SITA has predicted a revolution in how passengers in
the future will use the online flight-booking engine, as the specialist
in air transport communication and IT solutions marked its 60th
anniversary with a look at how technology will change the face of air
travel over the next five years.
Jim Peters, SITA’s Chief Technology Officer,
said, “The rise of social networking over the internet means that
the days of the simple online flight-booking engine are numbered.
Web 2.0 technologies will transform airline websites into travel
planning portals that go far beyond date and location. By making
it faster, easier and more cost-effective to provide real-time
content from diverse sources, Web 2.0 technologies meet
travellers’ demands for greater information and personalisation.
“In the near future when a customer makes a booking,
the airline website could extract the passenger’s preferences from
its frequent flyer programme, combine it with external content
from travel websites so that hotels, restaurants and tourist
attractions can be overlaid on a Google map and the traveller can
then take a virtual sight-seeing tour and be linked in with
friends’ travel plans.”
In a New Frontiers Paper,
Ten Technology Advances That Will Change Air Travel, released
on Monday, SITA forecasts that mobile devices are
about to have the same impact on the passenger journey as the jet
engine did 50 years ago.
“Mobile phones are fast
becoming access points to online services and over 90% of
passengers carry them. Digitally-equipped passengers will access
all their travel needs while on the move including purchasing
airline tickets and checking-in. Mobile boarding passes could save
the industry $500 million as we move towards paperless travel. The
launch last week of
in-flight mobile phone services on Ryanair by
SITA’s subsidiary, OnAir, is further proof of how important the
mobile phone is becoming for today’s travellers.”
Biometric identification and the use of mobile devices will also
be boosted by the adoption of Near Field Communications (NFC), a
short-range high frequency wireless communication technology that
enables the simple and fast exchange of data between devices over
a space of about 10 cms or four inches. The technology is
intelligent, secure and interactive which makes it ideal for the
air transport industry.
Peters added, “NFC makes it
possible to provide electronic services to travellers in a simple
way while reducing the amount of paper and plastic cards a
passenger has to carry for a journey. A NFC-embedded mobile phone
may be all that’s necessary for a passenger to take their flight.
“The ticket can be purchased online and sent to the
mobile phone; check-in can then be made on the way to the airport.
Biometric border controls verify the passenger’s identity and a
simple wave of the phone across a wireless reader at the gate
validates the e-boarding card enabling the passenger to walk
directly onto the aircraft.”
identification is set to have a huge impact as SITA predicts its
adoption will explode from 2% of airports using it today, to over
30% using it in five years, and not just for speeding passengers
through border control but also through the check-in and boarding
SITA also predicts that Radio-frequency
identification (RFID), an automatic identification method, is
about to have a major impact on travel not only through RFID chips
being embedded in e-passports but also in tackling passengers’
number one frustration after flight delays, mishandled baggage.
“RFID is not a universal solution to the problem of
mishandled baggage but if implemented system-wide it could save
the industry $750 million annually by ensuring
origin-to-destination tracking of baggage,” said Peters.
RFID is also looked at from the perspective of
technologies that will improve Air Transport Industry operations
alongside Service Oriented Architecture, Cloud Computing,
Collaborative Decision Making and Virtualization. When data
encoded on RFID tagged parts and situational data received from
new generation digitally-enabled aircraft, can be intelligently
combined, it will lower maintenance costs considerably for the
industry, the SITA study predicts.
SITA was founded
60 years ago by 11 airlines to provide shared
information and telecommunications services to the infant air
transport industry. Today it is one of the world's most
international companies. Its global reach is based on local
presence, with services for around 600 air transport industry
members and 3,000 customers in over 220 countries and territories.
other recent news regarding: