Self Services to Drive Airport Development

Self-service and mobile technologies will drive the development of airports in the coming years, according to a new report by SITA.

In its ‘Flying into the Future’ study, the aviation technology company predicted that the rise of smartphones is driving a greater level of self-sufficiency among travellers. More than three quarters of survey respondents said they use either airport kiosks or online check-in facilities, but only a third checked in via their smartphone. This is set to increase in future however, with airlines predicting that smartphones and websites will become the two biggest check-in channels from 2015 onwards.

This will be facilitated by the rise in new technologies. Approximately 50% of airlines currently provide mobile check-in, but this is expected to rise to 90% by the end of 2015.

Mobile technology is also expected to have a major impact in other areas of the airport process, according to SITA. The report cited the example of Japanese telecom provider, KDDI, which has launched an app for Japan Airlines, enabling passengers to “tap to pass” through boarding gates at domestic airports using their smartphones.

“[These] initiatives indicate the potential smartphones offer for a simpler and more seamless journey in the not-so-distant future and add weight to the case for mobile self-service rapidly going mainstream,” the SITA report stated. “While self-service is not yet seamlessly end-to-end, over the next three years it will come of age as passengers take more control and self-process several aspects of their journey.”

Smartphones will also drive airline ticket sales in the future, according to SITA. The survey found that 70% of airlines and more than 60% of airports ranked mobile and web as the two most important sales channels. While mobile represents just 2% of overall airline sales today, it is expected to increase to 7% by the end of 2015.

Seventy percent of airline passengers now carry a smartphone, according to SITA.