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Airlines and airports seen spending nearly US$33b on IT in 2017: SITA

AIRLINES and airports are estimated to spend nearly US$33 billion on information technology (IT) this year, according to the latest SITA 2017 Air Transport IT Trends Insights.

SITA's research of the world's airlines and airports shows that IT spend remains strong. Airlines' spend as a percentage of revenue will rise to an estimated 3.30 per cent, or US$24.3 billion, in 2017. For airports, the rise is to an expected 5.05 per cent, or US$8.43 billion, this year.

Looking ahead to 2018 over 70 per cent of airlines and 88 per cent of airports are expecting IT spend to increase or remain at the same levels.

Cyber security, cloud services and passenger self-service are the top three priorities for air transport industry. Nearly all - 95 per cent of airlines and 96 per cent of airports - plan to invest in major research and development (R&D) on cyber security initiatives over the next three years.

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Ilya Gutlin, president, Air Travel Solutions, SITA, said the air transport industry is going through digital transformation and focusing its attention on protecting the business and passengers.

"Cyber-attacks are a very real threat in the highly interwoven air transport industry so building solid defenses is essential. Cloud services provide important efficiencies which play a key role in keeping costs down. Investments in self-service improve passenger satisfaction as they welcome the independence and efficiencies it delivers."