Mobile phone technology to benefit Nigeria travel industry

In Nigeria, mobile phone technology could be a help in hand to the aviation and travel industry. It could be a new way of obtaining flight schedules, saving time and money.

Flying has become a common form of travel. In fact, most business and leisure travellers, students and other people fly all over the world and country for meetings, vacation, etc. Flying is part of life, and clearly a great way to travel when you want to get somewhere quickly, yet there are still problems with delayed flights, airport congestion, bad weather conditions, and more.

To minimise the pains travellers are subjected to, mobile telephony through the check of accurate flight schedule has come to the rescue in Nigeria. GPS-enabled handsets could also be used to track passengers in airports, with the potential to save airlines $600 million by cutting flight delays, with messages sent to wayward passengers to move them to gates more efficiently.

While many airlines are going mobile to accommodate the growing trend of tech-savvy consumers and are expanding their mobile marketing strategy to retain customer loyalty, individuals are equally breaking new grounds to make air travel seamless.

Airlines have used mobile applications and paperless boarding passes to not only sell tickets and give travellers an expedited check-in process, but to also make sure they have all the tools they need while on the go.

But one area that has been neglected until now in Nigeria is the deployment of the device as a more convenient tool for checking real time flight schedules.
For the busy business executive, frequent and intending travellers, the best option is via the mobile phone with the painless effort of just sending a text message from any of the telecommunications service providers to 33057.

For clarity, Text2Fly is an SMS-based flight scheduling services for travellers on local routes in Nigeria.

All the prospective traveller has to do is to send a request with locations, time and date of travel to a short code – 33057. An SMS response is sent detailing all the flights information instantly.

Immediately after the information is sent to number 33057, response in form of a text message appears on your mobile phone, detailing all the flight schedules of all Nigeria’s domestic airlines.

This innovation invariably eliminates the cumbersomeness of either sending somebody to the airports to get airlines’ flight schedule or relying on newspapers’ flight schedules that are never always accurate.

Already, Aero, DANA, Air Nigeria, IRS, and Arik have given their support to the initiator of the Text2Fly project, Mr. Timi Agama, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Anthill Digital Limited.

Speaking at the launch of the project in Lagos recently, Business Head, DANA Air, Bharat Vaswani who was at the launch with the managing director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Richard Aisuebeolgun said the project is very helpful for airlines, adding that all the passenger needs to do while sitting in his hotel room, or in his car is just to send a text and get all the flight schedule for a particular airline or a particular day.

Vaswani equally explained that it saves the prospective traveller hassles to go on line or call a call centre, but just sending a simple text message, which he said makes it easier for them, adding that, “as an airline, it works for us also.”

Recalling how the initiative started, Agama said he had picked up a traveller’s boarding details at the Port-Harcourt Airport few years ago, stressing that efforts to track down the owner of the document through the telephone numbers written on the document proved abortive, due to circumstances he could not explain.

He equally stated that the difficulties in obtaining flight schedule from airlines and some newspapers were not reliable; the need informed him to go into partnership with the airlines to make their flight schedules available and promise that the schedules will not be altered for a certain period of time.

His words, “How is Text2tofly better than going on line? It saves time, rather than many minutes it will take you to check on line, as most of you can testify to the slow of our Internet services. Again, it gives you accurate flight schedule.”
Speaking in the same vein, Aisuebeogun said Nigeria needs young men like Agama to break the storm and create wealth.

According to the FAAN chief, “He has shown the entrepreneurial skills; he is creating convenience for the traveling public. What he is doing will even help me to do my work better”, stressing that it is a welcome business enterprise.

Aisuebeogun recalled that when Agama sought his opinion about the project few years ago, he said he instantly encouraged him on his idea, which he said would help millions of travellers traveling within the country and who needs to be abreast of flight schedule that would also help them to plan their trips.

“We at FAAN are giving him 100 per cent support. Those airlines over time will come to appreciate the essence of the technology,” Aisuebeogun added.

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