Airlines and airports are estimated to spend nearly US$33 billion on IT this year, with cyber security, cloud service investments and passenger self-service topping their agenda, according to the SITA 2017 Air Transport IT Trends Insights released this week.
This year, spend as a percentage of revenue is projected to rise to an estimated 3.3 per cent or US$24.3 billion for airlines, and 5.5 per cent or US$8.4 billion for airports. 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 as today.
As IT spend increases, airlines and airports agree that the number one priority for their investments is cyber security. Nearly all respondents – 95 per cent of airlines and 96 per cent of airports – plan to invest in major programmes or R&D on cyber security initiatives over the next three years.
Cloud services are another top priority which 95 per cent of airlines and 85 per cent of airports plan to invest in over the next three years, continuing an upward trend that SITA has recorded since 2015.
Ilya Gutlin, president, air travel solutions, SITA, commented: “Cyber attacks are a very real threat in the highly interwoven air transport industry so building solid defences is essential. Cloud services provide important efficiencies, which play a key role in keeping costs down.”
The third key area of investment highlighted by airlines and airports is passenger self-service. 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 more than 97 per cent plan to do so by 2020.
Moreover, the proportion of airlines providing real-time flight updates over social media is estimated to rise from 31 per cent to 92 per cent in the next three years.
Airports operators 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, 74 per cent, are investing in way-finding solutions and 68 per cent in personalisation solutions.