Airports banking on mobile apps and social media to enhance passenger experience

12 September 2012 (Last Updated September 12th, 2012 18:30)

Airports all over the world are opting for smartphone applications, social media and intelligent technologies such as geolocation services to enhance passenger experience, according to the latest SITA Airport IT Trends Survey.

Airports all over the world are opting for smartphone applications, social media and intelligent technologies such as geolocation services to enhance passenger experience, according to the latest SITA Airport IT Trends Survey.

The 9th annual SITA survey, carried out in collaboration with Airports Council International (ACI) and Airline Business found that about 59% of the world's airports are investing in IT to improve passenger experience.

With the airport operators focusing passenger experience, the operators could offer passengers mobile and social media apps to provide a personalised customer experience.

Around 88% of airports are planning to invest in mobile app development by the end of 2015 with the primary aim of keeping passengers informed about flight status and waiting times.

SITA CEO Francesco Violante said the latest Airport IT Trends Survey shows that operators are investing in the 'intelligent airport' to improve passenger experience in an operationally efficient manner.

"Around 88% of airports are planning to invest in mobile app development by the end of 2015 with the primary aim of keeping passengers informed about flight status and waiting times."

"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," Violante said.

The report also revealed that nine out of ten airports plan to invest in mobile apps by 2015, with 78% planning to invest in social media.

10% of airports are currently offering way-finding services on their mobile apps, enabling passengers to navigate through the airport. This figure is expected to rise to 70% by 2015.

Geolocation technologies are being deployed by airports to perform real-time tracking of staff location, vehicles, baggage and other major assets and resources, in addition to passenger flow monitoring, SITA said.

Major areas that airports are monitoring to enhance business intelligence with geolocation technology include reducing passenger congestion with real time staff location, monitoring aircraft movements and passenger movements at airports.

The survey also revealed that the airport's use of self-service bag tag printing at kiosks has doubled from 2011 to 2012 and 83% of airports planning to invest for assisted bag drop facility by 2015.