It was great to meet so many of our customers and industry partners at the IATA Aviation Energy Forum last week. For those of you that I haven’t yet met, I wanted to introduce myself and set out the vision for our new company and our wider ambitions for bringing next-level cost management to the aviation industry.
A bit about me
I’ve been in travel and transport for most of my career and actually started out in aviation, working in network management for Lufthansa. I’ve also worked for the German national rail company Deutsche Bahn and then for tour operator Thomas Cook.
More recently, I’ve been leading technology businesses in the UK — including Rivus Fleet Solutions and EO Charging, one of Europe’s fastest growing companies — and have gained expertise in transformational change and data-driven analytics.
Our vision for the aviation industry
At Skymetrix, we have a clear long-term vision, which is to power the aviation industry to sustainable growth. By ‘sustainable growth’, we mean businesses that:
- make ongoing improvements in financial and operational performance over the long-term — by reducing costs, improving profitability, enhancing efficiency and gaining transparency through powerful reporting
- build a robust, scalable infrastructure — by adopting up-to-date processes and technology
- manage their carbon footprint — by reducing unnecessary consumption, accurately tracking emissions from flights, adapting to new fuels and noise restrictions, as well as any future challenges that will inevitably emerge.
These are critical success factors for all airlines, but we know that priorities will change depending on size, age, and business model of the carrier. While the focus of large, established airlines right now might be to become leaner to compete, a Low-Cost Carrier might need to maintain efficiency and unit costs in line with revenue growth, and a regional or state carrier might need to become more efficient to stay competitive against low-cost competition. Skymetrix can support different airlines with these different challenges.
We will help airlines achieve sustainable growth by focusing day-to-day on transforming fuel and cost management for them.
Why fuel and cost management needs transforming
My team have over 20 years’ experience in the industry, so they are aware of the key challenges that airlines face when it comes to fuel and cost management.
One challenge is that many carriers have an incomplete or inaccurate picture of their direct operating costs, which can lead to overspend. Direct operating costs make up 40-60% of an airline’s cost base, so even a 1% overspend will have a significant impact on their profitability. In our experience, many overspend by more. This is a major problem in an industry like aviation, where margins are slim at best.
The reason these carriers don’t have a complete view of costs, is because aviation is behind other industries in relation to technology adoption. Flight charges are numerous and complex and are often processed by multiple teams, using disconnected systems. As well as overspend, the impact of this is poor data accuracy, inefficient business operations and overworked teams.
In contrast, other industries adopted best practice for cost management long ago. They operate one technology platform to manage all costs, which means they get a complete view and more efficient processes. Airlines need to do the same, so they have a holistic view of flight, fuel, operations and commercial data, to accurately verify and process invoices and make good planning decisions.
Another major challenge for airlines is the requirement to record, offset and reduce emissions as we move towards a Net Zero Carbon industry. Many carriers are struggling with just the first part of this — recording emissions and adapting to SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) — but as we all know, this is an area where we must act fast.
All airlines need to see carbon as a core financial risk which requires proper management. They first need to invest in systems that accurately and efficiently monitor emissions, so they can then make sure they accurately offset and reduce these.
What Skymetrix offers
In response to these challenges, Skymetrix has a clear and powerful proposition for the aviation industry: we will transform fuel and cost management for airlines, with one platform that delivers benefits beyond profitability.
If they are going to recover from the Coronavirus pandemic and move towards a Net Zero Carbon industry, airlines need to access the next-level of improvements — next-level cost savings, efficiency, insights, and emissions management. And all of this requires next-generation technology.
Skymetrix will deliver that next-gen technology. Our cloud-based platform will provide one accurate picture of flight charges and costs, so teams can make better strategic and operational decisions. It will automate the collection and verification of Fuel, Airport, Navigation, Ground Handling and other cost data, thereby improving accuracy and reducing the administrative burden on airlines.
Teams will spend less time inputting and checking data, and more time unlocking valuable insights, so they can take control of:
- route profitability
- process inefficiencies
- supplier performance
- emissions levels, and more.
This is how Skymetrix delivers an unrivalled ROI.
Our platform will also be built to handle the next generation of fuel (SAF) and to integrate with other systems. We’re also prioritizing user experience and analytics, to ensure our system delivers maximum value to the people that use it.
How we will work
In everything we do, we will prioritize the following:
- Customer Success — We are dedicated to our customers’ success and doing what’s right for them. Through our Customer Success Managers, user groups and industry summits, we work closely with customers to understand their specific requirements, share our experiences, and shape a solution to fit perfectly. The investment we are making in our customer support and customer success team is unrivalled in this industry.
- Technology Innovation — We’re committed to using state-of-the-art technology in our platform, and our company culture fosters innovation and continuous improvement. Over the next five years, we are investing significantly in our technology so we can accelerate the ideas and requests we’ve received from the industry.
- Aviation Expertise — Our team’s knowledge of fuel and cost management best practice is just as important as our technology. This comes from our 20+ year track record.
- Collaboration — Our platform has been built by the industry, for the industry. Since 2001, we have continuously worked with our customers and industry partners (including IATA) to develop new functionality that addresses industry challenges and requirements.
The next chapter
Skymetrix is gearing up for major growth over the next 18 months. We are investing heavily in technology, security and customer success and are currently hiring for a variety of new positions to support this — do take a look at our careers page if you are interested.
We’re starting from a strong position, as we already have over 100 airline customers, including Lufthansa, Ryanair, Emirates, KLM and Spirit Airlines. We continue to attract new airlines, having recently gone live with solutions at Volaris, Spirit Airlines and Royal Brunei Airlines.
We also have a great team, including aviation and technology experts from the original companies, FuelPlus and Airpas. We now have all the skills and expertise we need to propel Skymetrix forward and make a real difference to our partners.
Our customers are continuing to show their confidence in us, with the majority now migrating to our SAAS platform. Customers are seeing the benefits of cloud but also the new, advanced features and products we have built with the industry — such as cost analytics, route profitability, billback, pre-pay, and our collaboration platform that enables airlines and suppliers to significantly reduce friction in their day-to-day interactions.
We are planning a Skymetrix Roadshow in the latter part of this year and hope to meet as many customers and airlines as possible — look out for more details about this in the coming months.
I will be writing another CEO Insights blog next month, about how we’re building a new leadership team and company culture that will bring tangible benefits to our customers and partners. Subscribe to our blog or follow us on LinkedIn to make sure you never miss an update.