Airports and Airlines Will Prioritise Investments in IT for Digitalisation: Air Transport IT Insights 2021

Airports and airlines plan to automate the health certificate verification process. Around 51% of airlines will invest in verification via the mobile application, and nearly 45% will invest in kiosk-enabled checking.


  • Airlines and airports are planning to increase their spending on IT investments.
  • More airlines are planning for touchless technologies.
  • Around 74% of airports have now invested in biometric solutions.

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The airports and airline CEOs are betting on technology to assist the aviation sector’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to SITA’s 2021 Air Transport IT Insights. In this context, airlines may increase their spending on digitalisation by 2024.

According to the report, nearly 84% of airlines and 81% of airports are expected to spend a similar range as that of the previous year in 2022 on automation requirements. Automation of passenger processing will gain a significant rise. Automation will help airlines streamline and digitally enable the journey to boost the convenience of the passengers.

Due to the pandemic, 81% of airline staff were designated to manually verify the health certificates of the passengers in 2021. Airlines realise that this is an area requiring urgent attention and plan to automate the verification process over the next three years. Around 51% of airlines will invest in verification via the mobile application, and nearly 45% will invest in kiosk-enabled checking.

Airports also look forward to standardising digital health certification and verification. With the passenger traffic growing and anticipated congestion after pandemic recovery, nearly half of the airports studied the possibilities to implement mobile-based verification. One-third of the airports have plans to proceed with kiosks-based verification by 2024.

Airlines’ IT spending will also focus on self-services through mobile services, baggage notifications, unassisted bag drop and boarding gates. More airlines are planning for touchless technologies, which will make the passenger journey safer and quicker. Around 74% of airports have now invested in biometric identity management solutions.

Sustainability is a major concern for aviation industry

The airlines are looking forward to reducing operational costs while also enhancing efficiency. Sustainability remains a concern for the aviation industry. As such, the industry is heavily pondering on intelligent technology and automation for aviation.

Most airlines are prioritising IT to make their operations more sustainable, such as data-driven flight path optimisation to improve inflight efficiencies and reduce fuel use.

Most airports embrace measures such as creating airport infrastructure (green spaces, utilisation of natural light, and renewable energy), widely available recycling sites, and intelligent building technology and automation, which are essential aspects of sustainability.

SITA is a leading specialist in air transport communications and information technology. SITA’s 2021 Air Transport IT Insights represent the views of more than 180 IT airports and airline decision-makers from 45 countries.

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Ria is a lead news writer at Aviation Scoop. She writes from dawn to dusk, reads in the evenings, and draws at some ungodly hours. She loathes human interaction and finds solace in the sweet, musky smell of old books, and rain.

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