Faced with increased disruptions , baggage mountains and staff shortages , 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 with the post-pandemic recovery 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 .
OVER THE NEXT THREE YEARS , 90 % OR MORE OF AIRLINES ARE INVESTING IN IT SERVICE MANAGEMENT ENHANCEMENT AND DISRUPTION WARNING SYSTEMS .
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 .
David Lavorel , CEO , SITA , said : “ Air travel has recovered faster from the pandemic than anyone in the industry had initially expected , particularly in Europe and the US . 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 , as well as business intelligence initiatives for aircraft turnaround management , passenger processing 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 selfservice technologies are seeing major emphasis .
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 . Airports ’ 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 . This signals a strong commitment to the next-generation travel experience where passengers can breeze through the airport using their face as their boarding pass . p
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