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This case study summarises an assignment for the European Commission to consider how telematics might be used for the benefit of the whole aviation industry. Telematics is the integration of information technology and telecommunication in the provision of services.


The main objectives of the study were to consider:

  • the opportunities to use telematics for the benefit of Air Transport
  • the extent to which European Commission research programmes were addressing the opportunities

In this context the study also considered:

  • other potential impacts on Air Transport including those of high-speed rail and travel substitution
  • the Commission's other, non-telematic research activities.


The study was carried out by a team led by Icon Consulting and included representatives from IATA and Analytica. The initial stages of the work gathered information and ideas from a wide range of organisations active within the air transport industry. The information was analysed and structured into a paper and a questionnaire that proposed an extensive set of opportunities using telematics for the benefit of air transport. The questionnaire was circulated to some 27 airlines throughout Europe and, whenever possible, a meeting was held to discuss its contents. As a result, responses were received from airlines representing some 65% of European airline revenue and 55% of the passengers carried.

The results of the study were viewed in the context of an airline industry that anticipates increasing volumes of passengers in a liberalised regulatory environment. As a consequence, yields are expected to fall. Costs vary across the region and are at least twice as high as those within the U.S. Thus, the industry is seeking substantial reductions in costs in order to establish its commercial viability.


The study identified and presented information on a wide range of opportunities and summarised the potential impact on air transport. The analysis covered new telematic opportunities, those already within a Community R&D Programme and other technology opportunities that addressed key issues affecting the air transport industry.

A conclusion was that R&D support for telematics is being directed at issues that are either business critical or offer high value to the aviation industry. The study also found that many of the most significant R&D programmes are also supporting the competitiveness of the European industry. A key challenge identified for European aviation was to make the overall "system" work effectively. This requires the concerted effort of all members of the aviation community in Europe including airlines, airport operators, air traffic service providers and aircraft manufacturers.


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