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Seven Weekly Stats: Airlines Have a Lot to Gain from Unified Communications

July 22, 2015 by

When airlines first came about, flying was a luxury. Passengers could look forward to premium meals, luxurious seats, and high-class service. Nowadays, flying is much quicker and more affordable, but it has come at a cost—seats are smaller, three-course meals have been replaced with peanuts and soda, and the relative freedom of the skies has given way to rigid protocols.

With that in mind, it's no surprise that many find airlines annoying. Whether it's lost bags, unexplained delays, or a difficult passenger in the row behind you, even an aviation aficionado like me has experienced inconvenience when flying.

However, for as much as they burn a hole in our pockets, airlines no doubt experience significant financial obstacles in getting planes off the ground—no pun intended. All told, it costs an airline around $50,000 to fly a single flight from the United States to Western Europe, and a single cancelled flight or diversion can cost an airline in excess of $100,000. Pretty staggering numbers.

And with myriad IT components—from inbound call centers to booking mechanisms and logistics systems, there is no room for error—yet, there are consistently errors. With unified communications, airlines can significantly reduce their inefficiencies. Not only are inbound calls are no longer lost, thanks to unparalleled redundancy, but they're also able to be processed much more efficiently.

1. Southwest Airlines' call center receives 110,000 inbound calls per day—that's 1.25 per second. (IT Today) (Tweet this)

2. In its first six months with a unified communications system, Southwest reduced the total time its passengers spent on hold by 410,000 hours—or 47 years. (IT Today) (Tweet this)

3. Delayed flights, which can often happen due to miscommunication on the ground, cost U.S. airlines $8.3 billion per year on average. (UC Berkeley) (Tweet This)

4. Swiss International Airlines has seen a 20 percent decrease in call costs since implementing unified communications eight years ago. (Colt) (Tweet this)

5. It's not just inbound call center failures that cost airlines business: in 2010, Virgin Australia Airlines, then known as Virgin Blue, experienced internet booking downtime of 11 days—resulting in $20 million in lost revenue, or an average of $1.8 million per day. (Evolven) (Tweet this)

6. 12 percent of airlines have experienced website downtime equalling more than three days per year. And considering that nine out of 10 new customers will not return to a vendor should its website fail to load, the implications are huge. (Pingdom) (Tweet this)

7. The worldwide revenue of airlines is $556 billion, yet global profits only average $25 million—illustrating how much overhead costs airlines have to deal with, and how much potential there is for unified communications to reduce them. (Statista) (Tweet this)

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