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Airline tech bosses prioritize artificial intelligence investment

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Airline technology bosses have flagged business intelligence and artificial intelligence as key investment priorities for 2024.

The SITA Air Transport Insights 2023 report showed 73% of airlines plan significant investment in business intelligence, while 64% plan the same for artificial intelligence.

In terms of information technology services, cybersecurity (97%) and cloud services (95%) emerged as the top two priorities among chief information officers. Both were up 5% from the same report last year.

The study, which was carried out between August and November 2023 with a survey of the top 292 passenger carriers, also revealed that technology spend has been increasing since 2020 and was expected to hit approximately $35 billion in 2023, up from 2022’s figure of $30 billion. In addition, 78% of CIOs believe technology investment will increase in 2024.

As passenger volumes increase, the study shows biometric technologies are becoming more widespread with 70% of airlines expecting to have biometric ID management in place by 2026, and 90% of airports investing in major programs in this area.

The report also highlights interest in passenger digital identity verification from airlines, with 44% having put touchless ID verification technologies in place while 35% have implemented biometrics. A further 24% plan to introduce digital identity verification by 2026, while an additional 35% expect to introduce biometrics by then. Meanwhile, single token for passenger ID has been adopted by 17% of airlines, while more than half plan to implement the technology by 2026.

Business intelligence and biometric ID management were revealed as the top technology investment priorities for airport technology bosses, followed by data exchange technology and 5G communication networks.

The top two IT services investment priorities were revealed as cybersecurity and passenger processing.

Airport technology investment was expected to hit almost $11 billion in 2023, up from almost $9 billion in 2022. More than 71% expect the upward trajectory to increase this year, while 19% said it will remain the same and 10% expect a decrease.

The SITA study also reveals a snapshot of progress toward more sustainable flying with sustainable aviation fuel adoption expected to reach 83% of airlines by 2026. In addition, more than 90% of carriers plan to have technology in place to boost efficiency across flight operations and aircraft turnaround.

A separate report released this week revealed an increasing focus on disruption management technology. The “Better Together: Rethinking How to Manage Disruption in Aviation” report from Amadeus revealed 64% of airlines are investing in new technology to improve their response to disruption.

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