• ‘Internet of Things’ coming to airlines and airports worldwide

Geneva, Switzerland | March 8, 2016– Over the next three years passengers will be enjoying seamless self-service with airlines and at airports as the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) comes to travel. This is according to The Future is Connected, the latest industry report from SITA, the leading global IT provider to the air transport industry.

Today, 83% of passengers carry a smartphone and this is now the unifying technology in transport that will provide a connected end-to-end experience. SITA’s report shows that smartphones are reshaping travel behavior and with growth rates of around 80% or more at the check-in and boarding pass stages it is clear passengers are keen to use their own technology.

The groundwork by the air transport industry to establishing the infrastructure and processes that enable more seamless travel experiences is well under way and gathering further momentum. Over the next three years the vast majority of airlines and airports are planning to invest in mobile services for passengers and most airports will also be financing self-service processes.

SITA’s analysis shows that during the same period the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Fast Travel Program will reach a critical threshold. IATA’s target is to achieve a self-service experience for 80% of global passengers by 2020. This covers six key stages in the journey: check-in, bags-ready-to-go, document scanning, self-boarding, flight rebooking and bag recovery. Last year the initiative reached 29% of passengers with the goal of 40% this year. In the report SITA presents a detailed analysis of the readiness of airlines and airports at each stage of the journey and the expectation of adoption by 2018 on the way to reach this vision.

Nigel Pickford, Director Market Insight, SITA, said: “The air transport industry has already embraced self-service and now it is turning to the ‘Internet of Things’ to deliver a more connected experience to travelers. Half of airlines expect to have IoT initiatives up and running over the next three years meanwhile airports are building out the infrastructure to support IoT. Together these will deliver improved operations and will lead to a step change in the passenger experience.”

The Future is Connected combines SITA’s global research with commentary and cases studies from airports and airlines that are moving to fully-connected travel. Those featured include Changi Airport Group, Mumbai International Airport, Air New Zealand, Miami International Airport, along with industry perspectives from Airports Council International (ACI).

For further details download SITA’s full report – The Future is Connected.

  • Mishandled bag rate falls 61% in seven years with technology investment

Geneva | March 26, 2015– The air transport industry has cut the rate of mishandled bags by 61.3% globally since 2007, creating US$18 billion in total estimated cost savings, according to air transport IT specialist, SITA. The SITA 2015 Baggage Report released today showed that the rate of mishandled bags in 2014 was 7.3 bags per thousand passengers, down from a peak of 18.88 bags per thousand passengers in 2007. This decline comes despite a significant rise in passenger numbers over the same time period, peaking at 3.3 billion passengers in 2014.

Francesco Violante, CEO, SITA, said: “This improvement in baggage handling over the past seven years is largely a result of strong technology investment and innovation in baggage systems automation and processes. However, rising passenger numbers will continue to place pressure on baggage infrastructure and processes, so the industry cannot afford to become complacent. With IATA forecasting continued passenger growth of around 7% in 2015, all industry partners will need to continue to invest, collaborate and focus on baggage management.”

From 2013 to 2014, global passenger numbers rose 5.5%, and aircraft load factors increased globally to 79.7%. This increased pressure on existing systems nudged the rate of bag mishandling up in 2014 to 7.3 bags per thousand passengers, from its all-time low of 6.96 the previous year. More than 80% of the mishandled bags in 2014 were delayed, with transfers between connecting flights the leading cause of late delivery. In 2014, mishandled transfer bags accounted for 49% of all delayed bags or 11.81 million bags; however, the majority of bags were reunited with passengers within one to two days.

Airlines and airports are continuing to invest in new technology to optimize passenger and baggage processing, including self bag tagging, self bag drop, systems automation and bag ticketing. According to SITA’s 2014 Airport IT Trends Survey, baggage processing and management ranked among airports’ top investment priorities, with investments in self-service processes, such as kiosk and bag-drop technology leading the way. Over the next three years, 59% of airports said they would invest in major self-service programs, as passengers increasingly express a desire to have more control over their journeys, including their baggage.

By 2017, around 69% of airlines said they would provide passengers with real-time updates on the location of their bags, with 66% looking to provide these updates via smartphone apps. In addition, both airlines and airports are looking for new ways to enable passengers to file missing bag reports themselves. Around 18% of airlines already offer passengers the ability to report missing bags via self-service kiosks and 10% via smartphone apps; by 2017, nearly two-thirds of airlines expect to offer these services.

Baggage tracking is set to improve further in coming years as a result of IATA Resolution 753: Baggage Tracking. The resolution, which goes into effect in 2018, requires IATA members to “maintain an accurate inventory of baggage by monitoring the acquisition and delivery of baggage.” For example, BagJourney, SITA’s end-to-end baggage tracking solution for the air transport community, provides a cost-efficient and accurate method of tracking passengers’ bags anywhere along their journey from check-in to the destination airport. It can also enable passengers to access information on the location of their bags at any time when the airline provides this service and passengers subscribe to it.

SITA has led the air transport industry in providing baggage tracking and tracing solutions for the air transport community more than 20 years. Today, more than 200 airports and 500 airlines worldwide use its baggage management solutions. By facilitating communications between airlines and local baggage handling and reconciliation systems, SITA helps ensure that bags reach their correct destination. Its proprietary BagMessage system delivers more than 2.5 billion messages between airline departure control systems and automated baggage systems annually. And more than 2,800 airport locations use WorldTracer®, SITA’s system which traces mishandled bags globally.

For further details download SITA’s full report – 2015 Baggage Report

  • SITA announces new approach to provide unique global, regional and airport expertise

Geneva | November 13, 2014– Air transport communications specialist, SITA, is transforming its global network and communication services to offer airlines and airports more value and greater capacity to meet their changing business needs.

The development of the hybrid airline business model, the entry into service of e-enabled aircraft, the adoption of cloud-based solutions and the growing need for flexible on-demand services at airports are some of the major air transport industry trends calling for a new generation of global network services. By working with its strategic partner, Orange Business Services (OBS), and with five regional service providers, as well as expanding its communications capabilities at airports, SITA has strengthened the reach; focus on operational excellence and relevance of its network services for the air transport industry.

Francesco Violante, CEO, SITA, said: “Our announcement today marks a significant milestone for both SITA and the air transport industry. Airlines and other industry players operate on a worldwide scale, and have specific communication needs, especially at airports. It is this challenge of operating efficiently globally, regionally and at the airport that SITA’s new network offering is designed to meet.”

“Together with our strategic partner Orange Business Services we are providing a single global service for network management, integration and support,” he added. “Our new contract and our multi-supplier approach using key regional providers combined with SITA’s specialist experience and presence at 435 airports will provide unique and cost-effective capabilities wherever airlines fly.”

As part of the new connectivity offering, SITA has signed a five-year agreement with OBS, to provide network services in countries and territories worldwide. SITA will provide network services in additional locations directly and will also integrate and manage key regional providers in order to strengthen its global coverage. In addition, SITA is launching seasonal network services at airports, enabling airlines to test new routes, or operate seasonal destinations more cost effectively.

This flexible global connectivity will provide airlines with reduced connection lead times, connectivity on demand and improved application performance through the network. It will also allow SITA to better cater to the various business models of low cost airlines, hybrids and full service carriers.

Together SITA and OBS will operate a new SITA Network Services Delivery and Operations Center to deliver a best in class service that is exclusively designed for, and dedicated to, the global air transport industry. Run by industry specialists, it will operate 24/7 to deliver, integrate, manage and support all of SITA’s network services globally.

Thierry Bonhomme, CEO, Orange Business Services, said: “We believe that connectivity is key to the digital transformation that the air transport industry is undertaking. We are pleased to strengthen our partnership with SITA to offer the connectivity and operational excellence that this industry needs across the world. To support further the transformation of SITA’s customers beyond connectivity, we are also making available an expanded range of value-added communication services such as contact center solutions or unified communication services. By focusing on each of our strengths we are providing airlines and other industry players the best of both worlds through an integrated global service.”

SITA is the air transport industry’s leading network services provider. Currently 95% of all international destinations are covered by SITA’s extensive network, 13,500 air transport sites are connected by SITA VPN networks and SITA provides more than 17,000 IP connections.

SITA’s new network offering will be rolled out in phases. The SITA Network Services Delivery and Operations Center will be operational by the end of 2014.