24 April 2024 - 5 min read

Airports' digital transformation, interview with Hub One DataTrust

Digital Transformation of Airports - The Impact of Data Exchange

Interview with Jean-Sébastien Mackiewicz, Executive General Manager of Hub One DataTrust.


The airline industry is currently at a crossroads of unparalleled challenges and opportunities. Core issues such as safety, security, punctuality, service quality, and carbon footprint reduction are central to the industry's priorities. Although the COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need for increased flexibility and resilience, it also led to significant innovations. In this context, data exchange has emerged as a strategic and promising area, offering innovative solutions to address these challenges while capitalizing on opportunities for growth and improvement. 


Jean-Sebastien MackiewiczTo gain deeper insights into the current challenges facing the airline sector and to understand the impact of Data Exchange, we spoke with Jean-Sébastien Mackiewicz, Executive General Manager of Hub One DataTrust. Launched by Hub One, a subsidiary of ADP Group, Hub One DataTrust is an airport Data Exchange Platform that provides stakeholders in the airport ecosystem with a secure and trusted environment for sourcing, distributing, sharing, and exchanging data to enhance collaboration and operational efficiency.


Dawex: In the context of rapidly changing global dynamics and increasing environmental concerns, what are the main challenges for the airport industry?


Jean-Sébastien Mackiewicz: Safety and security remain top priorities for the airport industry. We operate in an environment where the nature of threats is perpetually shifting, necessitating a relentless commitment to safeguarding the security of passengers and staff alike.


The environmental impact of the air transportation sector on climate is another pressing and prominent issue which has received growing attention from the airport industry. The ADP Group is particularly interested and focused on this subject. As a result, reducing carbon footprint is not just an operational goal but a strategic imperative across the board for major airports. This endeavor calls for innovative approaches, including flight route optimization and embracing the use of alternative fuels.


From a more economic point of view, punctuality is essential. The financial repercussions of delays ripple throughout the entire aviation industry, impacting not just the bottom line but also the customer satisfaction. Ensuring timely operations is fundamental, affecting everything from operational efficiency to passenger satisfaction.
The evolving expectations of travelers have driven the passenger experience into the spotlight. Today's airports are committed to enhancing every aspect of the journey, from check-in to arrival, encompassing both the in-flight experience and the time spent within airport perimeters.


In recent years, the airline industry has demonstrated remarkable resilience in the face of unprecedented economic challenges. Although the COVID pandemic caused major disruption, it also catalyzed a path towards recovery and innovation.



Dawex: You decided to initiate a data exchange strategy by launching Hub One DataTrust, the airport data exchange platform supported by the ADP Group. What motivated this decision?


J.S.M.: Today, Data Exchange is essential for meeting the contemporary challenges facing the airline industry. 


The rationale for launching Hub One DataTrust stemmed from the pressing need to enhance the efficiency and responsiveness of airport operations. Optimal management of passenger and freight flows is essential in order to increase punctuality, minimize waiting times, and reach maximum efficiency of the airport infrastructure. One of the key objectives for airports which can leverage data exchange is the refinement of punctuality metrics enabling a more fine-tuned management of operations, especially with insights from on-the-ground service providers. This leads to significant operational cost reductions and boosts passenger satisfaction.


Moreover, Data Exchange is instrumental in advancing the airport sector's environmental sustainability. By exchanging and analyzing data on CO2 emissions, energy consumption, and waste management, airports can collaboratively develop and implement greener practices. This includes optimizing aircraft routing on the ground, reducing fuel consumption, and integrating renewable energy into the airport energy infrastructure mix.


Additionally, Data Exchange breaks down traditional information silos, fostering deeper and more productive collaboration among various stakeholders in the air transportation industry and beyond. This not only drives innovation but also opens up new economic opportunities, enhancing the sector's overall resilience and adaptability in the face of ongoing and future challenges.



Dawex: What specific goals did you set when creating Hub One DataTrust in May 2023?


J.S.M.: We identified an acute need within the complex airport environment to securely and efficiently link and synchronize data.


Our aim was to establish a Data Exchange Platform that not only simplifies data exchange and management but also bolsters local collaboration among airport stakeholders. This endeavor was part of a broader digital transformation initiative aimed at making airports smarter and more responsive to the evolving needs of travelers and operators.


The recent economic challenges have underscored the urgency of adopting Data Exchange technologies and launching an Industry Data Hub like Hub One DataTrust. Such platform is designed to enhance airport processes, facilitate swift and effective adaptation to change, and strengthen airport operations. Data Exchange directly addresses these critical challenges, offering a strategic response to the dynamic demands of the airport sector.



Dawex: You carried out a Data Exchange Advisory session with Dawex. How did these sessions benefit your organization and fast-track your progress?


J.S.M.: The expertise and methodology of the Dawex Data Exchange Advisory team enabled us to address in a structured way multiple aspects of creating a data ecosystem, developing a Data Exchange strategy and implementing a relevant roadmap.

Their deep-rooted expertise in building data ecosystems and their ability to adapt this knowledge across various industries played a pivotal role in enhancing our comprehension of the airport sector's distinctive challenges. This mission with Dawex enabled us to pinpoint industry-best practices for data collection, management, and security, while complying with European data regulations such as the Data Governance Act and the Data Act.


Furthermore, Dawex played an essential role in developing a comprehensive strategy for data monetization and exchange, enlightening us on how to generate value from our data, not only in economic terms, but also in terms of operational efficiency and improved customer experience..


The Dawex team has clearly helped us accelerate our strategic thinking, while guiding us through the complexities of Data Exchange in an environment as dynamic and regulated as that of airports. This collaboration has enabled Hub One to gain a clearer vision of the impact of a Data Exchange strategy on the airline industry, and to accelerate the launch of our Data Exchange Platform.



Dawex: Did you encounter any challenges during the deployment of Hub One DataTrust?


J.S.M.: Adoption was relatively swift among some traditionally less digital players. Perhaps driven by a desire to modernize, these actors quickly recognized the benefits of data exchange, demonstrating digital maturity and openness to change.


Surprisingly, some more digitally established entities showed some sort of resistance, possibly due to fears of losing the control over their data, facing more complex data governance challenges, or adopting a new platform. Concerns about data security and privacy, as well as a lack of confidence in sharing data within a broader ecosystem, also may have played a role.


These factors led us to challenge some of our initial assumptions about how various airport stakeholders perceived and adopted our platform. We therefore readjusted our deployment strategy and communication to respond to these different levels of adoption and digital maturity. This underscored the importance of ongoing support and education for participants, and the need to clearly demonstrate the tangible benefits of data exchange for each type of stakeholder involved.



Dawex: Who are the main users of Hub One DataTrust?


J.S.M.: Hub One DataTrust serves a broad spectrum of airport-based entities, encompassing not just assistance companies but also extending to cleaning services and luggage management operations. The data exchanged predominantly focuses on flight-related information, including both forecasts and real-time data, which is indispensable for the meticulous planning and orchestration of airport activities. For example, access to live flight data empowers ground service providers to optimize their resource allocation, facilitating efficient personnel deployment for passenger services, luggage processing, and aircraft preparation for subsequent flights.


This exchange of data is also instrumental in elevating the passenger experience. By enabling airport services to swiftly respond to operational shifts, the platform plays a crucial role in reducing delays and enhancing the satisfaction levels of travelers, thereby contributing to a smoother and more enjoyable airport journey.



Dawex: What are the strategic goals for Hub One DataTrust in the coming years, and what are the next steps?


J.S.M.: Our primary goal is to solidify our presence within the airport ecosystem by leveraging and focusing on data exchange to streamline and improve airport operations. We aim to demonstrate to data holders that exchanging their information is beneficial not just for potential financial gains but for enhancing the overall airport operations, infrastructure utilization and punctuality. This approach is expected to significantly uplift the quality of service provided. Our secondary objective is to broaden our reach within the international airport industry, with a particular focus on expanding our operations to additional airports throughout Europe.


Currently, Hub One DataTrust is already facilitating enhanced cooperation, more efficient operational management, and a substantial enhancement of the passenger experience at Parisian airports. Hub One DataTrust is a perfect illustration of how technological innovation, particularly in the field of data exchange, can be a powerful lever for improving operational efficiency and promoting environmental sustainability. It sets the stage for innovative advancements and new possibilities within the airport sector.


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About Hub One DataTrust

Hub One DataTrust is the Data Hub of the ADP Group’s subsidiary Hub One, gathering partners, suppliers and customers from the airport ecosystem to distribute or share data products securely, in trust, in order to improve airport operations.