Technology the number one investment for airports and airlines

Senior man traveling in the times of the coronavirus pandemic. He is checking in on the flight as the handling agent is looking at the covid passport.

Technology is at the forefront of aviation companies minds as many invest to ensure their operations run smoothly and the passenger journey is streamlined with smart technology.

Gone are the days of clunky apps and unnecessary lines, SITA’s 2022 Air Transport IT Insights report reveals accelerated digitalization to  airlines and airports meet rising passenger demand and continued search for new technologies to help fortify operations. 

IT spending is projected to continue to grow in the industry, 96 percent of airlines and 93 percent of airports are expected to have the same or increased spending on IT as 2022, with the sectors reportedly rising around 37 billion USD and 6.8 billion USD 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.”

Lost baggage in a busy airport. Man is sitting on a baggage claim carousel rubbing his head. He has a head ache. Nearby people picking up their luggage are depicted by motion blur movement. Traveller is frustrated and sad.

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.

“Digitalization is seen as key to addressing these challenges, providing more scalability and flexibility,” said Lavorel. 

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, signalling a strong commitment to the next-generation travel experience where passengers can breeze through the airport using their face as their boarding pass.

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