Aviation

The new #1 priority for airlines and airports

In today’s digital age, is it any wonder that IT and technology is a top priority for the aviation industry?

New research has shown that the world’s airlines and airports are pumping nearly US$33 billion on IT this year, while cyber security becomes their top priority moving forward.

The stats come from the SITA 2017 Air Transport IT Trends Insights released today, and show how chief investment officers are increasingly interested in throwing their dollars at cyber security and cloud services, as well as passenger self-service, a trend that’s so far been a welcome addition to the flying experience.

Looking ahead to 2018 over 70 per cent of airlines and 88 per cent of airports are expecting IT spend to increase or remain at the same levels from this year, while 95 per cent of airlines and 96 per cent of airports plan to invest in major cyber safety initiatives in the next three years.

“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,” said SITA’s President, Air Travel Solutions, Ilya Gutlin.

Cyber-attacks are a “very real threat” in the aviation business, Gutlin added.

According to SITA, airlines are increasingly upping their game in providing mobile services, while only 31 per cent of airlines currently are invested in live updates on social media.

Today the vast majority of airlines provide check-in (73 per cent), boarding (70 per cent) and flight status notifications (68 per cent) via mobile and by 2020 more than 97 per cent plan to do so.

By 2020, airlines and airports want to up the number providing real-time flight updates over social media from 31 per cent to 92 per cent by 2020.

Providing a seamless experience is key to the airlines. In total, 94 per cent rate streamlining services into a single app as a priority, with 58 per cent 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 per cent of airports are investing in these processes.

Airport 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 per cent are investing, or planning to invest, in these technologies over the next three years. Nearly three quarters are investing in way-finding solutions and 68 per cent in solutions to improve personalisation for the passenger.

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