(07/02/23) Airports and airlines are ramping up their
investment in technology to digitalize operations and speed up the
passenger journey by offering more self-service options.
SITA’s 2022 Air Transport IT Insights report
reveals that CIOs want to ensure operations are as agile and
resilient as they are efficient, with IT solutions seen as central
to their success.
This has spurred an acceleration of
digitalization, with airlines and airports looking to key
technology solutions to fortify their operations against
disruption while automating the passenger experience.
SITA Biometric Boarding Gates at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) near Bangkok, Thailand. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com
The industry’s IT spend is projected to continue
its steady year-on-year growth trend since 2020 to support this
push for digitalization, with a full 96% of airlines and 93% of
airports expecting their IT spend to stay the same or increase in
2023 compared to 2022.
Last year, airline and airport IT spend rose
to an estimated US$ 37 billion and US$ 6.8 billion respectively.
“Air travel has
recovered faster from the pandemic than anyone in the industry had
initially expected, particularly in Europe and the US,” said David Lavorel,
CEO, SITA. “While the
recovery is welcome, airports and airlines have found themselves
on the back foot with staff and resource shortages. This has put
strain on operations, resulting in an increased risk of
congestion, delays, cancellations and mishandled baggage.
Digitalization is seen as key to addressing these challenges,
providing more scalability and flexibility.”
Airlines are placing great emphasis on IT tools to
manage irregular operations and provide the best passenger
experience possible even amid staff shortages.
Over the next three years, 90% or more of airlines
are investing in IT service management enhancement and disruption
warning systems, business intelligence initiatives for aircraft
turnaround management, as well as passenger and baggage processing.
Business intelligence solutions are at the
forefront of airport IT investment priorities too, with 93% or
more planning business intelligence initiatives for asset
management and flight operations by 2025.
The emphasis on agility,
adaptability to disruption and prompt communication with
customers and stakeholders is clear: by 2025 half of airports are
seeking to implement automated predictive alerts prior to flight
disruption events as well as business intelligence initiatives to
enable scaling of operations based on demand.
Both airlines and airports are investing in key
technologies to smooth the passenger experience across every step
of the journey, to help curb bottlenecks and in turn allow
redistribution of key staff resource to focus on more complex
tasks. Biometrics and self-service technologies are a major part
of this development.
Airlines have identified self-service technologies
as key to helping manage irregular operations, and this remained
their top investment priority in 2022, with touchless solutions
and biometric ID management following closely.
To support effective baggage management and
empower passengers following a period of significant disruption, a
majority of airlines plan to provide real-time baggage tracking
information to passengers by 2025.
Airports are similarly prioritizing self-service
initiatives, placing strong emphasis on self-check-in and self-bag
drop, with 86% planning implementation by 2025.
implementation of a secure single biometric token across all
touchpoints has surged from just 3% in 2021 to 39% in 2022, with
over half planning implementation over the next three years.
signal a strong commitment to the next-generation travel
experience where passengers can breeze through the airport using
their face as their boarding pass.