London’s Gatwick Airport has unveiled a new chatbot on Facebook Messenger to provide flight information, flight-specific notifications, and information on airport shops, restaurants, and other facilities.

Referred to as Gail, the AI-powered chatbot enables passengers to obtain real-time information regarding their flight by entering the destination and selecting their flight from a list.

The launch of Gail is the result of Gatwick’s association with airport operator VINCI Airports and with Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport in France. The collaboration enabled Gatwick to receive insights on the use of a chatbot.

At present, the new chatbot can understand and answer around 80% of the questions it receives.

Within a year, it is claimed the technology will be able to improve its understanding level to 95% by actively learning from interactions with users.

The Gatwick chatbot is also being integrated into restaurants so that passengers can use the facility to locate a suitable dining location.

Currently available on Facebook Messenger, the Gatwick chatbot will be tested on platforms including WhatsApp and Apple Business Messenger.

Gatwick innovation head Abhi Chacko said: “Our passengers are at the core of everything we do and the aim of this AI-enabled chatbot is to make it easy for them to get airport and flight-related information.

“We have only just rolled this service out on Facebook Messenger, but we expect that it will become popular and the chatbot will learn rapidly using artificial intelligence as an increasing number of our passengers use it.

“More globally, experience across VINCI Airports’ network of 46 airports in 12 countries demonstrates that well-designed chatbots successfully engage passengers and can satisfy many of their needs. We believe there is significant potential for chatbots to facilitate, personalise, and enrich each passenger’s end-to-end experience across multiple touchpoints.”

Gatwick Airport is also planning to provide services in multiple languages next year.

It recently inaugurated a new South Terminal arrivals route for passengers travelling from other parts of the UK and the Republic of Ireland.