In other words, printing boarding passes and checking bags are just the start of the growing do-it-yourself movement in passenger processes in airports worldwide, according to the 2014 SITA/ACI Airport IT Trends Survey.
The second-highest investment priority is passenger and airport security, say almost half (47%) of airports that participated in the survey. The report also highlights the importance of the connected traveler: More than 80% of airports plan to invest in self-service and mobile-related projects over the next three years.
IT spending among airports is set to increase, with 63% of chief information officers surveyed saying that their airport will have more money to invest in IT in absolute terms compared to last year.
Passenger self-service figures big in proposed spending. Among senior IT execs from 106 of the top 200 airport operators globally, more than a third (37%) say they plan to increase the number of check-in kiosks and almost a quarter (23%) plan to make kiosks available for other uses.
Among other findings:
- Almost one in six (17%) airports check in more than half of their passengers through a kiosk and expect that number to jump significantly by 2017.
- As almost all (97%) passengers now carry a mobile device, airports plan investments in technologies such as geo-location, near field communication (NFC) and iBeacons.
- Almost two out of three (60%) airports plan to invest in geo-location programs over the next three years. Of those, 49% plan to invest in NFC technology, 33% will invest in iBeacons and 16% will undertake a wearable technology project.
- Also during the next three years, the number of airports offering assisted bag drop is expected to rise from 38% to 74%, with unassisted bag drop rising from 16% to 62%.
- Most airports plan to expand services through mobile apps, with 78% focusing on customer relationship management (CRM), 73% on security wait-time notifications, 72% on way-finding and orientation and 65% on retail services.
- A total of 65% of Chinese airports already have a major self-service program in place; another 29% are running a self-service pilot project. More than one-third of China’s major airports also revealed that they plan to increase the number of check-in kiosks.