Mobile phones could reduce airline delays

Within the next 5 years, airlines could start using passengers' mobile phones to drastically cut delays and save themselves millions.

Research from airline IT provider SITA and Cambridge University claims that using passenger mobile phones could have the potential to save the airline industry £300m a year in dealing with and reducing flight delays.

In particular, mobiles could be used to track passengers, or inform them of gate changes, and therefore reduce the number of flights delayed by tardy travellers.

And mobile phones could also store boarding passes, baggage tracking information and payment data, "making travel truly paperless and location independent", says the research.

And they could even be used to store visa and biometric information.

Jim Peters, chief technology officer at SITA, says: "Our research shows that mobile services will be available to all travellers worldwide over the next five years".

"In fact, by the end of 2010, 67% of airlines plan to offer mobile check-in. By then, 82% of airlines also plan to offer notification services on mobiles."