Global online air bookings reach 560 million

Over a quarter of all global airfares are booked online – a rise of 40% on the previous year – a survey carried out by air industry IT company Sita has revealed.

The increase from 20% to 28% brings the number of estimated online bookings to 560 million, out of a total of 2 billion.

Sita’s Passenger Self-Service Survey interviewed passengers at London Heathrow, Atlanta and Hong Kong airports last month and also found that 30% of passengers used kiosk check-in facilities regularly, 7% higher than the global average.

Despite the high number of passengers utilising various self-service tools – including online booking – only 7% had made the switch to online check-in facilities.

Sita chief executive Francesco Violante said, “The online travel revolution has come a long way since SITA developed the first ever internet booking engine ten years ago.

“Enabling passengers to plan their own trips on the web is now fundamental to the air transport industry and on-line booking is becoming the norm.

A separate IT Trends Survey found that self-service kiosks have become popular in areas where they have been introduced, with North America (39%) leading the way and Europe (25%), Asia-Pacific (18%) and Africa (7%) following behind.

Violante added: “It is not surprising to see from our Passenger Self-Service Survey that 52% of passengers in three of the world’s busiest airports associate short queues with having a pleasant trip.

“One reasonable conclusion we can draw from these survey findings is that the successful deployment of self-service tools such as kiosks and web check-in, can have an impact on airline customer satisfaction.”

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