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IATA Working To Improve Passenger Experience

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

05 November 2012


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called upon aviation stakeholders to work together to ease the burden of flying on customers and improve industry efficiency through the collaborative development of innovative new industry approaches.

Addressing attendees at the World Passenger Symposium in Abu Dhabi, the head of the IATA, Tony Tyler stated: “Airlines expect to carry some 3 billion passengers in 2013, and that number will double by 2030. Connectivity is a critical component of modern economies. Serving that growing demand will require innovation. We need to understand what consumers expect and what they value enough to pay for. Aviation is [a] team effort, and is a challenge for all industry stakeholders. Travel agents, airports, air navigation service providers, regulators, manufacturers, ground service providers, global distribution system providers and many others must work together to make each passenger journey as safe, secure, seamless and convenient as possible.”

Tyler urged airports, security regulators and equipment providers to join together to identify candidate airports for the roll out of a first trial of the Checkpoint of the Future (CoF) project, in 2014. The CoF project will enable a walk-through security checkpoint experience without stopping, removing items of clothing and liquids, or taking computers out of bags. “CoF will replace today’s one-size-fits-all approach to screening with a model based on risk assessment. By focusing resources where the need is greatest we will make the system more secure and reduce the hassle for our customers,” Tyler said.

Key to achieving the goals of CoF is the use of passenger information that is already required by many governments for purposes of customs and immigration, which could be supplemented with voluntary known-traveler programs, he said. “Sharing information about passengers is a sensitive subject, but our Passenger Survey shows that nearly three out of four air travellers would be willing to share personal information with governments to speed up security screening.”

CoF is moving forward in a staged approach. The initial focus is on making today’s checkpoints more efficient through such steps as introducing dedicated known traveller lanes, which can increase efficiency by up to 30%. Trials of specific CoF components are currently being carried out, Tyler reported.

Meanwhile, another tranche of IATA's work has been the development of its Fast Travel initiative, which aims to simplify travel arrangements for passengers. Tyler explained: “IATA’s Global Passenger Survey reveals that 52% of travellers are eager to print out their own bag tags at home and 77% would prefer to use a self-boarding gate at an airport. Fast Travel responds to these and other consumer demands for more control over their journey."

“Our 2020 vision is for a fast, seamless curb to airside experience that is predictable, repeatable, secure and globally consistent. An important component of that vision is ubiquitous one-click access to wi-fi at airports. This will enable travel services providers to exchange data in real-time with passengers,” Tyler said. "Such interaction will provide a channel to provide passengers with options to add value to their journey as well as facilitating a smoother process when there are delays or other irregularities."

Concluding, Tyler stated:

"In the end, what matters most is that we can deliver a compelling value proposition to our customers... providing value to customers, increasing revenues and reducing costs."

"We need to deliver that value in a seamless passenger experience that is smoother, faster and more secure. It’s a tall order. And it will require a complex orchestra of private and public sector partners to cooperate, guided by a common vision and a willingness to innovate."

"There is still enormous potential to be realized. Working together, we can innovate to deliver even greater value - to our passengers with a better travel experience, and to the global economy with ever more efficient connectivity."

TAGS: aviation

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