SURVEY: Security is airports top priority

Airports surveyed in SITA’s Annual Airport IT Trends Survey,
carried out in conjunction with Airports Council International and Airline Business
magazine, report that security is now the main priority (97%) for IT investment
across the industry next year.The strong resurgence worldwide in air traffic means that alongside security-related
IT solutions, airports’ other top priorities are operational solutions (93%) to
manage the flow of passengers and aircraft, and passenger and baggage processing
systems (73%).

The headline figure for industry IT and telecommunications spend as a proportion of
revenues dropped marginally to 4.4% from 4.6% last year, but on the back of
increasing passenger demand and top-line revenue growth. IT expenditure in absolute
terms has remained stable at around the $3 billion mark. When the survey started in
2004, the industry spend was calculated at $2.2 billion. Globally, 66% of airports
report an expected increase in IT investment for 2007 with 10% anticipating a drop.

 

John Jarrell, Senior Vice President for Airport and Desktop Services, SITA, said,
“Results from this year’s Airport IT Trends Survey provide evidence that airport
operators are becoming more aggressive in adopting new technologies to manage
passenger growth and improve services for their tenants.”

 

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The survey indicates that many airports are planning projects which support
passenger self-service such as self-boarding at gates, mobile passenger check-in and
kiosk check-in but that investment in security-related projects is of equal
importance.

 

“Airports are also turning to technology to help solve the challenges associated
with the changing security requirements while minimizing passenger inconvenience.
One area where we are beginning to see convergence is between security and
self-service. New applications and peripherals will allow this convergence to take
place without compromising security and transaction or processing time, keeping it
simple for the passengers,” said Jarrell.

 

More than a quarter of respondents plan to use biometric technology by the end of
the year for access control of employees but when it comes to passenger processing,
uptake has been much slower. Initiatives at border controls and security checkpoints
within airports will only be at the 15% and 9% level respectively by year end.

 

A major change since last year’s survey is the jump from 9% of respondents to 25%
that have already deployed common-use self-service (CUSS) kiosks or check-in kiosks
which serve multiple airlines. Around 30% of kiosks globally are of the common-use
type with 70% dedicated to a single airline and this proportion is expected to move
to 40/60 over the next two years suggesting airlines, as well as airports, are
starting to acknowledge the benefits of sharing infrastructure and costs.

 

Airport IT Trends Survey 2006 - Key facts and figures:

 

*      IT and telecommunications spend as a proportion of revenues dropped to 4.4% from
4.6% the previous year but in absolute terms remained stable at $3 billion;
*      30% of respondents have already implemented Video over IP, replacing expensive
CCTV, and 51% intend to do the same over the next two years;
*      Baggage tracking services have been implemented by 18% while 45% intend to do so
over the next two years;
*      51% have managed network services for the entire airport campus while 41% intend
to implement this over the next two years;
*      Self-service passenger boarding at gates has been adopted by 16% while 39% intend
to adopt it over the next two years;
*      Only 5% of respondents intend to deploy dedicated use check-in kiosks over the
next two years while 47% intend deploying CUSS (common use self-service) kiosks for
multiple airline use;
*      Radio Frequency Identification tags have only been minimally introduced in the
following areas Employee ID (14%); Baggage (9%); Asset Management (1%); and Cargo
(2%).
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