Airports and airlines commit $50 billion to digital upgrades and are now reaping the rewards


In 2018, airports and airlines dedicated a staggering $50 billion to IT in an effort to better passengers’ travel experience, and that investment is starting to pay off. According to data from Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques (SITA) – the air transport communications and information technology company – these investments have generated substantial improvements in passenger satisfaction as well as processing time.

The figures

This year’s Air Transport IT Insights from SITA indicates that 60 percent of airline Chief Information Officers found a 20 percent increase in satisfaction levels for passengers compared with last year. Similarly, 45 percent of CIOs reported a 20 percent rise in the rate of passenger processing. Additionally, 63 percent of airport CIOs noted a 20 percent rise in passenger satisfaction and 44 percent faster passenger processing times. Airports and airlines both documented overall improvements in business operations and return on investments.

SITA President of Air Travel Solutions, Matthys Serfontein, says, “The good news is that the growing investment in automating the passenger journey means the industry is providing a faster, more pleasant airport experience. This is a real success story for automating the passenger journey, particularly at a time when we expect passenger numbers to double over the next 20 years, with physical airport infrastructure struggling to keep pace. Technology is key to alleviating the industry’s capacity crunch and avoiding negative impacts on passengers.”

The 2019 report indicates that the industry’s IT funding is on the rise, as it reached around $50 billion last year. A key factor in this investment was due to a rapid surge in finance committed to airline IT after numerous years of little to no growth at all. Overall IT funds last year rose by 4.84 percent for airlines and 6.06 percent for airports, and figures are expected to carrying on rising.

“The increase in airline spend over the past year was driven by the larger airlines which continue to invest to speed up the pace of digital transformation. Investments in business intelligence and cloud services have emerged as priorities,” said Serfontein.

Investing in technology advancements has allowed airlines and airports to improve all aspects of business operations, including luggage handling, passenger processing, parking stands, and aircraft turnaround.

“Overall, we can see that the industry is focused on improvements to its operations to make it more efficient and facilitate better collaboration with partners and other stakeholders in what is a highly integrated industry. This in turn is having a profoundly positive impact on the service they are able to provide to passengers,” Serfontein explained.   

About Daniel Scheepers 377 Articles
I've always possessed a natural proclivity towards the art of writing. A strong passion and curiosity for life experience has given me diverse insight into varying sectors of the world. Opportunities to direct my talents are always welcome. Searching the web for interesting and factual news offers me a previously unimagined sense of fulfillment. When I have the chance, I'll be looking to get a Bachelor Degree of Communication.

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