Airlines focus IT investment on Mobile Applications

In its latest annual survey of IT trends in the airline industry, the communications and technology firm SITA found that in carriers’ plans for future IT investment, “Passenger service is the top priority, and mobile services for passengers tops the list with 58 percent of airlines planning major programs in the next three years…In the area of sales and distribution, mobile has taken hold, with more than half of airlines already selling tickets via mobile devices and by 2015, 89 percent of the airlines plan to do so.”


In the near future 90 percent of major airlines worldwide will offer mobile apps for flight search, check-in, boarding passes, ticket purchase, flight status notification, ancillary services, customer complaint handling and missing baggage management.

By 2015, the survey found, airlines expect direct sales through smart phones to be their second most important source of ticketing transactions, exceeded only by sales through their websites. In that same timeframe, well over half of the airlines polled said they expect to be offering mobile device options for passengers to change or upgrade their tickets, secure seat assignments, purchase in-flight meals, pay baggage fees, pay for in-flight merchandise purchases, and buy airport lounge access.
The IT investment applies to more than just selling services to passengers. “The survey respondents believe that beyond 2015, websites and mobile phones will be the two dominant channels for processing passengers” at the airport, SITA said. Web and smart phone check-ins are expected to handle almost twice as many passengers as airport kiosks, the survey found.

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