SITA: Airport IT spending soars to £3.75 billion in 2013

Airport IT spending is set to reach $6 billion (£3.75 billion) this year, with investments focusing on the use of business intelligence and improvements to customer experience.

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Airport IT spending is set to reach $6 billion (£3.75 billion) this year, as airports seek to improve customer experience through the use of business data.

The tenth ‘SITA Airport IT Trends Survey’ highlights continued growth in IT spending, with 90 percent of the 255 airports surveyed expecting budgets to either increase or remain stable in 2014. This follows a sustained period of spending increases, with a compound annual growth (CAGR) rate of 12 percent in the past three years, outpacing wider airport revenue growth of 2.8 percent.

The top priority for airport IT spending will be focused on passenger processing technology, the survey indicated, as well as improving passenger services and information. For example, 95 percent of airports plan to provide airport information through the roll-out mobile apps by 2016, also helping navigate through airports.

Airports are also expected to embrace social media for passenger services, up from 56 percent currently to 75 percent. Baggage self-service is also set to increase, with 80 percent of airports providing tag printing and assisted bag drop services.

The report claims that business intelligence will play a greater role in airport operations and customer experience, with 80 percent of airports planning to invest in BI software tools by 2016. Use of BI tools will be focused on improving airport operations, passenger flow monitoring and airport resource management.

The report notes however that many airports face challenges in achieving their BI aims, with only eight percent of respondents having achieved data quality requirements for current BI initiatives.

Francesco Violante, chief executive officer, SITA, commented: “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.”

Gatwick Airport recently highlighted its investment plans to ComputerworldUK, with the airport's IT transformation including a wide ranging cloud computing strategy to streamline operations.