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Airlines and airports to invest $33bn in IT in 2017
Frankfurt Airport. © Fraport

Airlines and airports to invest $33bn in IT in 2017

SITA predicts that airports and airlines will spend nearly $33bn on IT this year, with a particular focus on cybersecurity and cloud services.

Airlines and airports are estimated to spend nearly $33bn on IT this year, according to SITA, and they are focusing their technology investments on similar priorities. Top of the agenda for CIOs at both airlines and airports, are investments in cyber security and cloud services. They are also prioritizing investments in passenger self-service.

SITA’s research of the world’s airlines and airports shows that airlines’ IT spend as a percentage of revenue will rise to an estimated 3.30% or $24.3bn in 2017. For airports, the corresponding share is 5.05% for this year or $8.43bn. Looking ahead to 2018, over 70% of airlines and 88% of airports are expecting IT spend to increase or remain at the same levels as today, according to SITA.

Both airlines and airports agree that the number one priority for their investments is cyber security. Nearly all of them – 95% of airlines and 96% 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 investment priority with 95% of airlines and 85% of airports planning to invest over the next three years, continuing an upward trend that SITA has recorded since 2015. The third key area of investment that was highlighted by both airlines and airports is to provide extra self-service options to passengers.

Airlines are focusing on providing mobile services. Today the vast majority of airlines provide check-in (73%), boarding (70%) and flight status notifications (68%) via mobile; and by 2020 more than 97% plan to do so. A key area of growth will be the provision of real-time flight updates over social media which will jump from 31% of airlines doing so to 92% in the next three years, SIA predicts.

At airports, self-service processes at check-in, bag drop and boarding are increasingly popular with passengers, and 89% of airports are investing in these processes, according to SITA. Airports 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.

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