Published on Thursday, March 12, 2015

Mobile boarding passes taking off

Mobile boarding passes are becoming more ubiquitous in the airline industry, and will account for a third of all flights within five years.

Research from Juniper Research says that more than 1.5 billion mobile boarding passes will be used by 2019 compared to 745 million boarding passes delivered on mobile devices this year.

Aviation IT firm SITA says 53% of airlines already issue mobile boarding passes via apps and this figure will potentially rise to 91% by 2017.

Growth is fastest for app-based boarding pass implementation in the US, Asia, and Europe.

Juniper's study says there is a larger proportion of frequent fliers using mobile check-in compared to the leisure market, but the latest near field communication (NFC) technology is being adopted at a slow pace.

Most airline mobile apps produce boarding passes as bar codes.

"The ultimate position that NFC can reach in the airline industry is 'the extinction of the boarding pass' whereby boarding pass, baggage tickets, and identity information can be stored on the phone and simply accessed using NFC readers," said Juniper researcher Nitin Bhas.

"However, this transition will not only be delayed by the success of bar codes but, there is the need to gain agreement and investment from airlines and airports around the world."

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