According to the SITA 2017 Air Transport IT
Trends Insights released on Tuesday, airlines and airports will
spend nearly US$33 billion on IT this year.
Top of the agenda for
CIOs at both airlines and airports, are investments in cyber
security and cloud services. In addition, they are prioritizing
investments in passenger self-service.
SITA’s research of the world’s airlines and
airports shows that IT spend remains strong. Airlines’ spend as a
percentage of revenue will rise to an estimated 3.30% or US$24.3
billion in 2017. For airports, the rise is to an expected 5.05%
for this year, or US$8.43 billion. Looking ahead to 2018 over 70%
of airlines and 88% of airports are expecting IT spend to increase
or remain at the same levels as today.
As IT spend increases, both airlines and
airports agree that the number one priority for their investments
is cyber security. Nearly all of them – 95% of airlines and 96% of
airports – plan to invest in major programs or R&D on cyber
security initiatives over the next three years. This shows
alignment across the industry on the importance of investing in
Ilya Gutlin, President, Air Travel Solutions,
SITA, said, “The air transport industry is going through digital
transformation and focusing its attention on protecting the
business and passengers; making it more efficient; and improving
the passenger experience. Cyber-attacks are a very real threat in
the highly interwoven air transport industry so building solid
defenses is essential. Cloud services provide important
efficiencies which play a key role in keeping costs down.
Investments in self-service improve passenger satisfaction as they
welcome the independence and efficiencies it delivers.”
“When it comes to IT
investment, airports and airlines are aligned to provide better,
more secure service to customers. The interdependencies built into
air transport systems mean investments and improvements in all
these areas, by airlines and airports alike, will continue to
contribute to a strong global industry,” Gutlin added.
Cloud services are another top investment
priority with 95% of airlines and 85% of airports planning to
invest over the next three years, continuing an upward trend that
SITA has recorded since 2015. The third key area of investment
that was highlighted by both airlines and airports is to provide
extra self-service options to passengers.
Airlines are focusing on providing mobile
services. Today the vast majority of airlines provide check-in
(73%), boarding (70%) and flight status notifications (68%) via
mobile and by 2020 more than 97% plan to do so. A key area of
growth will be providing real-time flight updates over social
media which will jump from 31% of airlines doing so to 92% in the
next three years.
Providing a seamless experience is key to the
airlines. In total, 94% rate streamlining services into a single
app as a priority, with 58% rating this as a high priority. Mobile
app capabilities and usability are developing quickly and an
increasing number of airlines plan to use mobile as a customer
service tool, including at times of disruption.
At airports, self-service processes at check-in,
bag drop and boarding are increasingly popular with passengers and
89% of airports are investing in these processes. Airports
operators have a keen focus on improving the journey through the
terminal and are looking to new technologies such as the Internet
of Things, beacons and sensors, to support their goals. SITA’s
insights show that 80% are investing, or planning to invest, in
these technologies over the next three years. Nearly three
quarters, 74%, are investing in way-finding solutions and 68% in
solutions to improve personalization for the passenger.
Antoine Rostworowski, Director, Airport Customer
Experience and Technology, Airports Council International (ACI),
said, “SITA’s research, which was co-sponsored by ACI, reveals
valuable insights for our industry. It is encouraging to see the
alignment of investment priorities among airports and airlines,
which reflects the collaboration between ACI and IATA on best
practices. ACI and IATA have joint initiatives such as Automated
Border Control, end-to-end baggage tracking (Facilitation), Data
Exchange, Common-Use (Airport IT) and Smart Security. Industry
partners such as SITA and others are also involved in these
initiatives to make airports more efficient and to improve the
IT executives at the top airlines and airports around the world took
part in the research earlier this year.
See other recent