IT spend for airlines increases to $34 billion in 2023: SITA

MUMBAI: Airports and airlines saw IT spend increase year on year into 2023, reaching an estimated $10.8 billion and $34.5 billion respectively, according to SITA’s 2023 Air Transport IT Insights report released on Wednesday. Two-thirds ofairport and airline CIOs expect continued growth into 2024. Sustainability is also high on the agenda, with industry milestones set for carbon reduction as well as regulations on emissions.
“Airports also boosted IT spend as a percentage of revenue in 2022 and 2023 even as business benefitted from an uptick in travel demand,” said the report by SITA, which provides IT solutions to the air transport industry.The company said that its insights research was conducted from August to November 2023 and represents the views of over 250 senior airline and airport executives, covering a quarter of global passenger traffic.
Airlines and airports have made strides in optimizing the passenger experience, with over half having implemented IT to improve efficiency across check-in, bag tag, and boarding in 2023, according to the report. “Biometrics are becoming commonplace to help curb congestion, with 70% of airlines expecting to have biometric ID management in place by 2026, and 90% of airports investing in major programs or R&D in this area,: the report said.
Business Intelligence is the biggest area of technology investment for airlines in the coming three years, with 73% investing in major programs, it said adding that nearly two-thirds of airports and airlines collect and integrate data, and with the rise of generative artificial intelligence (AI), they are now looking to AI and machine learning to leverage this data and generate insights. With most citing the “use of data to improve operational efficiency” as at least somewhat of a business challenge, it makes sense that 97% of airlines and 82% of airports are investing in AI by 2026, the report said.
David Lavorel, CEO of SITA, said: “As we approach a full recovery of passenger demand for air travel, with domestic travel even surpassing pre-pandemic levels in some regions, airlines and airports have learned from the congestion and disruptions seen in the past two years. Advanced data sharing and analytics tools will allow them to unite stakeholders and identify opportunities for greater efficiency and leaner operations. Solutions like total airport management and BI for passenger processing provide airports and airlines real-time insight into the management of assets and passenger flow, allowing for agile, collaborative responses to any disruptions.”
By 2026, over 90% of airlines plan to have IT in place to boost the efficiency of flight operations and aircraft turnaround. More than half have implemented IT to optimize both aircraft taxiing and the takeoff/landing and cruise phases of flights, with nearly all expecting to have this in place by 2026.
“With industry ambitions to achieve net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050 in mind, airlines and airports are taking necessary steps towards reducing their carbon footprint, adopting digital tools for accurate monitoring and optimization of energy consumption and emissions,” Lavorel added.

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