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One in Three Boarding Passes Will be Mobile
Expect to see a lot more people holding out their smartphones to have boarding passes scanned as they board a plane. According to new market research from Juniper Research, more than 1.5 billion airline boarding passes will be delivered via mobile networks and devices by 2019. That would mean one in every three airline boarding passes would be delivered via mobile.
Frequent flyers are increasingly making use of mobile boarding passes, Juniper notes. Usage is less common among "leisure passengers" who are less likely to be familiar with the technology, researchers said.
According to airline IT specialist SITA, 53 percent of airlines have already put mobile boarding pass technology into effect, including via apps. That's expected to rise to 91 percent by 2017.
In producing its "Mobile & Online Ticketing: Transport, Events & NFC 2015-2019," Juniper found that most airlines have launched mobile boarding pass apps. The industry is seeing rapid adoption of the technology in markets such as the U.S., Far East and Europe, Juniper notes, with some early adopters experiencing double-digit growth in mobile boarding pass app usage.
Rapid uptake of mobile barcode boarding pass technology by airlines will result in a delay in their adoption of near-field communications (NFC) technology, however, according to Juniper.
"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," research report author Nitin Bhas elaborated. "However, this transition will not only be delayed by the success of bar-code but there is the need to gain agreement and investment from airlines and airports around the world."
More broadly across the transportation sector, mobile ticketing transaction volumes will be highest in the metro/bus sector because of the relative frequency of consumer purchases, Juniper says.
For mobile network operators, the news about smartphone boarding pass adoption is one more example of how much customers rely on mobile technology and how important it is to ensure that customers can access the network when and where they need it.