Airports focus on improving passenger experience

Airports focus on improving passenger experience

Airports are increasingly using mobile apps, social media and geolocation services to improve the passenger experience, a new report has found.

Photo by Brendan Howard
Photo by Brendan Howard

The ninth annual SITA Airport IT Trends Survey, which was undertaken in partnership with Airports Council International (ACI), found that improving the passenger experience is the number one driver of IT investment for the majority (59%) of the world’s airports. Keeping passengers informed about their flight status and waiting time is the top reason for airports providing mobile apps, with 88% planning to invest in them by the end of 2015. During this period, 78% of airports also plan to invest in social media, with two thirds already trialing or evaluating such tools.

Easing passenger congestion was also found to be a key priority for airports, with half of the world’s airports planning to use geolocation as the main solution to this problem. The survey found that new way-finding services are expected to become commonplace. Just 10% of airports provide them today but this is set to jump to 70% by 2015.

“This year’s Airport IT Trends Survey shows that operators are investing in the ‘intelligent airport’ to improve the passenger experience in an operationally efficient manner,” said Francesco Violante, CEO of SITA. “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.” 

In terms of extending the self-service nature of airports, the survey found that implementation of baggage tag printing kiosks by airports has doubled from 2011 to 2012 and there are strong investment plans for assisted baggage drops, with 83% if airports intending to provide such services by 2015. In addition, 60% of airports plan to provide full self-service baggage drops.

The survey results are based on responses from 91 airport operators, representing the views of 173 airports worldwide, managing 2.3 billion passengers per year.

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