Insights into our community's technology plans

Q4 2018
Insights into our community's technology plans

The report has established itself as the air transport community's global IT benchmark. SITA would like to thank those members who took part in the research, which represents 39% of global airport and 28% of global airline passenger traffic.

With 8.2 billion passengers anticipated by 2037, air transport will need technology to help it solve many of the pressing issues our community faces as it experiences growth. SITA’s annual 'Air Transport IT Insights 2018' – now available – shows where IT investments are focused, and to what end.

As a major piece of research among airlines and airports, the report has established itself as the air transport community's global IT benchmark. SITA would like to thank those members who took part in the research, which represents 39% of global airport and 28% of global airline passenger traffic.

Our Insights research highlights important findings around investments and plans in the areas of biometric technology and cybersecurity.

Matthys Serfontein, President, Air Travel Solutions, SITA

 

IT investment up

The research highlights a rise in planned investment in technology. “The strength in investment is encouraging and reflects the digital transformation and growing reliance on technology across the board,” says SITA’s Matthys Serfontein, Senior VP, Air Travel Solutions.

“Airline investment is set to reach 3.67% of revenues in 2018, up from 3.14% in 2017. Airport investment will rise from 4.39% of revenues to an expected 5.9% in 2018.”

Biometrics and cybersecurity

Highlights include important findings, common to both airlines and airports, around investments and plans in the areas of biometric technology (to automate passenger ID management) as well as cybersecurity.

  • Some 71% of airlines and 77% of airports plan major programs or R&D in biometrics, to help deliver secure and easy travel for passengers, according to the Insights research.
  • In the meantime, cybersecurity is a major program for 89% of airlines and 95% of airports. (See also: Air Transport Cybersecurity Insights 2018).

There’s a common focus among airlines and airports on emerging technologies. The aviation industry clearly sees the great potential of technologies such as AI and blockchain.

Matthys Serfontein, President, Air Travel Solutions, SITA

 

Artificial Intelligence

“There’s also a common focus among airlines and airports on emerging technologies,” says Serfontein. “The aviation industry clearly sees the great potential of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and blockchain. The vast majority plan major programs or R&D in these technologies by 2021, according to our research.”

The Insights results reveal that airline AI investment is centered on virtual agents and chatbots to service customers, while airport AI investment is being channelled towards predictive analytics to better manage operations.

Blockchain

Both airlines and airports are eager to explore the potential of blockchain. Nearly 60% of airlines have pilot or research programs planned around blockchain for implementation by 2021, up from 42% last year.

Similarly, airports continue to experiment with blockchain: 34% plan R&D projects by 2021. The most commonly expected use of blockchain is to streamline the passenger identification process, with 40% of airlines and 36% of airports saying this would be a major benefit.

Collaborative innovation

The 2018 Insights research also highlights how airlines and airports are partnering for innovation. Nearly half of airlines (43%) already contract with an innovation partner and this is set to jump to 76% over the next three years.

Airports are doing the same with 30% now contracting with innovation partners and 61% expecting to do so by 2021. “Collaborative innovation is embedded in SITA’s community approach,” says Serfontein, “with our technology research teams working constantly with airlines and airports to test new and emerging technologies.” See ‘Co-innovation in action’.

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