Dublin Airport Gives Flight Information a Voice

Dublin Airport Authority announced today that it recently implemented a fully automated, speech-based flight information system to reduce contact center overload.

The new system, from Sydney, Australia-based VeCommerce, is embedded within DAA's existing contact center and back-office systems, and helps users receive flight information. It includes VeCommerce’s VeQuery solution, which allows customers to naturally speak to the automated system to establish real-time flight arrival and departure times; and VeDialler,, an Automated Attendant application that allows incoming calls to be distributed directly to members of staff simply by saying their name or extension number. The system was

Because calls placed into the airport during the busiest times left agents inundated with calls, DAA said it needed a solution that would free up agents to answer only the most crucial calls.

"The main problem was the high demand for information during peak times. The call center operatives coped well during the quieter times, but during the busy times, such as early morning, late afternoon and holiday periods, the center was simply swamped with calls," says Declan McCarthy, DAA’s head of passenger operations. "Expanding capacity by adding more operators did not make sense, as the additional operators would be fully utilized for only part of the time. What was needed was a two-tier solution whereby callers who needed simple flight information such as arrivals and departures could be answered automatically, freeing up our agents for more complex enquires."

DAA also plans to open a second terminal in 2009, which it says will further increase call traffic. The airport currently serves 21 million passengers annually.

The airport estimates that for every million calls placed into the VeCommerce system, call center agents can spend an average of 53 seconds more per individual customer inquiry.

DAA chose VeCommerce because it said speech recognition worked particularly well with the type of information customers enter when calling: alphanumeric flight numbers, cities, and airport names. The system also integrates check-in times and gate numbers into the application, giving users further tailored information.

Today, DAA's system has given information to more than 65 percent of all callers without transferring them to a live operator. The airport expects this number to jump to 80 percent as the system is further tuned.

SpeechTek Covers
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues