Despite economic challenges in some regions, the survey shows that airports are confident about the future.
The world's airports are increasing their investment in information technology (IT) to approximately US$6 billion in 2013. This is according to the 2013 SITA/ACI/Airline Business Airport IT Trends Survey released.
Approximately 90% of airports expect their IT spending to either increase or remain stable in 2014, with a key focus on improving the passenger experience. This follows a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12% in IT investment over the past three years, which outpaced airports' 2.83% CAGR in revenue.
The 10th annual SITA survey, produced in association with Airports Council International (ACI) and Airline Business, reported that passenger processing technology is the top priority for airports globally. However, airports are also investing in technology to improve passenger services and information.
Francesco Violante, Chief Executive Officer, SITA, said: "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."
By 2016, approximately 95% of airports plan to invest in mobile apps to provide status information on flights and the airport, and to help passengers navigate through the airport. In addition, 75% of airports will offer passenger services via social media by 2016, up from 56% today. And by 2016, passengers can expect to see baggage self-service go mainstream, with more than 80% of airports around the world providing bag tag printing and assisted bag drop.
The survey also highlighted the growing importance of business intelligence (BI) which transforms data into useful and actionable information. Some 80% of airports plan to invest in new BI solutions for revenue optimization and management by 2016. Airport operations, passenger flow monitoring and airport resource management represent other priorities for BI investment. This is consistent with airports' declared focus to use BI to improve operational awareness and the passenger experience.
However, there is still a long way to go before airports reach their BI aspirations, according to the survey. Today, only 8% of airports surveyed have fully achieved the data quality requirements for their current BI initiatives. Data access and integration will continue to present challenges for airports as they implement BI solutions.
The tenth edition of the SITA Airport IT Trends Survey is based on responses from participants representing more than 255 airports globally. The survey covers airports from all major regions of the world and represents 54% of global passenger traffic.
*The report was launched today at the ACI-Airport Exchange event in Doha. Further details on the survey are available here and customized data from all of SITA's industry surveys can be accessed on the IT Trends Hub. The complete results can be downloaded at www.flightglobal.com/ITzone