Some connected travellers, yesterday

'Connected traveller' prompts airports to prioritise IT investment

Improving passenger processes at the airport through information technology investment is the number one technology priority for airports around the world, according to the 2014 SITA/ACI Airport IT Trends Survey, released today.

This annual survey of the world’s airports shows the focus on the ‘connected traveller’ with investments in IT infrastructure and services that give passengers more convenience, control and a connected experience. Self-service and mobile options are key areas of investment, with over 80 per cent of airports planning a project in these areas over the next three years. The total spend is estimated to reach $6.8bn.

Francesco Violante, CEO of SITA, said: “This is the age of the connected traveller with nearly all passengers carrying mobiles, tablets and other devices. It is vital that airports invest in the infrastructure to support the changing expectations of these passengers. This year’s survey shows that the majority of airports globally are investing more in new technologies and mobile services for passengers in an effort to improve passenger processes and satisfaction.”

According to the survey, airports continue to invest in self-service to help manage growing passenger numbers. Over the next three years, more multi-service kiosks, self-bag-drop and self-boarding services will be at airports around the world as 86 per cent of airports plan investments in this area. By 2017, nearly three-quarters of airports expect the majority of their passengers to use self-service check-in. Common-use kiosks continue to be popular, with 60 per cent of airports planning to increase their numbers for check-in and other uses.

Geo-location technology, which allows an airport to provide services in relation to where passengers or staff are at a particular time, is a popular initiative with airports with 60 per cent planning geo-location programs over the next three years. Further deployments of technology include near-field communications (NFC), in which 49 per cent of airports are investing, iBeacon programmes (33 per cent) and wearable technologies (16 per cent).

Investment in mobile services continues to be a big part of airport IT strategies, with 84 per cent investing over the next three years in such areas as flight status notifications, customer relationship management, way-finding, security wait-time notifications and retail services.

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