• SITA enables Copenhagen to be the first airport in world to trial Google Glass for improved passenger experience

Brussels | June 18, 2014– Copenhagen Airport has given Google Glass the “thumbs up” following a successful trial by its passenger services team. Working with SITA Lab, the technology research group at SITA, Copenhagen Airport is the first airport in the world to trial Google Glass. Results from both passengers and the airport service team have been positive, with the innovative technology enabling superior passenger service.

Marie-Louise Lotz, Director Customer Care, Copenhagen Airport, said: “The feedback from our passengers and service team has been overwhelmingly positive. We found Google Glass very easy to use and more user-friendly than other devices such as tablets. We can reduce the amount of paper our Duty Managers need to carry to give great customer service, such as duty rosters, desk allocation sheets, peak prognosis, passenger numbers and cruise arrivals. And because the devices are hands-free, our managers are not focusing on a screen and can engage better with our passengers.”

The team also noted that having access to services like Google Translate and gate, baggage or flight information would help them improve the dialogue with passengers. Sharing information with other colleagues on duty by using the camera for documentation purposes and publishing photos on a closed work forum promotes instant interaction between Duty Managers.

Speaking at the Air Transport IT Summit in Brussels, Jim Peters, Chief Technology Officer, SITA, said: “SITA has led the way with airlines and airports in the trials of wearable technology, including Google Glass. The killer benefit is that this technology is hands-free and enables a new way of working. At Copenhagen Airport we have seen real benefits for both passengers and service staff. From an operational point of view, the ease of adoption and the user-friendliness of the Glass devices are great – it only takes a day for staff to familiarize themselves with the new equipment.”

There are, however, still some technical issues to iron out.

Peters commented: “The devices need improved scanning capability, battery life and reduced heating during operation. But the potential for widespread usage in the air transport industry is great. SITA will continue testing and researching the best ways for this innovative technology to be embraced by airports and airlines.”

When it comes to reactions from passengers, there were two main groups at Copenhagen. Younger people were excited and keen to see how they too could use the technology. In contrast, the older age group did not notice the devices and when the Glass was demonstrated to them they were pleasantly surprised by the added benefits the service team was able to deliver.

Christian Poulsen, CIO & VP Assets & Technology, Copenhagen Airport, said: “Copenhagen Airport is always looking for ways to use innovative technologies to make the visit to our airport the best possible experience for passengers. This pilot was very promising, and we are now investigating how we could efficiently introduce wearable technology to our passenger services team.”

Copenhagen Airport has a vision to make it the “The Gateway of Northern Europe,” and the team is focusing on extraordinary customer experiences, competitiveness and efficient operations. Embracing new technologies and innovation to have ground-breaking passenger services is part of this strategy. The Google Glass project builds on established services at the airport including common-use check-in, self-service bag drop and self-service boarding gates.

SITA, as the only IT provider completely dedicated to the air transport industry, is leading the innovation for wearable technology for airports and airlines. In 2013, its strategic technology research group, SITA Lab, began testing and comparing wearable technology devices and developing applications for airlines and airports. A paper outlining its findings for the industry is available here. Earlier this year, SITA Lab received a Smart Technology Award from The Wearables 2014, the leading awards for wearable technology. This recognized the pioneering pilot, which tested how Google Glass and Sony Smartwatches could enhance the passenger experience with an airline.

  • SITA survey reports 90% of airlines plan new initiatives over next three years

Air Transport IT Summit, BRUSSELS | June 18, 2014– Airlines are investing in smart technologies to manage flight disruptions better, according to the 2014 Airline IT Trends Survey, co-sponsored by SITA and Airline Business. The survey, launched today, reports that by 2017, 90% of airlines plan to use business intelligence solutions to manage flight disruptions more effectively and efficiently, and 87% plan to use self-service technologies to improve passenger services during periods of disruption.

Flight disruptions, or irregular operations (IROPs), affect airlines, passengers and the entire economic eco-system surrounding the industry. With the majority of flight delays caused by unavoidable weather, such as extreme rain or snow storms, airlines continually strive to find the best way to manage disruption. This year’s survey reveals how they plan to invest in smart technology to do so.

Launching the survey at the Air Transport IT Summit in Brussels, Francesco Violante, CEO, SITA, said: “The survey results show three quarters of airlines are increasing their investment in new technology initiatives to manage their business. Innovation is absolutely vital in any business. In the past decade, airlines have achieved great success using technology to improve the passenger experience, and this year’s survey shows a new focus in the area of disruption management.

“Airlines are investing in business intelligence, self-service for passengers during disruption, and of course the expansion of mobile services. The aim is that when incidents happen the industry will be better prepared to minimize disruption. The fact that airlines are focusing on this very difficult area is a healthy indicator of the desire to deliver a better passenger experience while improving airline efficiencies.”

The survey examined four main areas of disruption management: communications, passenger recovery or re-bookings, staff awareness and prevention. Airlines across the world plan to invest in each of these areas.

The initial focus is on real-time communication to passengers and between stakeholders. Informing passengers of disruptions in real-time via mobile is now offered by just over half of the airlines surveyed, and 92% plan to do so by 2017. In addition, more than one third of airlines currently use social media to keep passengers informed, and 80% plan to do so by 2017.

Airlines are also focusing on IT to provide more efficient recovery from disruption to improve the passenger experience, and self-service re-booking is a key area of investment. Few airlines have this in place at the moment but they show strong ambitions. Currently, just 14% of airlines let passengers use kiosks to manage their flight changes caused by disruption, but this is set to rocket to 63% by 2017. By then, 73% also plan to offer this service on mobiles, a rise from 11% today.

In the area of prevention, 90% of airlines plan to have business intelligence initiatives in place by 2017 to help manage disruptions, with 51% having integrated systems to predict potential disruptions and impact before they even happen.

The survey reports that 75% of airlines expect to increase their spending on new IT initiatives this year. Major new investments are aimed at boosting self-service for passengers, as well as leveraging the mobile devices they carry. These airlines are looking to get ahead of the competition by using technology to improve efficiency, operations and passenger services.

The Airline IT Trends Survey is an independent poll of senior IT personnel working within the top 200 passenger carriers; this year’s respondents together carry more than 50% of the world passenger traffic, and include 13% classified as low cost carriers, and 29% were airlines carrying over 20 million passengers.

*The report was launched today at SITA’s Air Transport IT Summit. Further details on the survey are available here and customized data from all of SITA’s industry surveys can be accessed on the IT Trends Hub.