The world’s top airlines and airports spent a whopping record US$50 billion (AU$72.5 billion) on technology to improve the air travel experience in 2018 - and recent passenger satisfaction ratings prove it was money well spent.
According to the SITA 2019 Air Transport IT Insights, 60% of airlines recorded up to a 20% rise in year-on-year passenger satisfaction thanks to investments in technology in 2018, while nearly half (45%) recorded up to 20% improvement in passenger processing rates.
Airports achieved similar success with 63% reporting a year-on-year improvement of up to 20% in passenger satisfaction levels and 44% in faster passenger processing. Business performance for airlines and airports also improved last year.
“The good news is that the growing investment in automating the passenger journey means the industry is providing a faster, more pleasant airport experience,” SITA President, Air Travel Solutions, Matthys Serfontein said.
“This is a real success story for automating the passenger journey, particularly at a time when we expect passenger numbers to double over the next 20 years, with physical airport infrastructure struggling to keep pace.
“Technology is key to alleviating the industry’s capacity crunch and avoiding negative impacts on passengers.”
Commercial aviation’s record spend in technology comes after several years of “virtually flat growth”.
IT spend for airlines as a percentage of revenue rose to 4.84% while airport expenditure grew to 6.06% of revenue in 2018. Projections for 2019 show investments will continue to grow.
“The increase in airline spend over the past year was driven by the larger airlines which continue to invest to speed up the pace of digital transformation,” Mr Serfontein said.
“From an operational point of view, airlines and airports are increasingly investing in intelligence to provide real-time and historic views of their operations, allowing them to proactively manage everything from baggage and passenger flows, to aircraft turnaround and the allocation of key assets, such as parking stands and gates.”
Covering 30% of global passenger traffic, 200 airlines and senior IT executives took part in the study, while 264 airports covering 36% of passenger movements participated.
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