Abu Dhabi International Airport in the UAE reported a 17% rise in passenger self-service check-ins during January to December 2012, almost double 2011’s 9% rise.
The seventh SITA /Air Transport World Passenger Self-Service Survey showed that 68% of passengers used self-service at the airport in 2012.
Citing cultural preference as the reason for lower self-service usage at Abu Dhabi compared to other global airports, the survey said that trend towards self-service technology is growing amongst passengers.
According to SITA , 46% of the surveyed passengers booked their ticket online, up from 35% in 2011, even though 51% preferred booking via an airline shop or high street travel agent.
Abu Dhabi Airport (ADAC) Information & Communication Systems vice president Hamed Al Hashemi said that the doubling of self-service take-up over the past year shows that the self-service strategy is working.
"We want to reduce stress levels for our passengers and offering self-service is a proven way to do this. For example, we have introduced check-in kiosks and bag-drop facilities at a number of city centre locations so that passengers arrive at the airport in a much more relaxed state," Hashemi said.
The survey revealed that the mobile phone is now an integral part of the passenger experience in the country, with 97% of surveyed passengers carried mobile phone and 49% travelled with smartphones that offer access to mobile apps and services related to travel.
The results showed that 82% of surveyed passengers were interested in receiving mobile flight updates, 80% performed flight searches and 75% were willing to store their travel itinerary documents on their phone, while 71% used mobile boarding passes.
Hashemi said the survey confirms that the majority of the airport’s passengers carry a mobile device during their travel through the airport.
"This gives us an unprecedented opportunity to offer passengers a more personalized service and keep them informed," Hashemi added.
SITA Middle East, India and Africa president Hani El Assaad said that the survey reveals a cultural transformation in the region with passenger attitudes to self-service technology are changing fast.
"Self-service check-in and online ticket booking are growing rapidly and this is just the start," Assaad said.
"SITA is working with airports and airlines, using advanced mobile technologies, such as near field communications (NFC), to give passengers more self-service functionality on their smartphones at each stage of the journey."
According to the survey, 85% passengers have shown interest in sharing private information to receive an improved personalised experience.
Social media has been noted as another new communications channel targeted by travel providers, with 70% of passengers willing to use this channel for flight searches, 66% for flight booking, 74% for receiving travel promotions and 80% for seeking flight status updates.
Image: Abu Dhabi airport’s use of self-service check-ins has nearly doubled to 17% in 2012, compared to a 9% rise in 2011. Photo: courtesy of Abu Dhabi Airports Company.