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SITA survey shows airports prioritizing security technology


SITA and Airports Council International (ACI), in association with Airline Business, has released the results of The Airport IT Trends Survey, an extensive annual study of IT trends within the global airport industry.

The report finds that airports are placing a higher priority on IT investments for passenger and airport security with 50% rating it a high priority, up from 37% last year.

Many airports have shifted their investment focus to security in light of recent regional tensions, some of which directly target air travel.

The report finds that investment in passenger processing technology is still a top priority for airports, although it has declined from 73% in 2015 to 59% this year as security rises in priority.

The survey also finds that self-service and mobile dominate the airport landscape, as this year marks the first time that the majority of airports worldwide provide self-service check-in for both passengers and bags.

Mobile is also seeing a growing influence with 90% of worldwide airports undertaking either a major program or a trial project related to mobile services and 74% trialing or piloting context-aware and location-based technology in the next five years.

“The technology trends at airports reflect the changing world. Investments to support passenger and airport security are up while the increasing demands of the connected traveler for self-service and mobile services are also being met,” said Matthys Serfontein, SITA VP of airport solutions. “This year we see a shift where airports are also looking to technology to generate non-aeronautical revenue.

“By 2019, 84% hope to make money by enabling the purchase of airport services through their mobile app. And there is also a clear trend to provide hybrid public Wi-Fi services that combine the convenience of limited free Wi-Fi with commercial offerings. Over the next three years the proportion of airports planning to offer unrestricted free Wi-Fi will drop from 74% to 54%. This change is mainly driven by airports in North America and the Middle East.”

SITA’s report further investigates the airport’s digital transformation exploring areas such as wearables, biometrics, robotics and context-aware services and how airports plan to use these technologies over the next five to 10 years.

There is a growing focus on biometric technology with more than one-third of airports stating that they will invest in single biometric travel token projects in the next five years, and 52% stating they will invest in these types of projects within the decade.

The survey reflects the views of more than 225 airports who collectively manage 36% of the global traffic or 2.3 billion passengers. This year half of survey respondents came from airports within the Top 100 in terms of revenue.

Previously reported, SITA has been researching blockchain technology as a platform that allows passengers to create and store their own secure biometric profile on their smartphone that could serve as proof of identity in an effort to streamline airport security processes.

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