The demands of always-connected travellers appear to be sinking in at airports around the world, with almost nine out of ten facilities committed to investing in mobile services.
The annual Airport IT Trends Survey from SITA¬†says 88% of the world’s leading airports are planning to investment in keeping passengers up to date on flight status and waiting times via mobile devices by 2015.
Furthermore, just over three-quarters (78%) disclose that they will be doing the same with their social media efforts over the same period, with two-thirds already “focused on evaluations or trials”, SITA says.
Passengers and airlines would expect nothing else, of course, but 59% of airports claim “improving the passenger experience” is the number one driver of investment in technology.
So what other elements of IT are airports looking at?
So-called “business intelligence” is the cover-all phrase for services such as geo-location technology to track location of staff, vehicles and baggage, as well as monitor passenger movements around terminals.
Nevertheless, airports remain cautious about their budgets, with 31% expecting to decrease their IT spend in 2012 compared to 36% who will up their investment.
Next year the decrease figure falls to 15%, while 52% claim their spend will jump.
The results were obtained from 91 responses representing the views of 173 airports around world. Airports in the Americas made up 36%, 26% in Europe, 23% in APAC, 14% in Africa and the Middle East.
SITA’s study comes hot on the heels of a survey of 2,600 passengers by FlightView, examining the influence of technology and what airport users expect from their hosts and airlines.
With 82% of those surveyed carrying some kind of smartphone device (37% with tablets, 38% with laptops, 19% with e-readers), it is no surprise that 73% want to be able to board a flight with a mobile boarding pass and 67% eager to have rebooking tools on their handsets in the event of delays.
Conversely, services which many airlines have rolled out are less popular, such as 36% for booking ground transportation and ticket upgrades.
Just 31% and 42% are satisfied with current provision for in-flight and airport wifi respectively.
In terms of information and alerts, 96% want flight status updates sent to their mobiles while waiting to board, while 93% want gate information when they’re connecting to another flight.
NB: Airport image via Shutterstock.