SITA has released a new Air Transit IT Insights report that indicates that COVID-19 accelerated digital transformation in the air travel industry in 2020. Many airports specifically sought to install contactless and mobile screening solutions that would make air travel safer for passengers, as well as remote networking solutions to support employees working from home.
In that regard, the report places a particularly strong emphasis on biometrics, and on self-check-in technologies more generally. SITA found that the majority (64 percent) are planning to deploy biometric boarding gates by 2023, and an even greater number (82 percent) are planning to double their investment in such technologies within the same time frame. A similar number (79 percent) want to introduce self-service baggage drops, while an overwhelming 97 percent plan to use a mobile application to improve their communications with customers. Most also want to enable mobile payments to reduce the number of touchpoints in the airport.
On the backend, roughly three-quarters of those in the air travel industry plan to invest in cloud services, cybersecurity, and other technologies to improve their digital posture. In addition to giving many employees the ability to work from home, that infrastructure will support mobile workplace and access apps for on-site staff and mobile service apps for customers.
According to SITA, airports and airlines are hoping that the investment in new technologies will pay off once traffic increases in the wake of the pandemic. Flight volume was down 44 percent in 2020 due to the pandemic, which is expected to translate to a full-year loss of $118 billion.
“The severe slowdown in 2020 forced the air transport industry to focus on driving new cost efficiencies,” said SITA Airports and Borders CEO David Lavorel. “The good news is that airlines and airports were able to capitalize on existing trends to automation and have made significant strides in implementing new solutions that will bring new improvements for the passenger now and into the future.”
SITA recently launched a new health screening application to make it easier for passengers to comply with COVID-19 testing requirements.
February 24, 2021 – by Eric Weiss