Viasat Commercial Aviation Blog

Full Report - CAPA Airline Leader Summit, May 2017, Ireland

CAPA-2017-ViaSat-Powserscourt.jpgAirline CEOs Gather in Ireland

CAPA, the Centre for Aviation, held the Airline Leader Summit in the luxurious Powerscourt Hotel (just outside Dublin) for the fifth time in June 2017. The splendid location, with stunning views across the Wicklow countryside to the Sugarloaf Mountain, is a key incentive to get many of the world's leading airline CEOs to take time out from the day-to-day and to talk openly about the disruptive forces at play in aviation.

Disruption in Aviation

And disruption was certainly the keyword. Kevin Toland from the Dublin Airport Authority acknowledged the European Commission’s role in getting approval for Norwegian’s low cost long haul flights to US, a massively disruptive event on transAtlantic routes, which have traditionally been a lucrative earner for mainline carriers.

CAPA-2017-ViaSat-Richard-Quest.jpgDisruption is happening on two fronts: foreign ownership rules are being relaxed, and ticket sales are being taken over by third parties. On owning the passengers, Priceline’s market cap is $90Bn, Delta’s is $37Bn, Ryanair’s is £16Bn. Google and Amazon are well beyond this range. Airlines don’t have the time or resources to focus on big data, so OTAs (Online Ticket Agents) look well-positioned to take more and more of the flight ticket sales business.

Bobby Healy from Cartrawler warned that if Google end up controlling the top of the trip-planning funnel, airlines will lose out, as Google has a monopolistic strategy. More users = more data. Google has customer access, customer insight and product access (with airline help). Google is serving up Google Flights for all flight search queries and penalising OTA competitors. How can airlines fight back? Provide better digital products to customers. Richard Quest suggested that it is already too late for airlines to take back control. It’s like trying to hold back the tide.

IATA New Distribution Capability

CAPA-2017-ViaSat-Summit.jpgIan Heywood from Travelport talked about the IATA NDC (New Distribution Capability) and how it was key to the future of airline API strategies. Airlines must build APIs to reach IATA NDC end target. 

Ornagh Hoban of Datalex, said that non-airline players are going to take over the sale of the end-to-end travel experience. She also said that JetBlue is one of the foremost innovators in the space. Peter Bellew, CEO Malaysia Airlines, said that there is a total shift to mobile devices in Asia, that Ryanair is really slick in dealing with payments, and that data must be used across the airline, not just left in one department.

How ViaSat Can Help Airlines


ViaSat is fearless when it comes to using advanced technology to solve communications problems. ViaSat-2 launches shortly and will be operational by Q1, 2018, delivering 300 Gbps internet connectivity across North and Central American air routes and across the key transAtlantic air corridor.

Our Flight Path to the Connected Aircraft enables airlines of all sizes, and in all locations, to deliver benefits to flight crew, cabin crew and passengers with our flight operations apps and onboard entertainment systems, ready to connect up to our leading in-flight internet product and deliver full control over the flow of data across the airline. As the global aviation market faces disruption on many fronts, the ViaSat story has never been so compelling. Let's talk.

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Learn more about CAPA:

Learn about the IATA NDC programme:

In-flight internet from ViaSat:

ViaSat wireless IFE software:

AeroDocs, the Safety and Compliance Document Management System for Aviation:

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Image credits - All photos by ViaSat team