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Summer loving ... embrace those extra passengers

Published on  14 September by Thomas Knierim , Senior Manager, Market Insight, SITA
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In the second of a two-part blog series on how the air transport industry can accommodate peaks in passenger flow, especially during the busy summer season, Thomas Knierim looks at three areas for airlines.

Even discounting the Olympics, summer travel is the busiest of the year. Families are traveling with small children. New flyers are embarking on their first trips. And, of course, business travel continues unabated. The surge of travelers around the world stresses the entire air transport industry (ATI), from airlines to airports to border control agencies to ground handlers to the passengers themselves, including the most seasoned of world travelers.

Besides opening new routes, there are three key steps that airlines can take to ease the stress on themselves and their passengers during spikes in traffic.

Reach for the clouds

Cloud technology and services can change the way the ATI addresses its business and operational challenges related to seasonal spikes in passenger traffic or major disruptive events.

It gives airlines the agility to cope with unexpected events like the recent ash clouds or planned traffic peaks.

Picture this: you are the IT administrator of a European airline. Passenger volume increases significantly, perhaps even more than anticipated, during the summer. The ATI Cloud makes it easier for you to ramp up and repurpose IT resources and capacity quickly. Within minutes, you can redeploy hundreds of users to manage traffic spikes, giving them instant access to the applications they need to do their jobs. Even remote staff, working on their own devices, can step in to fill the gap. Imagine this expanded team ready to manage all those extra passengers within minutes instead of the typical days or weeks.

Doing it for themselves

We live in an age of people doing things for themselves, and travel is no exception. Self-service is great year-round, but its value is heightened during peak travel times. It allows passengers to bypass long queues at reservations, check-in, boarding and more. This frees your team to focus on the passengers who need their assistance, providing a better experience for everyone.

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, bag drop is the latest development in self-service. Jetstar, Brisbane Airport and SITA have teamed up to allow Jetstar passengers at Brisbane to drop off their bags in less than 25 seconds. This is very encouraging, especially considering that baggage check-in is the main obstacle to wider adoption of self-service.

The seventh annual Passenger Self-Service Survey will be released in October. Join our exclusive webinar, conducted jointly by SITA and ATW, on October 10. This year's survey was conducted at six of the world's leading airports and includes opinions of more than 2,500 passengers.

Go mobile

Mobile technology is making self-service easier every day. Passengers can use their smart phones to book reservations, pay for tickets, check in, board, and trace their baggage.

Passengers want it - 73% say they want to board with a mobile boarding pass, 77% want gate and flight information updates to their phone. This is the era of the mobile-centric passenger and by making services available via mobile devices, airlines can cope with traffic surges more effectively.

By using cloud, self-service and mobile technologies, airlines can better manage their staff and operations during peak travel times. These technologies can also be used in times of normal or sub-normal passenger traffic. The same applications and technologies used to ramp up processes can be used to ramp them down when necessary. All year round, they will provide more efficient operations for the airline and a better overall travel experience for the passenger.

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