Thursday, February 25, 2021

'Covid-19 has changed airports and airlines priorities on IT spend'

Mumbai: Biometric technology has become a focus for airport investment with 64% of airports aiming to roll out self-boarding gates using biometric and ID documentation by 2023, three times as many as in 2020, according to the latest air transport information technology insights study released by SITA on Wednesday. SITA offers IT solutions for airlines, airports, aircraft and governments.

For airlines and airports, the pandemic has brought strong focus on virtual and remote IT services that allowed employees to work from home even as it ramped up communications with passengers, it said.

Data and automation are key. ``Making the check-in process completely touchless is now the main priority for airports and airlines to help protect passengers and staff, improve the passenger experience, and drive efficiency,’’ it said. Airlines have doubled implementations and plan to double investment for self-boarding using biometric and ID documentation by 2023 (82%), it said.

Similarly, airlines are prioritizing a completely touchless check-in process, and most want mobile touchless payment options for all services provided. The majority (79%), is focused on enabling self-bag drop for passengers. All essential customer services will become contactless from booking to arrival, including automated lounge access and mobile delayed baggage reporting.

``Airline mobile applications for passenger services is a priority with nearly all (97%) of airlines having major programs and R&D in place by 2023. By 2023 the majority of airlines plan to send passengers real-time notifications on their mobile devices about their bags and plan to provide real-time bag-tracking information for staff,’’ said the SITA study.

In 2020, flight volumes plunged 44% year-on-year due to the pandemic, according to SITA data. As a result of this impact on demand, International Air Transport Association forecast the airline industry's full-year loss at $118 billion.

24/02/21 Manju V/Times of India

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