The future of travel apps may be to use them when you are in a specific location, and then just watch them expire when you leave the area.

So predicts Jim Peters, SITA’s chief technology officer, who predicts that location-specific app platforms perhaps from companies such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon will overtake the need for travel companies to have their own individual apps.

In this crystal ball scenario, which Peters says companies such as Cisco are already working on, consumers would access map or airport information when they are in or near the relevant location, and these apps would expire when the traveler exits the area.

No need, therefore to delete an app from your smorgasbord of app choices.

With a few of these overarching app platforms in existence, this would obviate the need for travelers to download the jumble of a dozen or so travel apps, Peters says.

Instead of creating and maintaing their own apps, travel companies under this scheme would be feeding data into these location-specific platforms much as they currently distribute inventory into various channels today, Peters predicts.

The question, though, is whether airlines, hotels, or car rental firms would want to cede their mobile gusto to the big app overlords.

Companies such as Southwest Airlines and others would predictably be prominent abstainers.

Alternately, or perhaps in the shorter term, Peters envisions consolidation of travel apps to address fragmentation, and he pointed to TripAdvisor’s acquisition of GateGuru as a sign of the nascent trend. TripAdvisor also owns SeatGuru, which it acquired in 2007.

Peters made his forecast during a panel discussion today at SITA’s 2013 Air Transport IT Summit near Brussels.