New York | November 12, 2014– More than 40 new automated passport control (APC) kiosks went live today at JetBlue’s new international arrivals hall extension at Terminal 5 (T5) at JFK International Airport. The kiosks provided by SITA, the global provider of border management solutions and air transport IT, allow international arriving passengers to move through the customs and immigration process quickly and smoothly. They are part of JetBlue’s investment into its new arrival facilities in its T5 at JFK.

SITA’s Automated Passport Control self-service kiosks allow passengers to provide their travel document, biometric data and customs declaration prior to speaking to a US Customs and Border Protection officer. The biometric process on kiosks, first deployed in the USA using SITA technology, increases efficiency and streamlines processes at the ports of entry by off-loading work from the immigration counters to the kiosks. JetBlue can now deliver an improved customer experience to its passengers from the US, Canada and Visa-Waiver countries as they arrive from international destinations.

Eash Sundaram, CIO, JetBlue, said: “At JetBlue our goal is to put the pleasure back into flying and this includes the arrival experience of our international passengers. We have invested in all our facilities and as part of this SITA’s easy-to-use kiosks will help travelers on arrival and continue the great JetBlue experience on the ground.

“We examined what was available in the market and SITA won us over with its experience and the kiosks’ functionality and flexibility. Things like the automatic height adjustment, reactive lighting and SITA’s ambassador application, all added up to the best experience we could offer our passengers.”

Paul Houghton, SITA President, Americas, said: “JetBlue is an airline that has the passenger experience at its core and it was great that we at SITA were able to meet its exacting standards with our automated passport control kiosks. International passengers arriving with JetBlue and its partner airlines will now enjoy a fast and hassle-free move through customs and immigration at JFK T5i with just a few touches of buttons on the SITA APC kiosks.”

In total, 41 Phase 3 APC kiosks are being supplied by SITA at T5. These have been approved by the US Customs and Border Protection for accurate data collection and verification of passenger facial and fingerprint biometrics against passengers’ passports. This means that they can be used to process any passenger from the USA, Canada or any of the 38 visa waiver countries.

SITA has already supplied APC kiosks to many airports across the United States including Orlando, Miami, Tampa, Boston, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. They have been very well-received by passengers, airlines and airports with reports of waiting times reduced by up to 40%. JetBlue’s kiosks are now live and fully operational for its nearly three million international passengers.

  • 100% of airports in China investing in social media and mobile services to improve passenger experience

Shanghai | November 6, 2014– Airports in China are focusing their IT investments on improving the passenger experience and introducing new self-service options including bag-tag printing, self-boarding and self-bagdrop. This increased attention to the customer experience has also seen the airports embrace new media with 100% of them investing in passenger services via social media and mobiles by 2017.

This is according to the SITA/ACI Airport IT Trends Survey which was announced today. The research results represent the views of the top 20 airports in China which serve more than 60% of all Chinese airline passengers.

May Zhou, Vice President, SITA China said: “The extensive airport expansion and passenger growth, currently being experienced in China, are major challenges. Airports however are stepping up to these challenges and investing in IT to improve the passenger experience. There is now a real focus to improve the customer experience. We see airports investing in passenger services, and 100% of them are investing in social media and mobile services to provide an efficient and personalized journey.”

The survey shows that the massive growth in passenger numbers in China – up 9.7% in 2013 to 745 million – is leading to further investments in self-service to help improve performance and speed of passenger handling throughout the airports. More than half (53%) of airports consider passenger processing as the most important priority for IT investment. In total, 65% of airports in China are investing in major self-service programs and a further 29% are running pilots.

Investments in common-use self-service kiosks continue, with 35% planning to use them for check-in, while 35% plan to install them for other uses. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of China’s airports are implementing bag-tag printing. Another area of significant development is self-boarding, which 35% of airports have implemented, up from 8% in 2013.

Behind the airports’ investment into new media is a strong desire to develop more personalized customer service through direct interaction, and China’s airports are succeeding here. More than half (53%) rate their social media investments as performing well, or above expectations, for customer loyalty. In particular, airports are using mobile and social media to communicate with passengers in times of disruption. By the end of 2017, 94% of airports in China will have implemented real-time notification via social media and mobile.

Some 85% of Chinese airports surveyed said their total IT expenditures would either increase or stay the same in 2014. Much of this spend will be on infrastructure to support airport development in anticipation of future passenger growth. More than half (54%) are investing in IT for airport terminal expansions, 50% for new terminals and 44% for refurbishments.

  • Smartphones, the web and kiosks will continue improving the journey, reports SITA survey

Amsterdam | October 30, 2014– European air passengers are among the most satisfied, according to a new survey from air transport IT specialist, SITA. The 2014 SITA/Air Transport World Passenger Survey reports that 82% of European passengers are highly satisfied with their travel experiences due to advances in technology.

The survey, which queried approximately 2,300 passengers in France, Germany, Spain, Russia and the UK, found that technology plays a major role in improving the travel experience. Among European markets surveyed, Russian passengers said technology had made the greatest positive impact on their journey. Around 71% said online technology had improved their travel experience, while half cited smartphones and 54% cited self-serve kiosks. UK passengers reported the second highest influence of technology on their travel experience, with 56% mentioning online technology, followed by self-service kiosks (39%) and smartphones (35%).

Speaking from the Europe Aviation ICT Forum 2014 in Amsterdam, Dave Bakker, SITA President, Europe, said: “SITA’s survey highlights both the major role and the positive impact that technology is having on European passengers’ travel experiences. While passengers have already begun embracing mobile apps, self-service check-in kiosks and web technology, we expect to see continued growth in these areas in the years ahead.”

The majority of European passengers take their technology on the road with them when they travel, with an average of 80% carrying a smartphone. Within Europe, passengers in Spain carried the highest percentage of smartphones at 90%, followed by 83% in Russia and 78% in Germany. A growing number of passengers in Europe carry as many as three mobile devices when they travel—smartphones, tablets and laptops. Russia topped the list of passengers travelling with all three devices at 17%, followed by France at 15% and Spain at 13%.

Across Europe, passengers are integrating self service technology into every stage of their journey. The vast majority of European passengers—93%—have used web technology for some aspect of their travels. Russia is leading the way in adopting other types of self-service options. Two-thirds of Russian passengers are using smartphone services such as mobile apps, compared to 59% in Spain and 46% in the UK. In addition 77% of Russian passengers are using automated (unstaffed) bag drop, compared to 75% in France and 54% in Germany.

Across all European markets except Spain, passengers’ top two “must have” travel services for the future were better comparability of airline fees, mentioned by 43% of passengers, and real-time flight information, cited by 39% of passengers. These were also the top priorities globally. While Spanish passengers also saw better comparability of airline fees as the top priority, their second priority was in-flight wireless services, such as email and movie streaming, mentioned by 64% of passengers.

We can expect to see significant growth across all European markets in the percentage of passengers who will regularly use web, phone and kiosk check-in over the next 12 months. The greatest growth in all markets except France, where passengers prefer self-service kiosks, will be in smartphone apps. Nearly 90% of Russian passengers said they would use more smartphone apps, followed by two-thirds of Spanish and German passengers respectively.

Smartphone apps are particularly appealing for directions and way finding, with half of European passengers surveyed saying they would definitely use these apps in the future. Around 40% said they would definitely use their smartphones as identification and for access to boarding gates, airline lounges and other areas. According to the survey, Russia and Spain lead the way in their intentions to use these smartphone apps in the future, followed by the UK, France and Germany.

The 9th annual SITA-ATW Passenger Survey was conducted across 15 countries worldwide with nearly 6,300 participants. The 15 countries involved in the survey represent 76% of total global passenger traffic.