Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) has launched a mobile application to provide travellers with up-to-date flight and terminal information, as well as information unique to each airport such as detailed airport maps with shop and restaurant details. Acsa group manager for customer care Claudia Ramsden says the idea is to connect passengers to all information available at whichever airport they happen to be at. The Airports app was developed in partnership with the Digital Solutions Group. Its development was based on research that showed that 39% of Acsa customers are tech-savvy and between the ages of 16 and 35. Acsa serves about 35m passengers a year. CEO Tebogo Mekgoe says the research shows that most airport users want more self-service options. “This app is a way of using technology to respond to passenger requests.” ACSA-app-280The Airports app is available for iOS, Android and older BlackBerry phones.
The app was piloted by students and faculty from the computer science and engineering departments at the University of Johannesburg. The app features South Africa’s major airports, including the main airports in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, East London and Kimberley. Ramsden says that the app is not only targeted at passengers, but can also be used by other people who have to visit the airports. The app was designed to “plug into” the information systems at the various airports and updated flight details appear in the app no more than two minutes later.
It allows users to find detailed flight and boarding gate information as well as comprehensive details on each airport’s facilities. Users can connect directly with airlines and car rental agencies, while travel directions to each of the airports is handled by a route mapper that highlights traffic problems. Parking information and weather details are also provided. Ramsden says that this is the first phase of the Airports app. “With phase two, we’d like to push messages and flight alerts to travellers,” she says. For now, flight details need to be refreshed manually. Acsa also plans to include a geo-location feature in a future release to allow passengers to find their car easily after returning from a trip. — (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media
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