Belfast City Airport has kickstarted a six-figure, five-year, digital transformation programme to enhance operations and future-proof the airport for sustainable growth.
The first phase of the innovative programme, accelerated by support from Tourism Northern Ireland’s ‘Embrace a Giant Spirit Digital Welcome’ fund, has already successfully delivered an Amazon Alexa skill, implemented by AirChat, an omnichannel, automated customer service tool, and installed the first of a 20-screen digital way-finding portfolio in the terminal building.
The airport is the first in Northern Ireland to harness voice search functionality and implement a 24/7 multi-channel customer service tool, allowing passengers greater choice and flexibility in how, when, and where they receive their travel updates.
“Like any modern business, digital transformation is vital to Belfast City Airport, not only for effective operations on a day-t0-day basis now, but also in future-proofing the organisation for sustainable growth,” said Brian Roche, Director of IT at Belfast City Airport.
“The creation and implementation of these digital platforms will not only benefit our inbound and outbound customers greatly and provide another layer of excellent customer service and assistance, but also proves our commitment to continually providing an airport experience that exceeds the expectations of our passengers,” Roche continued.
As one of the world’s most popular voice-controlled virtual assistants, Amazon Alexa tackles the important issue of digital accessibility by acting as an invaluable tool for those with visual impairments or physical, communicational, or cognitive disabilities.
The AirChat platform allows users to register for real-time, pre-departure flight updates which are then sent directly to their device via Facebook, Twitter, What’s App and webchat, but also unlocks the opportunity for the airport to communicate with passengers even before they arrive on-site or after they have completed their journey.
Commenting on the airport’s digital developments, Roche added: “Our passengers are at the heart of everything we do and convenience for our passengers is the catalyst behind our investment in these digital solutions, and those to come later down the line in the roll-out of our complete business transformation strategy.
“We are absolutely thrilled that Tourism NI recognised the same opportunities we identified to further enhance the passenger experience and welcome at Belfast City Airport and pledged its support to helping us develop our vision.”
And in recognition of the role that Belfast City Airport plays as a main gateway to Northern Ireland, Dave Vincent, Chief Digital Officer at Tourism NI added: “Already a central transport hub that offers a quick, safe, convenient transit, the airport’s dedication to further enhancing the passenger welcome through digital innovation is to be applauded.”
The customer-facing elements of Belfast City’s digital transformation follow the launch of the airport’s new website and will help solidify its position as UK and Ireland’s most convenient airport, with the highest Civil Aviation Authority ranking for accessibility services.
Header photo: Dave Vincent, Chief Digital Officer at Tourism Northern Ireland (left), joins Belfast City Airport’s Director of Information Technology, Brian Roche (right), to launch six-figure, five-year, digital transformation programme.