According to the SITA 2017 Air Transport IT Trends Insights, airlines and airports are estimated to spend nearly US$33 billion on IT this year. The report says that the airlines and airports are focusing their technology investments on similar priorities. Top of the agenda for CIOs at both airlines and airports, are investments in cyber security and cloud services. In addition, they are prioritising investments in passenger self-service. SITA’s research of the world’s airlines and airports shows that IT spend remains strong. Airlines’ spend as a percentage of revenue will rise to an estimated 3.30 per cent or US$24.3 billion in 2017. For airports, the rise is to an expected 5.05 per cent for this year or US$8.43 billion. Looking ahead to 2018 over 70 per cent of airlines and 88 per cent of airports are expecting IT spend to increase or remain at the same levels as today.
With increasing IT spend, both airlines and airports say that the number one priority for their investments is cyber security. Nearly all of them – 95 per cent of airlines and 96 per cent of airports – plan to invest in major programs or R&D on cyber security initiatives over the next three years. This shows alignment across the industry on the importance of investing in this area. Ilya Gutlin, President, Air Travel Solutions, SITA, said, “The air transport industry is going through digital transformation and focusing its attention on protecting the business and passengers; making it more efficient; and improving the passenger experience. Cyber-attacks are a very real threat in the highly interwoven air transport industry so building solid defenses is essential. Cloud services provide important efficiencies which play a key role in keeping costs down. Investments in self-service improve passenger satisfaction as they welcome the independence and efficiencies it delivers.”