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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Self-Service: Airlines Save Big

Self Service Promises Big Savings For Airlines

Airlines are looking to realize billions of dollars worth of savings by investing heavily in self-service check-in technology, according to SITA, the air transport industry IT services group.

The number of airline passengers using check-in kiosks will rise from 27 percent in 2006 to 38 percent by the end of 2007, according to SITA's 8th Annual Airline IT Trends Survey carried out in conjunction with Airline Business magazine.

The survey also revealed that nearly 30 percent of airline tickets worldwide are currently sold online, up from 20 percent in 2005.

"The speed at which the industry is moving towards a self-service passenger model is clearly borne out by the technology investment priorities of airlines," Francesco Violante, SITA's CEO, says in a statement. "Eighty percent of airlines responding to the survey see projects with proven payback and cost savings, such as online booking, bar-coded boarding passes and self-service check-in, as their highest priority, up from 50 percent last year."

British Airways (BA) converted all its check-in for UK domestic flights to self-service in April 2006, according to a company statement. The airline is installing 96 check-in kiosks at Terminal 5, its new London-Heathrow terminal, which is currently under construction.

BA says it anticipates that 80 per cent of customers departing from Heathrow will check in online via the airline's website,, or use a self-service check-in kiosk. "Self-service check-in, both online and at airport kiosks, has been very well received by our customers," Willie Walsh, British Airways' chief executive, says in a statement.

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