Travellers Demand Connectivity, Honeywell-YouGov survey shows
New airport technologies will significantly reduce the stress of travelling, according to 97 per cent of UAE travellers surveyed by Honeywell and YouGov.
The 22-question survey polled 500 UAE-based respondents in January this year. The results were announced at a Honeywell press conference at the Airport Show in Dubai today.
Respondents claimed technologies that reduce the extent of human interaction during airport processes such as check-in, baggage drop and, by extension, in-flight services, are necessary to a positive travelling experience.
The result offer a clear demonstration that e-flying is the future of successful, user-friendly airport operations, Norm Gilsdorf, President of Honeywell’s High Growth Regions for the Middle East, Russia and Central Asia, (pictured left) told reporters at the press conference.
“The results show that travellers want to stay connected at all times. They want their experience to be a seamless one, from home to airport to plane to destination: connectivity is the key to their happiness.
“With advances like the e-gates in Dubai, which a lot of other airports don’t have, and facial recognition technology, that whole direction of scanning will get faster and more efficient. The UAE will be where most of those technological advances are seen first,” he said.
75 per cent of those surveyed said they would be willing to substitute one in-flight extra such as in-flight meals, in-flight entertainment (IFE) and extra legroom, in place of fast and reliable on-board Wi-Fi connection.
An agreement between Inmarsat and Honeywell will deliver GX Aviation – high-speed in-flight broadband connectivity of 50MB per second to the aircraft – at “some stage this year,” Gilsdorf told Arabian Aerospace, though there is no official timeline for delivery.
Emirates’ fleet of A380s currently has the broadband service available, though it is limited and incurs costs for better internet access for economy travellers. Honeywell wouldn’t speculate on when other fleets and aircraft would have the technology available for the common traveller.
Just under half of respondents (47 per cent) said the top investment priority for airlines and airports in the coming years should be improving the speed and efficacy of flights.
On the back of such opinion, over a quarter (27 per cent) of UAE-based travellers said they would seek an alternative airline if they experienced delays, diversions or cancellations.
Such a response shows the privilege afforded by the Middle East’s modern airports and airline fleets, Gilsdorf said: “For other regions, like the US or Europe, where delays are so frequent, it wouldn’t be an option.”