Air France-KLM invests in a next-generation network

Tata Communications today announces that it has won a multi-million dollar contract with Air France-KLM, Europe’s second largest airline, to provide next-generation network connectivity to 170 sites. The network will form the backbone for the company as it embraces the latest mobile, cloud, big data analytics and wearable technologies to enhance and personalise passenger experience. This investment underpins the airline’s growth strategy, driven by organisation-wide digital transformation, delivery of next-generation aircraft, and expansion in emerging markets.

The multi-year contract will see Tata Communications roll out a superfast intelligent network which will power Air France-KLM’s mission-critical systems, including passenger check-in, flight operations and departure control applications, as well as corporate programs in the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. Air France-KLM, which carried 87.4 million passengers in 2014, is the first major European airline group to move away from the legacy networks widely used in the airline industry.

Tata Communications’ global network – which today connects more than 300 locations for leading airlines worldwide – will enable Air France-KLM to offer a range of digital services in regions that have been identified by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as the future growth drivers of the industry. Currently eight of the ten fastest growing airline markets are located in Africa. By 2034, IATA expects 1.3 billion passengers to touch China – up from 850 million at present – and India is set to see an additional 260 million passengers. Europe will act as key transfer hub to these emerging markets, with 1.4 billion passenger journeys in 2034 – nearly 600 million more than today.

“Investing in emerging markets and cutting-edge digital technologies is at the heart of our growth strategy,” says Jean-Christophe Lalanne, ‎CIO of Air France-KLM Group. “We’re introducing a range of innovative services, such as travel apps for smartwatches, to provide a seamless, personalised travel experience for our tech-savvy passengers. Tata Communications’ global next-generation network will act as the foundation for these services in the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, empowering us take customer service to the next level and capitalise on the huge growth opportunities that these markets offer.”

“Airlines worldwide are starting to rethink their technology infrastructure to improve the passenger experience, and integrate cloud services and new applications to support the huge amounts of data coming from next-generation aircraft. In tandem, they’re competing for their share of new revenue streams in emerging markets,” says Genius Wong, President, Global Network Services, Cloud and Data Centre Services at Tata Communications. “Tapping into our emerging markets expertise, our advanced global network, and our points-of-presence in airports gives Air France-KLM a real competitive edge. Air France-KLM is paving the way for the transformation of the group’s mission-critical operations, ensuring a superior travel experience for passengers in the industry’s fastest growing geographies.”

Tata Communications will provide Air France-KLM with an MPLS wide area network (WAN) in the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, underpinned by the company’s partnerships and investments in airport points-of-presence worldwide and the largest wholly-owned subsea cable network in the world.