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Gordon Young
Editor-in-chief at The Drum

British Airways introduces Beacons at Heathrow Airport

British Airways has rolled out beacon technology in Heathrow Terminal 5 and Terminal 3 following a “small scale” trial at its head office – making it the first UK airline to embrace the technology.

Last month, head of and mobile Kevin McQuillan revealed to The Drum that BA had identified an “incredible opportunity” with beacons as it looks to harness the relationship with consumers from the purchase point through to taking the flight.

From October, customers using BA’s updated iPhone app will receive ‘push notifications’ when they arrive at Heathrow airport informing them when their gate is open and when the aircraft is boarding.

A main barrier to beacon adoption has been the process of trying to connect to WiFi, but this scheme will see customers receive a personalised welcome pop up message and WiFi password when they enter the airport lounge.

Drew Crawley, British Airways’ chief commercial officer, echoed comments previously made by McQuillan – stressing that the technology would “add value” to the customer experience.

“The potential to optimise mobile and digital technology is endless, but requires a careful balance of adding value without bombarding customers," he stated.

Last year, American Airline's head of mobile Philip Easter also revealed it would be working with BA in order to “bridge beacons”.

The iPhone app was relaunched in May this year and has registered over four million downloads.

Purchasing revenue via the app has also doubled since the relaunch and overall, more than half of’s business now goes through smartphone and tablet devices.

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