E-ticketing in Public Transport

Airlines industry in Somalia

Somalia is a country that has been labeled a warzone by the international community (Business Insider, 2017). The country’s capital city, Mogadishu, has been unable to make a notable improvement in terms of security over the years. However, with the common reports of insecurity in the country, the airline business is running smoothly with the “unofficial Somalia national carrier“, Jubba Airways, which is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya dominating the skies of Somaliland (Jacobs, 2013). There were two major competitors in the Somalia market, which are Daallo Airlines and Jubba Airways. However, the entry of international carriers like Ethiopian Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and others into the Somali airspace forced these two competitors to merge to face the new entrants. Turkish Airlines now has a daily flight to Mogadishu, while Ethiopian Airlines flies to the self-proclaimed Somaliland state in the northern parts of Somalia called Hargeisa (Reuters, 2015). There are also other airlines flying to Mogadishu, including the Kenya-based Africa Express and Uganda Airlines (AMISOM, 2019).  The reports by the African Union Mission in Somalia showing improved security have been attributed to this market growth. This is because international airlines are gaining confidence as the security of the skies and the airports in Somaliland are being assured (Xinhua, 2018). There have been more talks between Mogadishu international airport with the international community to raise confidence and improve the market through the entrance of more international flights.

 StB and its effects on the industry

Simplifying the Business (StB) program ran between 2004 and 2017. It was implemented with the main aim of improving the passenger experience during flights through the introduction of innovative solutions. This program involved stakeholders across the airline industry in the commitment to transforming business processes and practices to deliver value to the industry. It focused on bridging the gaps in passenger experience in the aviation industry (IATA, 2013). This was meant to ensure that all airlines remain customer-centric in their operations. This program was coordinated and run by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Over the years, the focus of the program has been improving customer experience. However, the scope has been expanding year after year. It involved providing easier flight booking services, payment, and personalization of services, among others. This was achieved through the automation of airlines and airports across the world to reduce service turnaround time and consumer-friendliness. This program has resulted in numerous innovations disrupting the industry (Vasconcellos, DaCosta, & Balassiano, 2007). Among such innovations are online bookings and payments, autonomous vehicles in the airport, automated baggage handling, a personalized passenger traveling services, among others. The investment in such technologies has consequently reduced errors in timing and booking, congested airports and improved the consumer experience to a notable level (IATA, 2017). This affects the industry however do not represent the desired achievements, and therefore, the program needs to do more to ensure that resources are saved in the long-run through the usage of more innovative customer experience projects.

The impact of technology on airlines

Airlines are continuously looking for new ways of adapting to the changes that are happening in the industry.  They are researching new methods of ensuring that their operations are not overtaken by the ever-changing technological world. However, some regions in the world are lagging behind the technological advancements in not only the airline industry but also other industries (Galang, 2012). Introduction of the internet of things (IoT) technology has significantly helped airlines simplify their operations. This is in the maintenance and safety of crafts as this technology provides the airlines with information on the performance of specific parts of an aircraft that is availed in real-time, allowing the engineers and maintenance staff to quickly identify dysfunctions and diagnose the planes without necessarily disabling them. This has led to more time saved on maintenance and easy monitoring of aircraft performance while in the air in real-time (Drummond, 2015). Therefore, technology has positively impacted airlines in reducing accidents and time spent on maintenance.  The technologies in the communication and information areas have also impacted heavily the industry and particularly the airlines. There has been the introduction of online ticketing services by the airlines as well as automated customer care services, which have brought about efficiency by the airlines in terms of the time taken to serve the customers and the resources needed for the same (Struwig & Andersen, 2014).  The information communication technology has also helped airlines to gather business intelligence data for planning and tracking the progress of the business over time (Mezghani, 2008).

 The impact of technology on passengers

Technology has greatly impacted the way passengers operate to conduct their activities concerning travel by planes. The introduction of safe technologies in the aviation industry has significantly reduced accidents. This has consequently improved the confidence of the passengers and therefore led to more demand for flight services over other means of transport.  The passengers are also getting accurate automated assistance through customer service that uses artificial intelligence. This has helped the passengers to operate without necessarily encountering service staff who may be subjective in their service delivery rather than an objective like the automated systems. The passengers have also been saved on time due to the introduction of biometric boarding systems. This has dealt well with the problem of congestion and wastage of time at the airport while boarding due to the various checks conducted to verify the ticket owners. Online ticketing (e-ticketing) technology has also been a major technology that has been adopted by most the airlines across the world. This technology has saved passengers the long process of having to visit a booking office to book for travel tickets. Consequently, it has saved them time, especially busy travelers. With this technology, passengers can process their e-tickets anytime and anywhere, provided that they have a connection to the internet. Internet penetration has been a major boost to the adoption of this technology by passengers (Asante & Achiaa, 2018). Therefore it can be stated that technology has heavily impacted passengers’ experience concerning air transport services.

 Past studies conducted on e-ticketing in Africa

In Africa, e-ticketing has been a major technological advancement in the last decade. However, various factors have led to slower adoption of such technologies across the continent. Several studies have been done in the past on e-ticketing in Africa. A study was done in Nigeria to identify the potential of e-businesses that form e-ticketing.  The finding showed that telecommunication companies had the opportunities and potential to drive growth and adoption of e-business through their customers (K & T., 2007). Another study in Tunisia revealed a slow uptake of this technology. The study suggests that customer trust is very important for the population of Tunisia to embrace this technology  (Allagui & Mimoun, 2010). Another study was carried out in sub-Saharan Africa to identify the ability of the region to adopt an integrated ticketing system (ITS). It revealed that the integrated ticketing system brought solutions to the public transport systems in the region. Further, the study suggested the need to have more experiments done to affirm a total roll-out of that technology (M.J., Andersen, & Zeeman, 2013). Galang et al conducted a study in Africa on the capacity and adoption of technology in transport by the governments. It led to the discovery of the low adoption of such technologies due to the inability of the governments to invest in them. It was suggested that governments in the African region should spearhead the adoption of such technologies by creating an enabling environment for the private sector and investing in such technologies  (Galang, 2012).

References

  • Allagui, A., & Mimoun, M. S. (2010). E-business in the 21st century: realities, challenges, and outlook. Tunis: Hackensack, NJ: World Scientific, 2010.
  • AMISOM. (2019, August 29). Uganda Airlines joins a growing list of international airlines in Somalia. Retrieved June 4, 2020, from African Union Mission in Somalia: https://amisom-au.org/2019/08/uganda-airlines-join-growing-list-of-international-airlines-into-somalia/_index.html_gzip
  • Asante, K., & Achiaa, A. K. (2018). Determinants of consumer adoption of online air ticketing in Ghana. Management Science Letters 8 (2018), 1215–1222.
  • Business Insider. (2017, April 6). Somalia’s new president declared the country a war zone. Retrieved June 4, 2020, from Business Insider: https://www.google.com/amp/s/wwwbusinessinsider.com/ap-somalia-leader-declares-country-a-war-zone-replaces-chiefs-2017-4%3famp
  • Drummond, M. (2015, July 23). The Impact of Emerging Technologies on Airline Service Delivery. Retrieved July 5, 2020, from Accelya: https://www.google.com/amp/s/w3.accelya.com/blog/the-impact-of-emerging-technologies-on-airline-service-delivery%3fhs_amp+true
  • Galang, R. M. (2012). Government efficiency and international technology adoption: The spread of electronic ticketing among airlines. Journal of International Business Studies Vol. 43, No. 7, 631-654.
  • IATA. (2013). Transformation in progress and explorations underway. Simplifying the Business (StB), pp. 1-16.
  • IATA. (2017). Innovation and digital are the key StB drivers for enhancing customer experience. Simplifying the Business, pp. 1-36.
  • Jacobs, R. (2013, July 14). Why Does a Country With Few Roads Have a Growing Airline Industry? Retrieved July 4, 2020, from The Atlantic: https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theatlantic.com/amp/article/277760/
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  • Mezghani, M. (2008). Study on Electronic Ticketing in Public Transport. London: European Metropolitan Transport Authorities.
  • Reuters. (2015, February 17). Regional airlines merge as Somali airspace draws competition. Retrieved July 4, 2020, from Reuters: https://www.google.com/amp/s/mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSL5N0VN2ZF20150217
  • Struwig, C. B., & Andersen, S. J. (2014). Performance Measurement Trends in the implementation of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) within the South African Transportation Environment. The 1st International Conference on the UseUse of Mobile ICT in Africa (pp. 98-103). Stellenbosch: Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
  • Vasconcellos, S. C., DaCosta, F. F., & Balassiano, R. (2007). Electronic ticketing system: implementation process. International Conference on Competition and ownership in land passenger transport, 10th. (pp. 125-138). Hamilton Island, Queensland, Australia: University of Sydney.
  • Xinhua. (2018, December 19). More foreign airlines to launch flights to Somalia amid improved security: Official. Retrieved July 4, 2020, from Xinhuanet: https://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-12/19/c_137683290.htm