• ‘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.

Sao Paulo, Brazil | March 5, 2015– More airline passengers in Brazil carry a smartphone than in other parts of the world. The SITA-ATW Passenger Survey reveals that 85% of passengers in Brazil carry smartphones compared to the global average of 81%. A significantly higher percentage of these passengers use apps from airlines, airports and travel agencies compared with passengers from Europe, Africa and the Middle East, making Brazil’s passengers among the most connected in the world.

SITA, which provides technology to airlines and airports around the world, conducted its research across 15 countries with nearly 6,300 participants. The results show that passengers in Brazil are using technology to enhance their journey. More than half of passengers who carry smartphones are using airline apps on a regular basis, 43% use travel agency apps and 38% use airport apps.

When it comes to booking their flights, passengers in Brazil are also picking up their smartphones and tablets faster than their counterparts in other parts of the world. Some 43% of them regularly use their smartphone to book flights, this compares to the global average of 31%. In Brazil, 42% take advantage of the larger screen and regularly use tablets to book flights. This use of mobile technology is set to continue to rise – when asked which channels they would use more for tickets and services, if all equally available, 60% of passengers said smartphone apps and 53% tablets.

Mauro Pontes, SITA Vice President, Brazil, said: “Airline passengers in Brazil are turning to technology to improve their journey. They are the pioneers across the Americas, when looking to the future we see that more of them expect (64%) to use smartphone apps for check-in compared to other countries in the region. The rate expected in Mexico is 61% while only 43% the USA.”

More than half of passengers in Brazil (55%) regularly use a smartphone app for flight information. This is higher than in other regions in both Mexico (44%) and the USA (46%). In the unfortunate case of flight disruptions, passengers in Brazil are also turning to their mobile technology to ease the experience.

Pontes added: “Airlines should take note that in the case of disruptions, such as a flight being cancelled, 64% of passengers expect to get a message via a mobile app, while 58% expect a call to their mobiles and 54% an email. This demonstrates the opportunity for airlines to leverage technology to support communications during these challenging periods.”

Dubai, UAE | December 8, 2014– Satcom Direct will be showcasing the next evolution in connectivity solutions, GlobalVT, at this year’s Middle East Business Aviation conference, 8 – 10 December at booth 765. Formerly known as AeroV+, the new brand reflects the functionality of the system which allows smartphone users to use voice and text functionality from their own personal smartphone number during flight at any altitude, anywhere in the world. It will be the first time the system has been showcased to the business aviation community. “The global voice and text capability led to the renaming of the product to GlobalVT and we are delighted to be highlighting its benefits for the first time to this influential region,” said Chris Moore, Chief Commercial Officer Satcom Direct International.

Similar to land based mobile connectivity, the new service will be offered to clients under a monthly subscription model. The service will be available globally, mirroring that of ground based services. “This is really turning the office-in-the-sky concept into a reality, as we can provide all our Satcom Direct Router (SDR™) clients with an option to use their mobile phones in the air as they would on the ground for both incoming and outgoing voice calls and text messages,” continues Moore.

“The wide variety of available smartphones and operating systems has been a challenge, especially for a company like Satcom Direct that focuses on a consistent user experience. The complexity of supporting hundreds of terrestrial-based networks has brought another dimension to our development program,” added Jim Jensen, Satcom Direct founder and CEO.

Available for aircraft equipped with the SDR™ and GlobalVT, passengers can use their personal smartphone and number to text and talk anywhere in the world. Additional benefits include availability through all phases of flight from taxi to taxi, regular use of the smartphone’s contact list and service availability across multiple satellite networks. The in-flight messaging and calls are all managed through the GlobalVT mobile app, and recipients on the ground view incoming calls and texts as coming from the user’s personal number

Satcom Direct will be exhibiting at MEBA on booth 765 and looks forward to welcoming media interested in finding out more about the latest smartphone technology.

  • Smartphone apps set for significant growth, reports SITA survey

Cancun, Mexico | November 11, 2014– Air passengers in Mexico are increasingly using smartphones and mobile technology to enhance their travel experience, according to a new survey from air transport IT specialist, SITA. The 2014 SITA/Air Transport World Passenger Survey reports that 89% of Mexican passengers carry a smartphone with them with they travel—compared to the global average of 81%—and they are looking for ways to use mobile technology throughout their journeys.

The survey, which queried approximately 1,300 passengers across the Americas region, reports that check-in via smartphone apps is poised to nearly double in Mexico over the next two to three years. Today, 31% of passengers use this technology, but 61% say they will use it more in the future.

Use of mobile boarding passes in Mexico is also set to increase significantly with 76% of passengers saying they will use them in the future, compared to 54% today. And 58% of Mexican passengers said they would use smartphones more in the future to buy airline tickets and other travel-related services, compared to a regional average of 48%.

Speaking at the Airports Council International Latin American-Caribbean Annual Assembly in Cancun, Alex Covarrubias, Vice President, Sales, SITA Latin America, said: “SITA’s survey highlights the positive influence that mobile technology is having on Mexican passengers’ travel experiences. While passengers have already begun embracing mobile apps, we expect to see significant growth in these areas in the next two to three years as passengers become more familiar with them and airline and airport apps continue to improve.”

Smartphone apps have already improved the pre-flight experience for around one-third of passengers in Mexico, reports the survey. On average 84% of smartphone users in Mexico have used airline apps and 74% have used airport apps for travel applications such as airport information and bookings. Around 75% of Mexican passengers are using smartphone apps to access real-time flight information, and 71% say they will use them more in the future, compared to an Americas average of 63%.

Smartphone apps are particularly appealing for directions and way finding, with 79% of Mexican passengers surveyed saying they would definitely use these apps in the future. Seventy-one percent said they would also definitely use their smartphones for access to boarding gates, airline lounges and other areas.

When asked about their future “wish list,” passengers in Mexico said their top two priorities for investments are inflight wireless and better real-time flight information. Around 70% of Mexican passengers mentioned inflight wireless, compared to a regional average of 58%, and 59% cited better real-time flight information, compared to the regional average of 55%.

Passengers in Mexico generally showed a strong preference toward self-service technology. Around 70% of passengers said they access websites regularly via a personal computer to view flight information. Around 93% said they had used online check-in, compared to the global average of 48%. Self-service technology at the airport was also a popular option. Thirty-four percent of passengers in Mexico said they had used self-serve check-in kiosks, with 46% saying they would definitely use them in the future. An additional 90% of Mexican passengers said they would definitely use automated boarding gates, which would allow them to board the plane by scanning their own boarding passes. This compares to a regional average of 79%.

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. In the Americas region, the survey was conducted across Brazil, Mexico and the United States with approximately 1,300 passengers, 20% of whom were based in Mexico.

ACI-LAC 22nd Assembly, MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY | November 4, 2013–

A global survey has shown that the passengers at GRU Airport in São Paulo have a strong desire to use their mobile phone for check-in, boarding and throughout their journey. The survey by air transport IT provider SITA indicates that as smartphone penetration increases passengers will expect these services from airlines and airports.

Currently, fewer passengers at the Brazilian airport carry smartphones than those at other airports in the global survey. Only 53% of those surveyed at GRU have smartphones and though this has jumped from 26% in 2011, it is in contrast to the global average of 76%. But passengers here really want to use their mobile phones. At GRU Airport, 78% of passengers say they would definitely use their mobile for boarding passes but globally only 43% would do so. The overwhelming majority, 81%, would also use their mobiles for flight searches. Again this is above the global average of 63% and demonstrates the expectation passengers have as they adopt smartphones.

Despite the great interest in mobile in travel, mobile services are still catching up with other self-service options. SITA’s survey reported that 20% of passengers used a kiosk to check in on the day of the survey but overall 91% are interested and 63% would definitely use them.

Luiz Eduardo Ritzmann, Chief Information Officer, GRU Airport, said: “SITA’s survey highlights how passengers at our airport are willing to use technology throughout their journey. Our current investment program supports this desire.”

“For example, we are installing around 100 common-use kiosks which can be used by all our passengers travelling anywhere with any airline. So we expect to see the usage figures for our new kiosks rise in the coming months. In addition, as smartphone ownership increases across Brazil, and among all our international passengers, we will look to provide innovative new mobile services to meet passenger expectations.”

Mauro Pontes, SITA Vice President, Brazil, speaking at the ACI-LAC Conference, said: “Smartphone technology, has the unique ability to offer passengers a seamless travel experience. By using localization and personalization airlines and airports can provide much more personalized and intuitive services – at the right time and stage of the journey.

“The 2013 SITA/ATW Passenger IT Trends Survey confirms that there is a desire among passengers at GRU Airport to use these types of services, especially mobile commerce. Here 60% are keen to buy additional offerings using their mobile phone which contrasts with the global average of 39%. This is a sign that access to travel services on the go is something passengers at GRU desire. It indicates that investment in efficient mobile commerce offerings could broaden the commercial reach of airlines.”

Currently, nearly half (44%) of passengers at GRU Airport regularly use websites to get flight information. This contrasts with results from other airports in the survey where an average of 32% use SMS messages and only 27% use websites. Interestingly, GRU passengers seem to be leapfrogging to the latest technologies and instead of SMS messages more have moved to using mobile apps (20%) than is the case in other parts of the world (12%). This higher level of adoption of mobile apps for information notifications may also happen when new mobile services, such as check-in and boarding, are offered and smartphone ownership increases.

These key findings are from the eighth annual SITA/ATW Passenger IT Trends Survey, carried out with a sample of the 299 million passengers who pass through six of the world’s leading airport hubs: Abu Dhabi International; Beijing Capital International; Chhatrapati Shivaji International, Mumbai; Frankfurt International; GRU Sao Paulo International and Hartsfield-Jackson, Atlanta.

The survey included 2,489 passengers from more than 70 countries. Those surveyed comprised a mix of business and leisure travelers, and occasional and frequent flyers at all locations.

More information on this and other SITA surveys can be found at www.sita.aero/surveys-reports