It is early days for mobile technology in airlines yet, but every person involved in the industry, whether a passenger or an employee, would agree that promising mobile future for airlines has already started and moreover there is plenty more to come.
According to SITA (one of the world’s leading providers of IT and telecommunication solutions to the air transport industry), utilization of smart phones by people using global grew from just 28 per cent in 2010 to 70 per cent in 2012.
Nearly 50 per cent of all airlines today offer their services via mobile technology. Such services include flight search, booking and buying tickets, check-ins, boarding passes and more. SITA’s 2012 Passenger Self Service Survey says that about 55 per cent of airlines offer flight search, 50 per cent offer mobile check-in, 46 per cent offer mobile boarding and 43 per cent offer flight status notification. And in the next three years it is expected that more than 60 per cent of airlines will extend their mobile functionality to include flight re-booking, lost bag reporting, bag status updates etc. Nearly 75 per cent of airline companies are planning to move to electronic flight bags and automated cabin crew services by 2016.
In SITA’s Flying into the Future Report it is said that 44 per cent of airlines allow to buy tickets via smart phone mobile business apps and 89 per cent are expected to offer mobile booking by the end of 2015. The same report mentions of 70 per cent of airlines that believe mobile mobile business apps will be one of the top two sales channels together with websites in two years.
Not only passengers are happy with the growing opportunities of smart phones utilization, but staff and cargo are going to see the increased use of mobile technology in the airline industry as well.
Some airports are using mobile devices to check in passengers standing in queues in airports terminals during some overloaded time periods like Christmas & New Year one. In other airports, crews are having access to passengers’ information (like recent flight history and flying experience). This allows them to provide better service, considering individual preferences.
On the cargo side, the direct access to the latest data allowed by smart phones and tablets helps to better manage special cargo and the build-up process.
The aviation sector is adapting itself to mobile technology today as the mobile mobile business apps utility is becoming more and more obvious.
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