The world's airports are turning to mobile apps, social media and intelligent technologies including geolocation services to make the passenger experience better, according to the SITA Airport IT Trends Survey, published today.
The 9th annual SITA survey, in partnership with Airports Council International (ACI) and Airline Business, reports that improving the passenger experience is the number one driver of IT investment by the majority (59%) of the world's airports. An example of changes passengers will see is a rapid increase in mobile and social media apps delivering a more personalized customer experience. Keeping passengers informed about their flight status and wait times is the top reason for airports providing mobile apps, with 88% planning to invest in them by the end of 2015. During this period, 78% of airports also plan to invest in social media with two thirds of these currently focused on evaluations or trials.
As passenger numbers continue to rise at airports across the world, optimizing the use of the available real estate is a priority and passenger flow management will become more and more important; half of the airports see geolocation as a top priority for reducing passenger congestion. Within the next three years, new way-finding services are set to become commonplace on mobile devices, allowing passengers to navigate easily through the airport. Just 10% of airports provide them today but this is set to jump to 70% by 2015.
Airports are also investing in business intelligence solutions to deliver an improved passenger experience. Some 86% of airports see it as a priority for sharing information and collaborating with partners; 83% to ensure more accurate service information for passengers; and 76% to reduce flight delays due to ground operational issues.
Francesco Violante, CEO, SITA, said: "This year's Airport IT Trends Survey shows that operators are investing in the 'intelligent airport' to improve the passenger experience in an operationally efficient manner. With airports planning to invest in business intelligence, and using it to better collaborate with partners, it is clear that there is a strong desire among operators to work together with stakeholders, including airlines and ground handlers, to create a better passenger journey."
Airport operators are deploying geolocation technologies to track, in real-time, the location of staff, vehicles, baggage and other key assets and resources, as well as monitoring passenger flow. More than 60% believe that this is a priority to improve business intelligence across the airport operation, while 40% are already evaluating these new infrastructure technologies. The three main areas that airports are looking to improve business intelligence with geolocation technology are:
• Reducing passenger congestion with real time staff location (50%)
• Monitoring of aircraft movements (32%)
• Movement of passengers at airports (31%)
In terms of extending self-service, the survey, which was launched today at the ACI World Annual General Assembly in Calgary, found major steps in kiosk usage. The implementation of bag tag printing at kiosks by airports has doubled from 2011 to 2012 and there are strong investment plans for assisted bag drop with 83% intending to provide it by 2015. In addition, 60% of airports plan to provide full self-service bag drop by then.
The survey results are based on responses from 91 airport operators, representing the views of 173 airports worldwide, managing 2.3 billion passengers per year.
*Further details on the survey are available here and customized data from all of SITA’s industry surveys can be accessed on the IT Trends Hub.