A third of airline boarding passes will turn to mobile by 2019

Over 1.5 billion boarding passes will be delivered via mobile by 2019, a new research from analysts Juniper Research has shown.

In comparison, approximately 745 million boarding passes are estimated to be delivered this year.

This means that mobile boarding passes will represent one in three of the total passes issued by airlines at the end of 2019.

The study notes that mobile boarding passes are increasingly being used by frequent flyers, but less used by leisure passengers who are not as familiar with the technology. According to SITA, the airline IT specialist, 53 per cent of airlines have already implemented mobile boarding passes via apps, which is expected to rise to 91 per cent by 2017.

The new research, 'Mobile & Online Ticketing: Transport, Events & NFC 2015-2019' found that the majority of airlines have implemented boarding passes via apps, and the industry is witnessing rapid adoption in markets such as the US, Far East and Europe. Some of the early adopting airlines are recording double-digit growth for boarding passes delivered via mobile.

However, the success of mobile barcode boarding pass adoption has meant that the transition to NFC will be delayed.

“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.