Closing in on a 360-degree view for airports and airlines

SITA has combined trends and numbers from recent reports to reveal how airports and carriers are improving the passenger experience as well as future plans.

The Future is Personal report highlights the 97% of passengers who now carry some sort of personal electronic device, be it smartphone, tablet, laptop or all three.

It also pulls out interesting statistics such as that 81% of passengers now carry a smartphone – compare that to 25%, the figure five years ago.

No surprise therefore that about two-thirds of airlines already enable passengers to buy tickets, check-in for flights and access information via smartphone apps. Airports are a little way behind with about half providing apps but they’ll catch up with 84% saying they are investing in mobile services.

SITA highlights Cork Airport in Ireland as a good example with its app recently enhanced with live flight tracking on top of the arrival and departure information, car park reservations, live bus/coach information and live weather reports at all destinations served, which were initially offered by the service.

One element in the study that makes you wonder is the number of passengers, about 25%, who have yet to use airline and airport apps as part of their journey. It could be an app overload thing or generational.

The report says that services such as mobile offers, flight status, purchasing opportunties will become mainstream by 2017 so how that 25% moves going forward is one to watch especially with more targeted services in the pipeline.

Those targeted services are being described as the ‘new frontier’ in terms of improving the customer relationship and enabling personalisation. Almost 75% of airlines are planning to manage customer relationships via smartphone apps by the end of 2017 and 62% say they plan to be able to use real-time data to hone services over the next three years.

The willingness to share personal and location data always comes up but SITA findings show that 72% will allow sharing of data and recent developments, such as work to reduce security queues, stress that information is anonymised as well as the ability for passengers to opt out.

Miami International Airport is already using beacons to provide passengers with relevant information to their phones across the journey. The beacons are also available, SITA’s Common-Use Beacon Registry, for use by airlines and retailers to provide content to passengers and staff.

Sharing information is key and a third of airline are already sharing disruption information via email and phone and this figure is expected to double in the next three years.

Knowing what to do once you have the disruption information is also important and about 70% of airlines plan automatic rebooking for all passengers, self-service tools for rearranging travel and separate services for for high-value customers.

All of this feeds into plans from the International Air Transport Industry Association, via its Fast Travel Program, for 80% of global passengers to be offered self-service functionality throughout their journey, including rebooking, by 2020. According to IATA’s website the 2015 target is 35% of eligible passengers, perhaps some way to go from the current 21% but the year is young.

Further detail on the SITA 2014 Airline IT Trends is here while the SITA/Air Transport World Passenger survey is here.

NB: Airport image via Shutterstock.

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About the Writer :: Linda Fox

Linda worked at tnooz from September 2011 to June 2018 in roles including senior reporter, deputy editor and managing editor.



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