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Air travel: The ‘Future is Connected’

Location: Geneva, Switzerland
08 March 2016

‘Internet of Things’ coming to airlines and airports worldwide

Over the next three years passengers will be enjoying seamless self-service with airlines and at airports as the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) comes to travel. This is according to The Future is Connected, the latest industry report from SITA, the leading global IT provider to the air transport industry.

Today, 83% of passengers carry a smartphone and this is now the unifying technology in transport that will provide a connected end-to-end experience. SITA’s report shows that smartphones are reshaping travel behavior and with growth rates of around 80% or more at the check-in and boarding pass stages it is clear passengers are keen to use their own technology.

The groundwork by the air transport industry to establishing the infrastructure and processes that enable more seamless travel experiences is well under way and gathering further momentum. Over the next three years the vast majority of airlines and airports are planning to invest in mobile services for passengers and most airports will also be financing self-service processes.

SITA’s analysis shows that during the same period the International Air Transport Association's (IATA) Fast Travel Program will reach a critical threshold. IATA’s target is to achieve a self-service experience for 80% of global passengers by 2020. This covers six key stages in the journey: check-in, bags-ready-to-go, document scanning, self-boarding, flight rebooking and bag recovery. Last year the initiative reached 29% of passengers with the goal of 40% this year. In the report SITA presents a detailed analysis of the readiness of airlines and airports at each stage of the journey and the expectation of adoption by 2018 on the way to reach this vision.

Nigel Pickford, Director Market Insight, SITA, said: “The air transport industry has already embraced self-service and now it is turning to the ‘Internet of Things’ to deliver a more connected experience to travelers. Half of airlines expect to have IoT initiatives up and running over the next three years meanwhile airports are building out the infrastructure to support IoT. Together these will deliver improved operations and will lead to a step change in the passenger experience.”

The Future is Connected combines SITA’s global research with commentary and cases studies from airports and airlines that are moving to fully-connected travel. Those featured include Changi Airport Group, Mumbai International Airport, Air New Zealand, Miami International Airport, along with industry perspectives from Airports Council International (ACI).

For further details download SITA’s full report - The Future is Connected.

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