Airline IT Trends Survey 2012 – Key facts and figures

This week I wanted to share a few of the interesting facts and figures found of the executive summary of the Airline IT Trends Survey 2012.

Airlines are more guarded about their outlook for 2013, taking into account a significant economic downside risk. Almost half of the airlines surveyed are still expecting their absolute IT spend to rise. However, the percentage of airlines anticipating growth in IT spending has decreased over the last three years.

For a second consecutive year, mobile services for passengers tops the list of investment programs for airlines, with six out of ten planning major investments in the next three years.

Airlines are continuing to expand their ticket distribution through direct channels. Emerging sales channels such as mobile and social media will have a significant impact on future growth in direct sales.

In the past, selling on an airline’s website has been crucial to driving the transition to direct distribution. Although sales through airline websites will continue to see growth, selling via smart phones is set to become an almost equally important sales channel in the future.

Nine out of ten airlines are planning to sell tickets via mobile phones by 2015, establishing mobile as a mainstream distribution channel for airline tickets. Growing from zero just a few years ago, mobile phones as a distribution channel are expected to generate significant growth in years to come.

Kiosks will continue to play a significant role, with ¾ of airlines increasing the number of check-in kiosks. When it comes to new functionality, however, opinions are split. About half of the respondents do not plan to deploy kiosks for flight transfer or lost baggage reporting. Only 39% of airlines believe kiosks will remain one of the dominant channels to process passengers in the future, highlighting that mobile phones and websites are set to play a more important role for passenger operations in the long-term.

Nine out of ten airlines plan to engage with passengers through mobiles by 2015, and the adoption of new services provided on mobile phones is speeding up. Airlines believe that smart phones can support most, if not all, customer facing interactions including customer service, commerce, in-flight entertainment and passenger processing.

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