Airlines have recorded a tremendous growth in terms of boarding passes delivered via mobile, but we are just witnessing the start of the mobile revolution. In numbers, this means that while this year the number of boarding passes delivered by mobile will hit 745 million, by 2019 it will reach 1.5 billion, accounting for a third of all boarding passes.
The Juniper Research report entitled “Mobile & Online Ticketing: Transport, Events & NFC 2015-2019” notes that mobile boarding passes are preferred by frequent flyers and less used by leisure passengers, who may be less likely to be familiar with the latest technology. However, it is important to note that, according airline IT specialist company SITA, the majority of airlines have already implemented mobile boarding passes through apps.
“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. However, this transition will not only be delayed by the success of barcode but there is the need to gain agreement and investment from airlines and airports around the world,” noted research author Nitin Bhas.
When Apple decided to use an NFC chip with the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and Apple Watch, it placed a bet on the future. Despite the “future is now” messages coming from hardcore NFC believers, according to Juniper, the transition to NFC has been delayed because of the successful deployment of mobile boarding passes that use barcodes.