The way airlines are doing business is undergoing a fundamental transformation as mobile apps permeate every step of the journey and core aspects of operations. The 14th annual SITA/Airline Business IT Trends Survey shows 93% of airlines have mobile services for passengers as a top investment priority over the next three years, with 58% investing in major programs.
The survey, which represents the views of more than half of the world's top 100 carriers, reports that airlines are focusing IT investment in the key areas of improving passenger service, reducing the cost of business operations and revenue generation. Passenger service is the top priority and mobile services for passengers tops the list with 58% of airlines planning major programs in the next three years. An additional 35% are investing in research and development. 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% of the airlines plan to do so.
But the real transformation is not just in the area of sales, this year's survey shows that airlines are using mobile apps right across the business. By 2015, almost nine out of ten airlines plan to have the following core services available via mobile: flight search, check-in, boarding passes, ticket purchase, flight status notification, ancillary services, with customer complaint handling and missing baggage management following closely
Half of the airlines have already implemented mobile services for flight search and check-in with close to half also providing boarding passes, ticket purchase and flight status notifications.
Launching the 2012 Airline IT Trends Survey, Francesco Violante CEO SITA, said: "This year's survey shows how airlines are committed to mobile across the whole business. Mobile apps are being used to improve the passenger experience, reduce operating costs and generate revenue. This is the second year that mobile services for passengers tops the list of investment programs and it is the adoption of mobile apps across sales, customer services and passenger processing that truly shows that airlines are committed to transformation."
Nine out of ten airlines are investing in social media over the next three years. Some 57% of airlines believe social media can play a significant role in promoting sales with 39% stressing its value in customer service. Four out of ten promote flights via social media already, and almost 90% plan to do so by 2015. Both social media and mobile open the door for a more personalized service, and 78% of airlines in this year's survey already have, or plan to, personalize sales offerings via their direct channels.
Over the last number of years, the SITA/Airline Business annual survey has shown the migration to mobile but the results this year show an absolute commitment from the airlines to a mobile future.