Shorter airport queues and more DIY check-in on the cards

Airports are becoming more proactive when it comes to implementing measures and using technology to cut down on time wasted in queues, according to research released by global aviation IT provider, SITA. 

According to the SITA 2018 Air Transport Insights report, which included responses from 180 senior IT airline and airport executives, 42% of airports have a wait-time monitoring system in place, up from 31% in 2017. Additionally, 58% of airports plan to provide passengers with wait-time notifications on mobile devices by 2021. Only 17% of airports do this currently. Airports employ technology such as predictive analytics to anticipate bottlenecks before they occur.

Airports are also looking to reduce passenger processing times. For example, by 2021 46% of airports plan to have implemented passenger processing at off-airport locations. Check-in kiosks remain the norm with 88% of airports using them, and 95% anticipating they will continue to use them over the next three years. Currently, 87% of respondents offer check-in via a mobile app.

Biometrics are another way airports are reducing waiting times with 77% of airports planning major programmes or research into biometric ID management over the next three years. By 2021, 43% of airports are planning to have introduced a form of biometric-driven self-boarding gates.

More than 50% of airports have introduced a self-service option for baggage and 84% plan to offer it by 2021, with 78% planning to have this as an unassisted service. Luggage tracking is also improving, with 18% of respondents saying they will be able to track luggage across 100% of their routes by this time next year, up from only 6% currently.

Airlines are looking to maximise the potential of their mobile apps, with 46% hoping to be able to receive reports of missing baggage via an app by 2021, up from only 36% currently offering that service. 60% of airlines are also hoping to be able to deliver baggage location status updates via an app by 2021. Other aspects of airlines’ app capabilities expected to grow include customer complaints resolution, with 47% of airlines looking to develop this.

Wireless connectivity is important for passengers, with 90% of airlines reporting that they now offer wireless services for passengers.

Finally, the report indicates that the overall airport IT spend is expected to reach $10 billion (R114 billion) this year, up slightly from $8.6 billion (R124 billion) last year. Cybersecurity and self-processes continue to top the list of expenditure, with 95% of airports planning additional programmes in these sectors by 2021. Mobile services and app development are also growing, with 85% of airports planning developments in this area.

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