Malaysia Airlines and the air transport IT specialist, SITA, announced that the world’s first kiosks to sell airline tickets using the Apple iPad went live today in Kuala Lumpur.

An equally pioneering achievement – also announced today – is the airline’s exploitation of augmented reality for the Apple iPhone to allow customers to pick up best airline deals from nearby airports.

Both innovations were demonstrated today for the first time in public at an elite industry gathering in Brussels, SITA’s annual innovation showcase for airline chiefs, the Air Transport IT Summit.

Malaysia Airlines managing director/CEO, Tengku Dato’ Azmil Zahruddin, said:, “There is huge interest in the iPad MHkiosks which went live today in Kuala Lumpur. It is as simple as ABC. You select your itinerary, pay with a credit card, and receive confirmation via SMS and email. There is no printing and no admin fee.

It will mean better queue management at our ticket offices during peak hours when customers can be re-directed to ‘stand-alone’ iPad MHkiosks.”

The iPhone augmented reality application, MHdeals, will soon be available on-line in the Apple AppStore and demonstrates for the first time how airlines can exploit the technology commercially as a new channel to customers for ticket sales.

Jim Peters, SITA chief technology officer who heads up the SITA Lab facility which worked with Malaysia Airlines on developing these applications, said, “SITA regards these two innovations as very significant breakthroughs for the airline industry which is seeking to provide the online public with additional sales channels and attractive functionality to build customer loyalty. It’s also a fun and interactive way to choose your destination, book a ticket and then fly.

MHdeals is an iPhone augmented reality application that uses the GPS to determine your location and display the nearest airports from which you can access great deals. You simply hold the phone in front of you to view the surrounding airports and select one to view flight offers. Passengers can then book their flights through the MHmobile application which SITA lab developed and launched for Malaysia Airlines last year.”

Since its establishment two years ago, SITA Lab has gained a reputation as a powerhouse of innovation, its Project Nomad, demonstrating how the Airline remote office of the future will work, is attracting many visitors to SITA’s HQ in Geneva for live demonstrations and pilots are getting underway with several airlines.

Additionally, with on-board connectivity solutions provider, OnAir, SITA Lab is behind the development of the world’s first in-flight mobile portal which enables passengers to access useful travel-related services, and other information in real time.