Self-service technology in Saudi airports expected to surge; report

SITA reveals mobile self-services will increase in 2017 as more than 96% of all Saudi travellers carry one or more smartphones

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Self-service technology in Saudi airports expected to surge; report SITA: More than 70% of passengers would like to receive notifications regarding their baggage while 71% would like to receive flight updates. (Getty Images)
By  Aasha Bodhani Published  December 22, 2016

A survey by air transport provider SITA highlighted that the use of self-service technology is expected to surge in 2017 as airline passengers opt for technology rather than face-to-face interactions at the airport.

The survey, 2016 Passenger IT Trends, revealed that mobile self-service usage will impact the airport journey process in 2017, as the survey revealed 20% of respondents indicated they would use their mobile for checking-in and 24% for self-boarding.

Furthermore, more than 70% of passengers would like to receive notifications regarding their baggage while 71% would like to receive flight updates.

While 79% of Saudi travellers were happy with their overall journey, far fewer experienced positive emotions at key steps such as security (69%), passport control (68%) and baggage collection (64%). These areas also corresponded with steps in the journey where no self-service options were available. Yet 88% of airline passengers experienced positive emotions when booking their flights - a step where 87% of travellers used self-service technology.

Hani El-Assaad, SITA president, Middle East, India and Africa said: "Passengers prefer self-service technology as it gives them more control during their journey while helping airports improve the flow of passengers through their facilities. Once passengers start using self-service options they would rather switch to another technology than go back to a face-to-face interaction."

"There is real opportunity for Saudi airports to provide more self-service options, particularly at traditional pain points such as baggage, security and passport control. The benefits of self-service technology at these keys steps in the airport journey can significantly improve passenger satisfaction while helping airports and airlines manage more passengers, particularly during busy periods such as Hajj," added El-Assaad.

Saudi Arabia's General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) is expanding and upgrading all 26 airports it operates and the airports are expected to have a combined capacity to handle over 100 million travellers by 2020.  

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