More data the key to airports improving the passenger experience

posted on 21st June 2018 by Justin Burns
More data the key to airports improving the passenger experience

Airlines hold all the passenger data and for airports to change the passenger experience they need access to it, delegates heard yesterday at ACI Europe/World General Assembly in Brussels.

In the fifth working session ‘The Airport brand and digital transformation: Where does the passenger journey begin and end?’- SITA’s chief technology officer, Jim Peters said there needs to be a shift and more data has to be shared with airports.

“The airlines hold all the passenger data and the airport does not have any,” he said. “There has been some good attempts by airports to develop apps, but the numbers of app downloads they get is still in the 10,000s.”

Peters said compare this to most airlines who get their apps downloaded by millions of people and they dominate the app world, which gives them greater access to data and to improve the passenger experience.

“The ones that are successful are where the stakeholders work together and they make it more accessible. Schiphol is best, but they have been working with KLM on it to develop it,” he said.

Amadeus IT Group global head of strategy, Iyad Hindiyeh said airports are “nowhere to be seen” in the passenger journey experience prior to them arriving at the terminal.

“A passenger journey does not start when they get in the taxi to the airport and it starts months before they arrive at the airport,” he said. “The airport needs to put an offer to passenger as they plan their travel and before they buy their tickets and this is a big question.”

“Through this shared use of data from the passenger, we can offer the customers the same experience from airport to airport throughout destinations and their entire journey. There is the potential to do this,” Hindiyeh said.

“Operational processes in airlines and airports need to be adapted and the types of technology that are needed are available today.”

Hindiyeh also questioned whether most airports are ready for digitalisation and said first they need to look at the “underlying infrastructure and the complexities”.

“We need look at if our airports ready to take to take on the technology that is available to improve operational efficiency and to enhance the customer experience,” he said.

The panel cited Singapore Changi Airport has an airport providing a high level of customer experience and said they work from the “bottom up” to make sure passengers are looked after from the natural areas, easy access for layovers in the city, good quality toilets, games and other things to make it better for passengers.

Peters felt that airports need to experiment with different technology and SITA has a vision for the future of the passenger experience. “There will be a time when the passenger leaves the baggage at a drop-off point and then they will not see it again until they get to the destination and they will use biometrics throughout the entire airport process,” he said.

The panel all agreed that airports need to bring the passenger into the travelling experience before they arrive at the terminals.

“Airport experiences start at the terminal, but why not take the airports to the passengers and start it earlier at home,” Hindiyeh said. “That would enhance the experience for passengers’,” he added.