Digitalisation in aviation – new challenges that must be understood

‘digitisation’,‘digitalisation’ (a two-letter difference!) and ‘digital transformation’ are often confused/Photo;

“The progress of digitalisation is already showing its tremendous impact on civil aviation today. While being one of the most advanced sector in the

process, is yet to face further developments resulting from this deep transformation. New technologies are crafting new opportunities for all those involved in air travel but also creating new challenges that
must be understood”, says Salvatore Sciacchitano, Director General Transport European Commission/ Executive Secretary European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC).
Operators, as well as regulators, would need to keep pace with the fast transformation driven by innovation and digitalisation.

A first glance at the matter already would demonstrate the complexity of the topic. Terms such as ‘digitisation’,‘digitalisation’ (a two-letter difference!) and ‘digital transformation’ are often confused.
‘Digitisation’ is the process of converting information into a digital (i.e. computer-readable) format which can then be used by a computing system
for numerous possible reasons. It is the automation of existing manual and paper-based processes, enabled by the digitisation of information.
‘Digitalisation’ is the use of digital technologies and of data in order to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities.
It is the process of moving to a digital business, and the digital information is at the core of this process.
‘Digital transformation’ relates to the profound change in business and organisational activities, processes, competencies and models. It aims at fully leveraging the changes and opportunities of a mix of digital technologies and their accelerating impact across society in a strategic and prioritised way, with present and future shifts in mind.
Salvatore Sciacchitano: “In light of these clarifications, it becomes even more obvious that digitalisation is happening now, everywhere, in every sector, and the future is heading in this direction. Digitalisation is an extremely wide topic that affects, in different terms and at different levels, all the various aspects of aviation.”
Safety, security, flight and airport operations, facilitation and the environment are all subject to digital transformation. And all stakeholders – whether airlines, airports, air navigation service providers, manufacturers, maintenance companies or regulators–would be called to play an active role in this transformation.
At its latest Forum in December 2017, ECAC chose to reflect on what this transformation already involves and how it will shape the future
evolution of civil aviation. With insights from experts from various backgrounds, ECAC Directors General engaged in lively discussions on the opportunities – and the risks – that this digital transformation represents to the aviation sector.
In the ECAC News (link beneath), the speakers of the ECAC Forum share their organisation’s approach to maximising the value of digital aviation. Each contribution presents the latest innovations in one component of air transport and some of the prerequisites to successful digital transformation – from the European Aviation Safety Agency to SESAR Joint Undertaking, from airlines to manufacturers.
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