled flights, resulting in serpentine lines at numerous U.S. airports.

The Airline Network Goes Beyond Just Flight Route Maps
Industry experts believe that old legacy systems are unable to handle the exponential surge in passenger volume, fleet sizes, along with increasing customer expectations and global expansion of airline companies.

For the airlines industry, the importance of global network connectivity ranges from business- to mission-critical. When network connectivity is lost or application performance is impacted, airlines and their passengers suffer greatly—from flight delays, misplaced luggage, service degradation, and more.

Recently Air France-KLM announced that it was about to become the first European airline to move away from the outdated SITA (the IT and telecommunication services provider for a number of large airlines) to a more sophisticated Wide Area Network.

Air China, on the other hand, partnered with Aryaka to leverage our global private network and deployed Aryaka’s SMART CDN to boost the performance of the company’s web portals and website.

Airlines with progressive visions are rethinking their networks and strengthening the backbone of their global applications before they embark on the digital transformation journey.

Here are five compelling reasons why airlines need to pay greater attention to their global networks.

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1. The Cloud and Digital Transformation Are Everywhere
The needs and expectations of airlines, their partners, business customers, and passengers have changed with the evolution of the technology landscape. The ‘Information Generation’ of today demands faster access to services, on a diverse set of devices, and a customized, personalized user experience. Businesses have turned to the Cloud and SaaS to be able to cater to these demands. As a result, airlines are increasingly relying on cloud services as a means to provide better business execution, unlock new revenue channels, and lower costs.

In its recent announcement, Air France-KLM revealed that, “The network will form the backbone for the company as it embraces the latest mobile, cloud, big data analytics, and wearable technologies to enhance and personalize passenger experience.”

None of this is possible without fast, secure, and reliable global connectivity that can support mission-critical applications.

Aryaka’s global airline and transportation customers can realize over 200 percent improvement in the performance of all their cloud services and SaaS-based applications, regardless of where they are hosted.

2. Performance of Mission-Critical Applications
The aviation industry is complicated, extremely regulated, and has very low tolerance for failure or mishaps. Part of the reason why airlines like Air France-KLM are upgrading their WAN is that the public Internet is overly congested, delivering fluctuating latencies and high packet loss. This results in long load times, slow responsiveness, and a frustrating user experience.

Today, airlines around the world rely on global applications for mission-critical activities, which include passenger check-in, flight operations, departure control applications, etc. The enterprise network is the chain that connects various globally distributed stakeholders with these mission-critical applications, ERP and CRM apps, social media, and more. Airlines require a global network that provides them with fast, reliable network connectivity and optimal application performance.

Existing connectivity options do not support the performance needs of mission-critical applications. The current options that organizations are relying on is the congested public internet, which is susceptible to inconsistent latencies and packet loss, or MPLS, which is rigid and expensive.

3. Operational Efficiency Can Make or Break Airlines
Airlines continue to expand globally, add newer destinations, cater to an ever-rising demand at every location and deal with vast amounts of critical passenger information, yet work with increasingly slim gross margins. Hence, what often differentiates the more profitable airlines from the rest is operational efficiency. And one of the most critical elements of operational and process efficiency is global network connectivity.

Aryaka offers airlines a global connectivity solution designed for mission-critical applications required for business execution. Airlines only need to connect to one of Aryaka’s globally distributed Points of Presence (PoPs) to ride their traffic over our Global Private Network, which delivers low latency, negligible packet loss, and consistently high application performance. In addition, Aryaka’s fully managed service can be up and running in days or hours, compared to the months it takes with MPLS.

For rapidly expanding global airline companies, Aryaka can be a huge advantage as setting up operations at a new location and deploying high-performance network connectivity becomes a lot less hassle-free and faster, without the need for expensive hardware and an army of network engineers.

4. Emerging Markets will Play a Greater Role
Most American and European Airlines are now trying to enter emerging markets like China, India, South Asia, Africa, and Latin America. To cater to this burgeoning customer base, airlines need to expand their footprint, which necessitates significant investments in global network connectivity. The problem here is that regional network service providers in these regions and others in the Middle East and Asia still bank on unreliable legacy network technologies like MPLS and IP-VPN. And network inefficiencies at even one or a few locations tend to snowball across the entire network, incurring severe consequences.

5. Customer Experience Reigns Supreme
From the time passengers log into a web portal to book tickets to when they pick up their checked-in luggage at their destination and walk out of the airport, airlines make a significant investment in time and resources to ensure a great customer experience. Here, the speed and responsiveness of airline web applications and customer portals play a crucial role.

Research indicates that 59 percent of website visitors are likely to leave if it takes five seconds or more for a page to load. And for those who are patient enough, the slow response times likely add up to a poor customer experience.

Using a dynamic content delivery network such as Aryaka’s SMART CDN solution can accelerate the performance of both static and dynamic web content, delivering a smooth lag-free experience to end users. When Air China moved to Aryaka’s solution the airline saw cache hit rates improve more than 99 percent (offloading over 99 percent of static content onto edge cache servers) and loading times reduce considerably. This greatly improved the airline’s web experience globally.

Connectivity for the Global Enterprise
Progressive airlines are increasingly realizing that digital transformation is no longer a thing of ‘when the time comes’- it’s a survival strategy in this highly competitive market. Both Air France-KLM and Air China’s move to upgrade their network performance are prime examples of airlines planning to create a digital strategy for their businesses. And the success of any digital transformation relies on a solid foundation –a network to back up the aggressive real-time demands of a digital enterprise.

Whether you’re an airline struggling to deliver optimal connectivity and application performance over legacy network solutions, or a business in a different industry segment, Aryaka offers global connectivity solutions that are flexible, high-performance, and easy to manage. Find out what Aryaka can do for your business by giving us a try and observe the benefits first hand!

About the author

Gary Sevounts
Gary Sevounts

Gary Sevounts is the Chief Marketing Officer at Aryaka Networks, and is responsible for Aryaka’s global marketing efforts. He has extensive experience with software and SaaS products in the IT infrastructure and security space, as well as marketing and sales technology, having held marketing and product management leadership roles with a number of industry leaders.