Middle East Airports Invest in IT to Meet Capacity Challenge

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Hani El Assaad, SITA President, Middle East, India and Africa
Hani El Assaad, SITA President, Middle East, India and Africa
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Hani El-Assaad, SITA President, Middle East, India and Africa
Hani El-Assaad, SITA President, Middle East, India and Africa. Photo-provided
  • The world’s airports are turning to mobile apps, social media and intelligent technologies services to improve the passenger experience, according to the SITA Airport IT Trends Survey. Within the Middle East airports are investing in IT to address capacity challenges, as passenger numbers increase.
  •  The 9th annual SITA survey, in partnership with Airports Council International (ACI) and Airline Business, reports that improving the passenger experience is the number one driver of IT investment by the majority (59%) of the world’s airports but for airports in the Middle East enhancing capacity is the primary driver.
  •  Hani El-Assaad, SITA President, Middle East, India and Africa: “This year’s Airport IT Trends Survey shows that operators in the Middle East are meeting the challenge of growing passenger numbers and capacity constraints by investing in intelligent IT solutions. This will enable them to continue to deliver the high level of customer service that is enjoyed and expected at Middle Eastern airports.”
  •  The survey results are based on responses from 91 airport operators, representing the views of 173 airports worldwide, managing 2.3 billion passengers per year.

Dubai – 2 October 2012 – The world’s airports are turning to mobile apps, social media and intelligent technologies including geolocation services to improve the passenger experience, according to the SITA Airport IT Trends Survey. Within the Middle East airports are investing in IT to address capacity challenges, as passenger numbers increase.

The 9th annual SITA survey, in partnership with Airports Council International (ACI) and Airline Business, reports that improving the passenger experience is the number one driver of IT investment by the majority (59%) of the world’s airports but for airports in the Middle East enhancing capacity is the primary driver.

As passenger numbers continue to rise at airports across the world, and in particular in the Middle East, optimizing the use of the available real estate is a priority and passenger flow management will become more and more important. Globally airports see geolocation for real-time staff location as a top priority for reducing passenger congestion, with Middle Eastern airports valuing it the most. Within the next three years, new way-finding services are set to become commonplace on mobile devices, allowing passengers to navigate easily through the airport. Just 10% of airports provide them today but this is set to jump to 70% by 2015.

Hani El-Assaad, SITA President, Middle East, India and Africa, speaking today at the 2012 Aviation ICT Forum in Dubai, said: “This year’s Airport IT Trends Survey shows that operators in the Middle East are meeting the challenge of growing passenger numbers and capacity constraints by investing in intelligent IT solutions. This will enable them to continue to deliver the high level of customer service that is enjoyed and expected at Middle Eastern airports.”

An example of changes passengers will see is a rapid increase in mobile and social media apps delivering a more personalized customer experience. Keeping passengers informed about their flight status and wait times is the top reason for airports providing mobile apps, with 88% planning to invest in them by the end of 2015. During this period, 78% of airports also plan to invest in social media with two thirds of these currently focused on evaluations or trials.

Airports are also investing in business intelligence solutions to deliver an improved passenger experience. Some 86% of airports see it as a priority for sharing information and collaborating with partners; 83% to ensure more accurate service information for passengers; and 76% to reduce flight delays due to ground operational issues.

In terms of extending self-service, the survey found major steps in kiosk usage. The implementation of bag tag printing at kiosks by airports has doubled from 2011 to 2012 and there are strong investment plans for assisted bag drop with 83% intending to provide it by 2015. In addition, 60% of airports plan to provide full self-service bag drop by then.

The survey results are based on responses from 91 airport operators, representing the views of 173 airports worldwide, managing 2.3 billion passengers per year.

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

 

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