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Indian travelers demand more self-service tech in the airport

Location: Mumbai
23 November 2017

Most Indians happy to use mobile services and biometrics to speed up their journey  

As Indian travelers become more familiar with the use of technology –mobile in particular – the more they expect to use it on their journey. This is according to the 2017 SITA Passenger IT Trends Survey, a global survey released today by IT provider SITA and co-sponsored by Air Transport World. 

While the use of technology among India travelers remains high at check-in (87%) and booking (52%), 2017 saw tremendous growth in the use of technology at other points in the journey. The use of self-service bag tag rose to 55% from 35% in 2016 while the use of self-bag drop climbed from 12% in 2016 to 21% in 2017.

Travelers are also demanding new mobile services with 83% saying that they would definitely use flight updates on their mobile, 82% to report mishandled bags and 79% to track their bags in real-time. This comes as no surprise with more than 1-billion Indians using at least one mobile device in 2016 of which 300 million are using a smart device. *

Maneesh Jaikrishna, Vice President Indian Subcontinent, Eastern & Southern Africa said: “In India travelers are increasingly demanding the use of self-service and mobile technology in the airport, to speed up their journey. This expectation, in many cases, is running ahead of availability in Indian airports today.”

For example, 54% of passengers said they would rather use self-bag drop than a face-to-face interaction with an agent, compared to 33% globally and well ahead of current usage.

Jaikrishna said: “This is good news for the industry as this provides airports and airlines the opportunity to fully benefit from technology to speed up the journey and push operational efficiencies, helping them meet the demands of rapidly growing passenger numbers across the country,” India is expected to see passenger numbers grow by 337 million over the next 20 years to 2036.

Another area that is gaining the attention of passengers is the use of biometrics. Indian travelers have shown greater willingness to use biometrics to speed up their journey through the airport than the rest of the world. In 2017, 70% of passengers in India said they would definitely use biometrics, removing the need to show a passport or boarding card at key points in the airport. This was well above the global average of 57%.

The willingness of Indian travelers to use biometrics is being driven by the India’s civil aviation ministry’s drive to link passenger biometrics in identity cards and passports with the databases of airlines and airports. This will open the opportunity for passengers to use their face as their identity, speeding up identity checks across the airport.

“Many travelers are comfortable with the use of biometric and see the benefits of using them on their travels. This aligns perfectly with the need to find more efficient ways to manage more passengers using the same infrastructure. There is little doubt that technology is the key resolution India’s constraints on airport infrastructure.”

*Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)

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