SITA airport tech plays role in making FIFA World Cup a success

The recent 2018 FIFA World Cup captivated audiences and drew visitors to Russia, but it also set new standards for technology in travel.

A recent report by SITA shows that more than 1.2 million passengers used the automated SITA Airport Self-Service gates at Domodedovo Airport in the weeks surrounding the 2018 World Cup. In all, 3.3 million people have used the automated gates at the airport so far this year.

Domodedovo was the first airport in Russia to introduce SITA-enabled passenger flow management, including smart validation at automated gates with SITA’s iValidate technology. The systems were installed both at the security controls at the entrance to the departure zone and at individual gates.

Gennady Zalutsky, CEO, Domodedovo Integration, said:

“SITA’s technology showed its effectiveness during the peaks of traffic when soccer fans from all over the world flew through Domodedovo for the matches.”

Dmitry Krasnov, SITA VP Russia and CIS, said:

“We have helped many countries manage major events by introducing technology that automates the flow of passenger through major airports; from the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles to the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 and this year in Russia. While these events are often the catalysts for introducing new technology, we continue to see the benefit of these investments well after the final whistle has gone. This is particularly the case in fast growth markets such Brazil and Russia where the number of passengers continues to grow rapidly.”

Domodedovo will add more automated gates, with more than 150 units in total planned to be installed in Terminals 1 and 2.

Elsewhere, Ctrip and Skyscanner shared figures (see infographic below) on 2018 World Cup air travel in a recent report, showing that nearly 600,000 football fans from 83 countries travelled to Russia for the matches; nearly half of these passed through or stayed to watch the game in Moscow. St. Petersburg was the second most popular city in terms of visitor numbers.

The highest number of visitors (13.4%) were from Korea, with Germans in second place (12.4%) and Spaniards in third (5.2%).

The average stay was 17 days, the shortest was six days and the longest was 45 days. Albanians stayed longest on average (45 days), though Nepalese visitors came a close second at 43 days. Visitors from New Zealand and Canada made the most of the distance with an average stay of 35 and 34 days respectively.

Mexicans planned ahead most, with their bookings an average of 137 days in advance of the day of travel and average flights costing £1,595. Visitors from the U.S. came in second on planning, with an average advance booking of 109 days and average ticket prices paid of £1,181.

According to Skyscanner, the best deals to be had were by booking 50 days in advance. However, the average visitor (globally) booked 80 days in advance and paid an average fare of £607.92

ForwardKeys reported that bookings for overnights during the World Cup (as of the end of May) were up by 39.6% compared to 4 June to 25 July of 2017. Numbers peaked after the first match, and most travelers did not stay long after the knockout phase of the games.

In all 40,000 Chinese fans flew to Russia for the games, according to Ctrip, that’s ten times the number of Chinese fans that travelled to the last World Cup in Brazil. Two thirds of Chinese visitors came from Shanghai and Beijing.

According to Skyscanner and Ctrip, 99.2% of global air travelers to the World Cup flew in Economy class; 0.07% of global air travelers booked business class tickets and 0.06% booked first class tickets. Premium ticket sales were higher for Chinese passengers with 1.7% booking business class tickets and 0.3% booking first class tickets. The national carrier, Aeroflot, took 37.8% of bookings from China.

The majority of Chinese football fans (77.2%) travelled alone, and 16.5% travelled with one companion, and 4.6% traveled with a third person or more. Accompanied or alone, Chinese visitors took time for site seeing including visiting Red Square, the Winter Palace and the Kremlin. They also went shopping at duty free stores.

The action wasn’t all in the air or on the ground, event organizers may want to take note.

FIFA reported that the games earned over 7.5 billion engagements across all of its digital platforms, with 1.25 billion video views and over 580 million interactions on FIFA social media platforms during the tournament. This made 2018 the most engaged FIFA World Cup in history.

Engagement included new audiences with the official Russian Vontakte account earning more than one million followers. FIFA also branched out onto Weibo and WeChat to reach Chinese fans.

FIFA’s official app for the event became the number one sports app downloaded in over 128 countries and was ranked as the number one football website in the world.

FIFA’s interactive games also generated great engagement with over 25 million fans interacting with apps such as the McDonald’s FIFA World Cup Fantasy, Hyundai’s FIFA World Cup Match Predictor and the Panini Digital Sticker Album sponsored by Coca-Cola.


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Marisa Garcia

About the Writer :: Marisa Garcia

Marisa Garcia is the tnooz aviation analyst. She has covered travel technology, design, branding, and strategy for leading publications, including Aircraft Interiors International Magazine, APEX Magazine, AirlineTrends, and Travel+Leisure. She also shares industry insights on her site Flight Chic. Fly with her on Twitter.



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