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Airline passengers not using mobile services

Dubai: Airline passengers in the Middle East are reluctant to use mobile services provided by carriers that streamline passenger experience, an aviation information technology executive told Gulf News.

Paul Murphy, Vice-President SITA for Sub Sahara Africa, Bahrain, UAE, and Kuwait, said passengers in the Middle East have been slow to take up purchasing, booking, check-in and other services available on their mobile.

SITA is a global air transport communications and technology company that works with airlines, airports, and other industry stakeholders.

Murphy said majority of passengers in the Middle East are put off by the use of mobile phones because of the content. He said that it was up to the airports and airlines to create more content that will encourage usage.

Greater usage of mobile services is likely to increase efficiency and productivity for airlines and airports in the region by streamlining unavoidable nuisances like lining up to check in at the airport.

Murphy said SITA was working with governments in the region to see how passenger flows through airports could be improved. While the majority of traffic in-and-out of the hub airports in the region is transiting passengers, the challenge was the peak time arrivals and departures.

Abu Dhabi flagship carrier Etihad is starting to incorporate SITA technology to streamline its own in-house procedures with members of its cabin crew management now using tablet devices with SITA technology, Murphy said.

He said the tablets would remove staff dependence on paper documents while improving customer experience by providing a more enhanced, efficient service.

Demand for SITA’s aviation technology in the Middle East is driven by the core Gulf aviation giants, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, and their respective hubs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Doha.

Murphy said the growth in infrastructure and fleet sizes in the region presented a challenge with demand for information technology increasing.

He said that the introduction of e-enabled aircraft, such as the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787, which enabled airplanes to wirelessly transmit data, making it more digital and more automated, would have a huge impact on the aviation sector.

Murphy said revenue out of the Middle East for SITA was growing at double digits per annum. While the company is still based out of its traditional headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon it has expanded in recent years with regional offices including one in Dubai.