Passengers at GRU Airport São Paulo want mobile services

Date: 4 November 2013
Location: Montevideo, Uruguay


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.

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