All airlines and 90 percent of airports are investing in business intelligence systems to better serve the needs of their passengers, although more progess is needed to make these investments count, according to air industry IT supplier Sita.
According to Sita research, more than half of passengers would use their mobiles for flight status, baggage status and airport directions, and by 2016 the majority of airlines and airports will offer these services using business intelligence analytics, said Sita.
Sita's research shows flight status updates are already a mainstream mobile service and will extend to the "vast majority" of airlines and airports by the end of 2016.
Also by 2016, bag status updates will be offered by 61 percent of airlines, and 79 percent of airports will provide status notifications like queue times through security and walking times to gates.
More than three quarters will also be providing navigation/way-finding at the airport via mobile apps.
Nigel Pickford, director for market insight at Sita, said: “Our research has clearly shown that the move to smartphone apps and mobile services is well underway.
"But many of the services that airlines and airports are planning are heavily dependent on their ability to provide more meaningful data and insight, to provide passengers and staff with the right information at the right time."
Sita asked airlines and airports to measure themselves in four categories of business intelligence best practice, including data access and management, infrastructure, data presentation, and governance.
Its analysis shows that on average the industry is "only halfway to achieving best-in-class" and that "further progress is needed".
Sita said there are ongoing efforts across the industry to establish data standards and ensure system compatibility. Pickford said, “Though the picture is not perfect now, change is coming. All airlines and 90 percent of airports are planning to make business intelligence investments in the coming three years.
"Both face the issue though that while passengers are very keen to access information about their journey, they are also sensitive about privacy. The smart use of non-intrusive passenger information however will provide benefits to airlines and passengers.”
Sita said a combination of business intelligence plus predictive analysis will help make the real difference, along with optimising the use of infrastructure and space at airports.
In the past, it said, airlines and airports had no choice but to react when “irregular events" such as bad weather disrupted their finely-tuned schedules.
Using business intelligence they will be more proactive by analysing past events and combining live data feeds from multiple sources to predict future events, and take preventative action before they occur, Sita said.
"By making the transition from reactive to proactive to preventative there are significant benefits to be gained for passengers and the industry alike," it said.
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