Digital adoption is accelerating as pent-up demand fuels the recovery, claims SITA

Digital adoption is accelerating as pent-up demand fuels the recovery, claims SITA

The aviation IT specialist has released its 2022 Passenger IT Insights report that sought the views of travellers in 27 countries in EMEA, Africa, the Americas and Asia

Research for air transport IT specialist SITA has found customer are increasingly turning to mobile and touchless technologies as pent-up demand drives the pandemic recovery.

The 2022 Passenger IT Insights reports an increase in use of mobile devices for booking, on board the airplane, and for bag collection in the first quarter of 2022 compared to 2020.

It also claims automated gates saw increases in adoption for identity control, boarding, and border control.

“The results clearly reflect the accelerated digitalisation of air travel since the outbreak of the pandemic and passengers’ willingness to adopt technologies,” said SITA.

“However, health verification is a pain point that has slowed end-to-end automation.” 

SITA said while there was uptake of technology in the first quarter of 2022 over half of passengers were still doing their own research on health verification requirements and manually submitting documentation. 

SITA’s research also found reduced technology adoption in the early stages of the journey (check-in, bag tag, and bag drop) in favour of manual processing. 

“Uncertainty about health requirements and travel rules has likely led travellers to seek more staff interaction when starting the journey,” SITA said.

The research found the more technology is used during travel, the happier passengers are. 

As many as 87% of passengers reported “positive emotions” about identity control, up 11% from 2016. The same was true for 84% of passengers about bag collection (up 9%). 

“These are also the areas where technology adoption has risen the most, driven by mobile and automated gates, with half of passengers now additionally receiving real-time information at bag collection on time until delivery,” SITA said.  

Asked about comfort levels with biometric identification throughout the journey, passengers scored an average of almost 7.3 out of 10 (with 10 representing most comfortable).

David Lavorel, chief executive of SITA, said: “It is exciting to see demand recovering and even surpassing pre-pandemic levels, not just for leisure but also for business travel. 

“We are seeing that the technology-driven end-to-end passenger journey is becoming a reality, as the air transport community continues to digitalize its travel processes and industry operations, accelerated by the pandemic. 

“We are also seeing that passengers are increasingly embracing mobile and touchless technologies across the journey, to make their travel as convenient and seamless as possible. 

“The use of IT to help drive and sustain the recovery of air travel is vital today, and it is also critical to the post-pandemic digital journey of tomorrow.”

According to the SITA research travellers say they intend to fly more from 2023 onwards than they did prior to the pandemic.

The firm said it anticipate an average of 2.93 flights per passenger per year for business, and 3.90 for leisure. When weighing up whether to fly or not, the main barriers were found to be costs and, health and geopolitical risks. 

Passengers were also found to be considering sustainability before they choose to fly with around half of passengers said they would value airports and airlines putting in place new IT solutions to support sustainability 

Almost all passengers who responded said they would pay on average 11% of their ticket price to offset carbon emissions from their flight. 

Asked if the aviation industry is doing enough to become more sustainable, more than half of passengers either thought not, or did not know.