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Airline IT on the move

written by australianaviation.com.au | July 22, 2013
Lufthansa was a leader in the adoption of mobile phone-based boarding. (LH)

SITA’s latest Air Transport Insights survey results provide an interesting perspective on IT trends that are increasingly influencing the strategic directions of the world’s airlines. The results show a hastening trend towards the use of mobile technology both for operational use and by customers.

Headlining the surveys results were:

  • A predicted 62 per cent increase in the use of applications provided by third parties such as Apple Passbook and Samsung Wallet for check-in and boarding passes. Currently only 21 per cent of all airlines use the technology. This contrasts with 61 per cent of all airlines using their own check-in apps.
  • Today, 50 per cent of all airlines offer flight search, ticketing, check-in and boarding passes via mobile technology. In the next three years it is expected that more than 60 per cent of airlines will extend mobile functionality to include flight re-booking, lost bag reporting and bag status updates.
  • Some 75 per cent of airlines are projected to move to electronic flight bags and automated cabin crew services by 2016.
  • Airlines are expected to generate 14 per cent of total revenue from anciallary (non-airfare) sales through mobile technology, social media and kiosks by 2016. However, direct sales channels operated by airlines are expected to still account for 87 per cent of ancillary sales within the same period.
  • Nine out of 10 airlines by 2016 are expected to use mobile apps for ticket sales, estimated to be worth US$70 billion within three years.
  • By 2016 71 per cent of airlines plan to use tablet-based mobile solutions in engineering and maintenance.

One area where there is huge geographic and demographic disparity is in the use of non-agent check-in such as kiosks, internet and mobile options.  SITA reported that at present only three per cent of all passengers use web-based or automated check-in services. However, in some markets that figure is known to be closer to 90 per cent.

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First undertaken in 1999, the SITA survey this year was issued to IT executives in each of the top 200 passenger carriers, including low-cost operators and prominent regional and leisure operators during the second quarter.

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