SITA: 2023 IT Spend for Airlines, Airports Up


IT spend by airlines and airports in 2023 increased year over year, and more than two-thirds of surveyed airline and airport chief information officers expect continued growth into 2024, according to airline industry technology provider SITA’s 2023 Air Transport IT Insights report, released Tuesday. 

Planned airline IT spend in 2023 was $34.5 billion, up from $30 billion in 2022. Planned 2023 airport spend was $10.8 billion, up from $8.8 billion a year prior.

SITA for the report between August and November 2023 surveyed more than “250 senior airline and airport executives, covering a quarter of global passenger traffic.” 

For airlines, top IT investment priorities include cybersecurity (97 percent of respondents), passenger services (95 percent), cloud services (95 percent) and business intelligent solutions (90 percent). For airports, the top IT investment priorities also included cybersecurity (100 percent of respondents), passenger processing (95 percent), commercial services (94 percent) and airport security (93 percent). 

One area getting respondents’ attention is passenger identity verification. About 44 percent of airlines have implemented touchless technologies and 35 percent use biometrics for this purpose, according to SITA. Another 24 percent plan to implement touchless by the end of 2026, and 35 percent plan to add biometrics by that time. Ninety percent of airports are investing in major programs or R&D related to biometrics, according to the report.

For other technology investments, business intelligence is the biggest area for airlines in the coming three years, with 73 percent of respondents investing in “major programs.” Nearly two-thirds of airports and airlines collect and integrate data, and with the rise of generative artificial intelligence, they are “looking to AI and machine learning to leverage this data and generate insights,” according to SITA. Nearly all airlines (97 percent) and 82 percent of airports are investing in AI by 2026.

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