The world's airports are increasing their investment in information technology (IT) to approximately $6 billion in 2013, according to the 2013 Sita/ACI/Airline Business Airport IT Trends Survey.
Despite economic challenges in some regions, the survey shows that airports are confident about the future.
Approximately 90 per cent of airports expect their IT spending to either increase or remain stable in 2014, with a key focus on improving the passenger experience. This follows a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12 per cent in IT investment over the past three years, which outpaced airports' 2.83 per cent CAGR in revenue.
The 10th annual Sita survey, produced in association with Airports Council International (ACI) and Airline Business, reported that passenger processing technology is the top priority for airports globally. However, airports are also investing in technology to improve passenger services and information.
Francesco Violante, Chief Executive Officer of Sita, said: "Airports continue to invest in information technology to improve their operations and services. Our survey this year clearly shows that passengers are at the heart of this investment. As passenger traffic grows and airports aim to improve the passenger experience, technology is providing essential solutions, despite fluctuations in airport revenues."
By 2016, approximately 95 per cent of airports plan to invest in mobile apps to provide status information on flights and the airport, and to help passengers navigate through the airport. In addition, 75 per cent of airports will offer passenger services via social media by 2016, up from 56 per cent today. And by 2016, passengers can expect to see baggage self-service go mainstream, with more than 80 per cent of airports around the world providing bag tag printing and assisted bag drop.
The survey also highlighted the growing importance of business intelligence (BI) which transforms data into useful and actionable information. Some 80 per cent of airports plan to invest in new BI solutions for revenue optimization and management by 2016. Airport operations, passenger flow monitoring and airport resource management represent other priorities for BI investment. This is consistent with airports' declared focus to use BI to improve operational awareness and the passenger experience.
However, there is still a long way to go before airports reach their BI aspirations, according to the survey. Today, only 8 per cent of airports surveyed have fully achieved the data quality requirements for their current BI initiatives. Data access and integration will continue to present challenges for airports as they implement BI solutions.
The tenth edition of the Sita Airport IT Trends Survey is based on responses from participants representing more than 255 airports globally. The survey covers airports from all major regions of the world and represents 54 per cent of global passenger traffic.