SITA shows time for watches and tablets in airport operations

Airline IT specialist SITA and Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport are claiming a first with the deployment of Apple Watch for airport ground staff.

The service was developed by SITA Lab, the research and development arm of the organisation.

Airport employees will use the watches to connect to airport management technology SITA has developed and receive alerts to help improve airport operations.

It is hoped that by receiving alerts to their wrists about issues such as gate delays or two planes arriving at the same time to one gate, staff will be able to react to information immediately.

The development of the Apple Watch application is also interesting in light of SITA’s latest Airline IT Trends research which shows airlines are investing heavily in mobile for both passenger and employee services.

According to the research more than 55% of staff already use a smartphone for work-related tasks, 29% use a laptop and 20% a tablet.

The figures, released during the SITA Air Transport IT Summit, show mobile usage among staff of low cost carriers is even higher with 71% using at least one device.

Speaking during the event, easyJet head of operations systems Simon Lamkin, shared some of the airlines Connected programme initiatives designed to improve operations and reduce manual processes.

Lamkin spoke of an easyJet app store to support employee use of their own devices and enabling them to access airline and grounnd handling information. He added that 75% of crew have downloaded the carrier’s electronic charts and manuals.

Other developments, such as an operations portal, help staff communicated and share information with each other while the airline’s flight tracker tool, originally developed to be customer facing, is also being made operations facing.

According to the SITA research, by 2018, 73% of airlines staff will use a smartphone for work tasks while just under 40% will use a tablet.

The organisation says airlines plan to invest in tablets for customer-facing staff going forward. Up to now they have largely been used for maintenance.

On board usage of tablets will more than double from 32% today to 69% by the end of 2018. And, the development of apps to help cabin crew offer a more personalised experience is predicted to be the next phase for airlines.

Carriers also plan to use tablets across all contact points at airports to help passengers at check-in, bag drop and boarding.

The increasing use of devices also chimes in with figures released in the same report on the Internet of Things showing how people and physical items will increasingly be connected at the airport.

NB: Reporter’s travel and accommodation at the Air Transport IT Summit was supported by SITA.

NB2: Airport image via Shutterstock.

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About the Writer :: Linda Fox

Linda Fox is managing editor for Tnooz. For the past decade years she has worked as a freelance journalist across a range of B2B titles including Travolution, ABTA Magazine, Travelmole and the Business Travel Magazine.

In this time she has also undertaken corporate projects for a number of high profile travel technology, travel management and research companies.

Prior to her freelance career she covered hotels and technology news for Travel Trade Gazette for seven years. Linda joined TTG from Caterer & Hotelkeeper where she worked on the features desk for more than five years.



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