Orlando redefines passenger experience

Passengers at Orlando International Airport (MCO) – the second busiest airport in Florida and 14th busiest in the US – are benefiting from a series of innovations introduced in recent months.

First, they have been enjoying shorter wait times, with 53% fewer passengers spending more than 15 minutes in line. This is in large part due to sophisticated queue management technology from SITA.

The new system has resulted in the double benefit of reducing stress for travelers and enabling more accurate resource planning by the airport.

The airport introduced the intelligent queue management technology at the airport’s East and West Checkpoints at the start of 2016. SITA QueueAnalyzer provides the airport with a real-time view of the TSA checkpoints, enabling rapid response to unexpected conditions. It also provides historical wait-time data to establish wait-time profiles for different times of the day, days of the week and seasons.

John Newsome, IT Director for MCO, said: “This is a great example of how measuring performance improves performance. The technology has helped us to better inform checkpoint resources and process management, reducing wait times; as well as better inform our passengers, reducing the stress of uncertain wait times.” 

HDEF video wall

At the same time, the airport recently unveiled a new standard in airport display – with a video wall the length of five football fields – to create a fun and interactive check-in experience for the 42 million passengers who travel to and from Orlando International Airport every year.

SITA partnered with Synect to design and install the ultra-high definition video wall, which fully integrates with airport operational systems to deliver dynamic way-finding along with flight information, destination time and weather, security and gate information.

In addition, the family-friendly airport can now display engaging games to entertain its young travelers and decrease perceived wait times.

Matthys Serfontein, Vice President, Airport Solutions, SITA, said: “Orlando’s new video wall is a fantastic showcase of how technology can transform the passenger experience.

“It is visually exciting, informative and engaging, as well as being linked to the airport’s operational systems.”

Get your media on demand

Every year airlines load on to their aircraft more than 36,500 tons of newspapers and magazines as a service for passengers – that’s equivalent to the weight of 100 Airbus A380s.

There’s no certainty what proportion will be read. They’re costly to provide and costly to dispose of.

Now there’s an alternative. Making newspapers and magazines available digitally on a passenger’s smart device promises to save a lot of money – including the cost of fuel.

DigitalMedia trials

SITA has introduced DigitalMedia as a response – a self-service entertainment platform to deliver content to a smart device, enhancing the passenger experience before, during and after the flight.

Available at five possible touchpoints – on the move, kiosk, app, lounge and tablets – it is provided through a partnership with Adaptive Channel, offering over 6,500 newspaper and magazine titles.

Proof-of-concepts have been underway by SITA, SWISS and Geneva Airport, as well as London Heathrow.

“Having access to a range of media that they can continue to enjoy at the gate and inflight on their mobile device meets a genuine need for customers,” says SWISS Marketing Distribution Manager Arnaud Delaloye.

World’s airports prioritize security

Airports are placing a higher priority on IT investments for passenger and airport security with 50% rating it a high priority, up from 37% last year.

So says the recently launched 2016 Airport IT Trends Survey, by SITA and Airports Council International (ACI), in association with Airline Business.

For many airports, the investment focus has shifted to security in the wake of heightened regional tensions, some of which directly target air travel.

Changing world

While investment in passenger processing technology still ranks the number one priority for airports, it has dropped from 73% in 2015 to 59% this year as security rises in priority.

“The technology trends at airports reflect the changing world,” says Matthys Serfontein, SITA Vice President, Airport Solutions.

“Investments to support passenger and airport security are up while the increasing demands of the connected traveler for self-service and mobile services are also being met.”

Revenue and Wi-Fi

“This year we see a shift where airports are also looking to technology to generate non-aeronautical revenue. By 2019, 84% hope to make money by enabling the purchase of airport services through their mobile app.

And there is also a clear trend to provide hybrid public Wi-Fi services that combine the convenience of limited free Wi-Fi with commercial offerings.

Over the next three years the proportion of airports planning to offer unrestricted free Wi-Fi will drop from 74% to 54%. This change is mainly driven by airports in North America and the Middle East.”

Digital transformation

SITA’s research takes a look further into the airport’s digital transformation exploring areas such as wearables, biometrics, robotics and context-aware services and how airports plan to use these innovative technologies over the next five to ten years.

In the light of the increased focus on security it’s not surprising that interest in biometric technology, which supports fast and secure passenger processing, is high.

More than one third of airports will invest in single biometric travel token projects in the next five years jumping to the majority (52%) within the decade.

Passenger trends by region

Passengers prefer technology to people and interact with technology in different ways. That’s clear from the 2016 Passenger IT Trends Survey, by SITA and Air Transport World.

But thanks to further analysis of the survey’s results, we’re now able to look at which passenger profiles are dominant in various regions of the world, as well as which technology passengers would use the most.

Regional differences

Through several analyses – including China, Europe, Russia, South Korea, UAE and the US – the air transport industry can now gain insights into Passenger IT Trends on a country and regional basis.

Discover your traveler profile

Are you a ‘do-it-yourself tourist’ or someone who likes to travel in style? Do you plan carefully or leave things to chance?

Answer a few questions in the Travel Technology Discovery Quiz to learn your profile, and share on a world map to see how you compare.

What kind of traveler are you?

MEA ensures faster connectivity

Middle East Airlines-Air Liban (MEA) has signed a new agreement with SITA to introduce new, faster connectivity across the airline’s network.

The agreement includes SITA Connect which provides the airline with unrivalled network coverage. This will ensure MEA maintains fast, effective links with its 26 outstations across the globe, providing a headquarters-like experience across its vast network.

Long partnership

The contract marks a continuation of the strong relationship between the two organizations, which dates back more than 60 years to February 1956 when MEA first became a SITA member.

MEA Chairman and Director General Mohamad El-Hout said: “We chose SITA because of its unrivalled global reach and excellent service.

“They have been an important partner in helping us grow our business across the region and the globe.”

Explore the latest trends in the air transport industry and create your own custom reports

Visit the IT Trends Hub

Air Transport IT Review - Issue 3, 2016

Download PDF version
Subscribe to the Air Transport IT Review