Virgin Atlantic airlines – as part of a collaboration with IT provider SITA, is introducing an Augmented Reality (AR) app for the airline’s cabin crew to familiarize themselves with a new aircraft.

Using an iOS app, cabin crew can use augmented reality to walkthrough and acquaint themselves with the layout of a Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft without even visiting the airport or getting on a plane. It lets the airline complement its existing classroom-based training, by teaching crew about new aircraft in a fun and engaging way from the airline’s headquarters in Crawley, London. The AR app simulates the full-size view of the interior cabin, giving crew a feel for their new working environment, including accurate spatial awareness.

Augmented Reality presents several interesting use cases in the air transport industry, ranging from sales, training, operations and improvement to the passenger experience. SITA Lab, SITA's strategic technology research arm, and Virgin Atlantic are working together to identify and test some of the more promising use cases, starting with the crew training app.

“SITA Lab has identified augmented reality as one of the emerging technologies that will benefit the air transport in the years to come,” says Gustavo Pina, Head of SITA Lab. “Working with pioneering airlines such as Virgin Atlantic makes it possible for SITA Lab to really explore the potential of augmented reality and evaluate its business benefits. This project is a vital step in that journey of exploration.”