Mobile phones reduce flight delays

[19th June 2008]

Mobile phone check in

Airlines could save up to $600 million by taking advantage of passengers’ mobile phones to reduce flight delays.

SITA, a specialist IT provider to the air transport industry, commissioned research from Cambridge University. This shows that millions could be saved by using mobile phones to track passengers, send messages to them and move them to departure gates more efficiently. Flight delays would be reduced and turnaround times improved.

There are currently 3.2 billion mobile phones in the world and SITA believes these could be transformed into indispensable air travel tools within five years.

The company envisions a future where passengers can use their mobile phones like “personal travel folders” holding key information about their journey.

“These ‘digital travellers’, will have on-demand access to a range of mobile-enabled services such as real time flight updates; self-service booking, check-in and boarding; and mobile payments,” says SITA chief technology officer, Jim Peters.

“Some of these services are already available to passengers, for example in Norway, Japan and Germany paperless travel is a reality on some routes. But what our research shows is that these mobile services will be available to all travellers worldwide over the next five years. In fact, by the end of 2010, 67% of airlines plan to offer mobile check-in. By then 82% of airlines also plan to offer notification services on mobiles,“ adds Peters.

As well as using mobile phones as tracking devices to move passengers more efficiently, the report also suggests that airports could use them for marketing purposes too. A trial at Manchester airport where passengers were sent vouchers to their mobiles resulted in these passengers spending 45% more than other airport shoppers.

Written by: Nick Purdom


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