Digital Transformation to Drive Growth in the Global Airport Information Technology, 2025
Airports Need to Embrace Digital Transformation to Enhance Passenger Experience and Improve Cost Efficiencies
Airports need to embrace digital transformation to enhance the passenger experience and improve cost efficiencies. This research service will focus on the global airport information technology market across the various Tiers of airports (5 Tiers in total) and across 6 key regions, Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and North America. Sensor technology is maturing and their cost is reducing considerably. These factors, along with low-latency communication technologies (5G communication) will drive large-scale adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) in airports in the long term. IoT will enable airports to optimally allocate resources, enhance the passenger experience, and reduce operational costs.
The future airport will be diversified, automated, passenger centric, and underpinned by secure and trusted data. There is an acknowledged shift in passenger expectations, with the ground experience becoming more important in the passenger journey. System integration leads to more competition among suppliers across airport touchpoints; consolidation is witnessed across key areas such as passenger processing, baggage handling, and operations management. Airports are focusing on solution providers that have an end-to-end solution portfolio for all their information technology requirements. There is an immediate requirement from airports to enhance passenger self-service and monitor safety guidelines compliance. This will require solution providers to accelerate innovation to deliver high-priority solutions for the post-pandemic market. Airports' information technology is largely based on legacy systems. This hinders their innovation and increases complexity for IT operations. There is slow adoption of cloud-based infrastructure and solutions as airports are gradually migrating workloads to the cloud infrastructure.
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly reduced the technology-spending capability of airports globally. Airports will still invest in digital solutions that are of high priority in the short term (e.g., passenger self-service, passenger flow management). System integration is a key challenge due to its complex and time-intensive nature. It is largely done by mature participants in the market and is a key market opportunity for solution providers. There has been a negative impact on the overall revenue of airports due to the drastic reduction in passenger traffic. However, investments into digital solutions are still active, as solution providers are developing solutions that can ensure a safe and healthy passenger experience (e.g., contactless self-service). Airports defer long-term projects that are time and cost intensive, whereas they prioritize solutions that are critical to attracting passengers and ensuring safety for passengers and employees.
Two key factors that are essential to the growth of this market are the type of airport ownership and estimated passenger traffic growth. Private airport operators have higher technology investment spending capability, high adoption rates of next-generation technologies (e.g., artificial intelligence), reduced bureaucratic challenges, and a high focus on ensuring a seamless and enjoyable passenger experience. Airports with high passenger traffic will need to ensure smooth transition of passengers at the airport and reduce aircraft turnaround times during peak hours. Physical expansion of infrastructure to facilitate growing passenger footfall and additional aircraft is a cost and time-intensive process with multiple challenges, such as disruption to current operations and government and regulatory approvals. Airports in Europe and Asia-Pacific meet the above-mentioned requirements and are key growth engines for this market. Tier 1 and Tier 2 airports across all regions contribute to approximately 74% of the global airport IT market during the forecast period. High passenger traffic, a large number of complex IT systems, high focus on minimizing disruption to operations, and a higher potential to invest more in technology are the key factors for such a high contribution to the airport IT market from these airport Tiers.
In the long term, the opportunities in integration and consulting services for solution providers will grow. Integrating new solutions such as machine learning based forecasting and passenger flow management solutions to the legacy systems of airports is a complex process with a high risk of disruption in operations. As airports migrate to cloud-based infrastructure and solutions, medium- and small-sized participants can also play the role of integrators. As airports are mitigating challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and physical infrastructure constraints, there is an opportunity for solution providers to provide consultancy services that will help airports face these challenges in a better manner.