Passengers carry smartphones but opt for personal service at Abu Dhabi Airport

Date: 3 December 2013
Location: Abu Dhabi


An impressive 84% of passengers at Abu Dhabi International Airport carry a smartphone, according to the latest global survey by air transport IT provider SITA. The 2013 SITA/Air Transport World Survey conducted at six major airports around the world shows that more passengers at this airport carry smartphones than at any of the other five; the global average is 76%.

But the level of interest and confidence among passengers at Abu Dhabi in using these sophisticated devices throughout the journey is not rising at the same pace. When asked, 77% said that they prefer to go to a counter for service from an agent than to use their phone. The biggest concern these passengers have is the fear that their phone won’t work.

When it comes to check-in, 87% regularly check-in with an agent at a counter at Abu Dhabi, in contrast to the global average of 51%. Almost all, 94%, regularly get their boarding passes at a counter rather than at a kiosk, printing at home or using their mobile.

Ahmad Al Haddabi, Chief Operations Officer at Abu Dhabi Airports, said: “With the high level of smartphone ownership among passengers at Abu Dhabi International Airport, there are still opportunities to explore and increase awareness of the potential benefits of using these devices for travel. Abu Dhabi Airports started to introduce mobile services in 2012, with the focus on making the passenger journey easier, and since then, passenger usage has been constantly increasing. Furthermore, the lower usage is a reflection of the regional preference for personal service rather than a mobile or online one, especially amongst the older generations.”

Hani El Assaad, SITA President, Middle East, India and Africa, said: “This year’s survey confirms again that passengers at Abu Dhabi International prefer personal service at the time of check-in. However, they are interested in using mobile services, particularly for information about their journey and the location of their baggage. Smartphones offer the ability to provide these ‘always-connected’ travellers with relevant information and updates at the airport and throughout their journey.”

SITA’s survey shows that Abu Dhabi passengers are very keen to use their mobiles for in-flight services. Access to entertainment is the most popular use, with 94% saying they would use this service in contrast to the global average of 85%. Around two-thirds are also interested in in-flight access to emails, flight information and phone calls.

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