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NEWS Last modified on May 7, 2012

Europe's airports embrace social media to build relations with passengers

Europe’s airports are embracing social media to forge stronger relationships with their passengers, according to new research by ACI Europe.

Europe’s airports are embracing social media to forge stronger relationships with their passengers, according to new research by ACI Europe.

Its ‘Digital Report 2012’ reveals that 77% of passengers in Europe now pass through an airport that is active on social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter.

It found that airports in Central Europe are particularly proactive when it comes to social media, usage increasing by a whopping 800% in the last 12 months.

According to the report, a third of Europe’s airports either have or are currently developing a Smartphone ‘app’ to put more information at the passenger’s fingertips, including different types of dynamic, ‘live’ information alongside more standard static information usually found on websites.

The report states that 56% of airports with more than 10 million passengers a year have an ‘App’ in development.

And it reveals that around 98.7% of Europe’s airports currently offer Internet access to their passengers, over half of which offer some form of free Internet access.

The top five ways airports are using social media were identified as being corporate communications; crisis communications; customer service; informal relationship building; and commercial promotion.

Exactly how individual airports choose to deploy their own social media efforts reflects their specific market positions and wider strategies.

ACI Europe’s director general, Olivier Jankovec, says: “These latest key figures reflect just how much more direct the relationship between the airport and the passenger has become.

“Europe’s airports are making a wide variety of information immediately available on a smartphone or similar device, empowering passengers to make their experience of the airport as informed and hassle-free as possible.

“The diverse ways that airports are engaging with passengers and developing joint-communications with airlines are a clear demonstration of how they are investing in tech to boost their competitive positions.”

• Earlier this year, Warsaw Chopin Airport announced that its Twitter page had clocked up over 11,000 followers, making it one of the most popular airport profiles in the world.

Poland's capital city gateway uses tweets, in English and Polish, to communicate with passengers and as a key marketing and promotional tool.

"It is a very convenient communication channel. We inform passengers about what's going on at the airport, and they post their comments and ideas. And all this in the concise, vivid form of 140 characters," said Radosław Żuk, director of Chopin Airport's PR Bureau.

The airport's tweets include updates on delayed and cancelled flights, tips for travellers, news and special offers in duty-free shops, as well as tourist information about Warsaw and Poland.

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