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Aviation IT spending, biometric gates forecast to spike as private, public entities invest

Aviation IT spending, biometric gates forecast to spike as private, public entities invest

An increasing number of chief information officers (CIOs) from airports and airlines are investing in digital technologies, including biometrics, for aviation applications. The claims come from SITA’s latest 2022 Air Transport IT Insights report, which the company published on Tuesday.

According to the document, investments in this sector will continue their year-on-year growth, which has been such since 2020. In particular, 96 percent of airlines and 93 percent of airports expect their IT spending to stay the same or increase in 2023 compared to 2022. In addition, 2022’s airline and airport IT spending increased to an estimated $37 billion and $6.8 billion, respectively.

“Air travel has recovered faster from the pandemic than anyone in the industry had initially expected, particularly in Europe and the U.S. While the recovery is welcome, airports and airlines have found themselves on the back foot with staff and resource shortages,” explains SITA CEO David Lavorel.

“This has put a strain on operations, resulting in an increased risk of congestion, delays, cancellations and mishandled baggage. Digitalization is seen as key to addressing these challenges, providing more scalability and flexibility.”

Case in point, the SITA report suggests 93 percent of airport IT staff are planning business intelligence initiatives for asset management and flight operations by 2025. Additionally, 86 percent plan to implement self-check-in and self-bag drop solutions by 2025.

As for biometrics, airports’ implementation of a secure single token across all touchpoints has increased from 3 percent in 2021 to 39 percent in 2022, with over half of respondents planning to implement such solutions by 2026.

The findings are also supported by a forecast from Juniper Research that hardware revenue from biometric automated border control (ABC) eGates will increase by 137 percent from this year to 2027.

The ‘Border Security Technologies: Emerging Trends, Key Opportunities & Market Forecasts 2022 2027’ report estimates 2023 revenues from biometric airport gates at $207 million, rising to $490 million in 2027. Europe, where new regulations are driving deployments, will make up 35 percent of the market.

In a related development, the UK government has lowered the age for use of biometric eGates from 12 years old to 10, for the dual purposes of fighting child smuggling and speeding up airport processes, reports The Telegraph. The trial has begun at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports.

Border Force CEO Phil Douglas announced the trial at an airport industry event, where he also spoke about the potential to eventually move to biometric checks over passports for arrivals in the future.

AAI deploys Digi Yatra biometrics

In line with SITA’s predictions, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has recently announced the decision to implement features from the biometric Digi Yatra initiative at Kolkata, Pune, Vijayawada and Varanasi airports.

The move was reported by ET Government and will see travelers adopt a single token based on face biometrics technologies to digitally validate airline, identity, and health data.

Digi Yatra is an initiative by the Indian Union ministry of civil aviation. It has been growing steadily over the last year, and according to ET Government, AAI plans to deploy its technologies across additional airports in the country.

RDU adopts Clear’s identity verification lanes

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Raleigh–Durham International Airport (RDU) in North Carolina is adopting Clear’s identity verification technology to expedite passengers’ journey experiences.

The move represents the 50th deployment of Clear’s iris and/or fingerprint biometric systems across airports in the country.

“As an identity company obsessed with creating friction-free experiences, CLEAR is excited to launch at our 50th airport and help passengers traveling through RDU safely and easily affirm their identity at the security checkpoint,” comments Clear CEO Caryn Seidman-Becker.

“Our launch today is the start of a strong partnership with the airport to deliver an outstanding passenger experience.”

The partnership comes weeks after Clear joined forces with Lisnr to work on sound for age verification in retail settings.

CBP shares improving traveling experience milestones

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency has published a list of its top 2022 accomplishments, which includes a biometrics deployment milestone.

Among the accomplishments identified is how the agency used digital technologies to improve the traveler experience, for instance, by easing COVID-19 travel restrictions.

The announcement also mentions the expansion of the Mobile Passport Control program to include the Montreal and Toronto Preclearance locations and the availability of face biometrics technology at all international airports across the United States.

CBP also announced that its Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) surpassed 10 million total members in March 2022, alongside the reopening of Nexus and U.S./Canada FAST enrollment centers and the expansion of the Global Entry reach with agreements with the Dominican Republic and Brazil.

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