Aviation must embrace data and digital transformation to help deliver a frictionless experience for passengers while enhancing safety and efficiency.

The call came from the boss of Iata as he described the airline industry as being “on the cusp of digital transformation” due to its New Distribution Capability and One Order single customer order record.

NDC offers enhanced distribution with a modern XML-based data standard for communications between airlines and travel agents.

One Order replaces legacy processes built around e-tickets, passenger name records, and electronic miscellaneous documents, with a single retail, customer-focused order.

Director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac told an Iata aviation data symposium in Athens: “We must transform paper-based and legacy processes into digital ones and use data to drive decision-making in all facets of our business.

“Organisational silos will need to be shed to ensure a holistic focus on the entire customer experience. And we will need to do all this while continuing to ensure the highest levels of safety, security and environmental sustainability.”

He added: “Today we are on the cusp of a digital transformation with the NDC and One Order.

“These programmes, based on modern standards, will liberate the industry from a century of accumulated legacies and deliver a much-needed modernisation of distribution and back office processes.

“They will usher in a world of airline retailing that will drive value for the customer, airlines and the entire air travel value chain.”