China’s air travel industry is investing heavily in AI technology. According to SITA’s latest 2019 China IT Insights report, 88 percent of the country’s airlines and airports plan to have some form of AI program in the development or deployment phase by 2022, with a heavy focus on chatbots and virtual assistants.
Roughly half (43 percent) of Chinese airlines already offer such a service. The continued expansion of such programs will help meet the rising demand within the country, where 64 percent of passengers have expressed an interest in digital travel assistants.
“China’s airlines and airports have a strong record in embracing technology and automation to drive efficient operations and high levels of passenger services,” SITA China General Manager and VP May Zhou. “Now they are moving to the next level where they will harness artificial intelligence to deliver more services, faster and to more people.”
Biometric technology will be integral to those plans. At the moment, only 27 percent of the country’s airports have biometric self-boarding gates, but that number is expected to climb to 66 percent in the next three years. The increased use of biometric screening will automate check-in procedures and facilitate the flow of people through the airport.
The findings are in keeping with the latest international trends, with a previous SITA report noting that travelers tend to be happier when using self check-in technology.
“The adoption of self-service by passengers across China has been very encouraging for airlines and airports,” said Zhou. “We see many in the industry who are now ready and planning to add biometrics to bring self-service to the next level.”
Chinese airlines will continue to improve their mobile services to provide a more personal and more convenient air travel experience. They will also invest in blockchain tech to enable more secure mobile payments.
The China IT Insights report echoes a recent SITA report that detailed the air industry’s growing investment in IT, which includes biometric tech that reduces wait times and improves customer satisfaction.
December 2, 2019 – by Eric Weiss