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SITA analysis shows China as leading adopter of latest airport technologies

Analysis published today (March 10) by air transport IT provider SITA has shown that China’s airports are responding to modern-day passenger demands by providing higher levels of investment in innovative technology than anywhere else in the world.

Nearly three quarters of airports in mainland China (72%) are investing in new technology compared with 58% globally, while airlines in China are spending 38% of their IT budget on innovation compared with a global average of 32%.

China has the world’s fastest-growing domestic flight market and international travel is also soaring. Passenger numbers are expected to rise to 1.3 billion in 2034, 856 million more than 2014. However 93% of passengers have smartphones and are keen to use them and other personal technology for their journey. This presents opportunities to airlines and airports to offer services in a different way.

SITA’s analysis shows that passengers’ desire to use their own technology will lead to a major shift to ‘off-airport’ check-in. Passengers want less face-to-face contact at this stage of the journey. In fact, only 28% of passengers indicated a preference to use an airport counter for check-in. More than half of passengers (59%) said they would prefer to use their own technology to check-in for their next flight. In addition, 67% want to use their smartphones for identification purposes and access, including boarding the aircraft and entering airport lounges.

May Zhou, vice president and general manager, China, SITA, said, “Our global IT surveys cover trends from the perspective of passengers, airlines and airports. We combine this with SITA’s on-the-ground industry experience to provide a unique 360° view of technology investment and usage within air travel. We work with airlines and airports across China to identify opportunities, work together and invest in innovative technology that can meet and exceed the expectations of travelers. This is particularly challenging and rewarding during these times of fast-rising passenger numbers.”

“Change does not happen overnight, it is going to take time for the industry to deploy the infrastructure and services in a way that enables mass adoption by passengers. But change is coming, one area we see this happening is of the development of smart airports, where new technology such as sensors, beacons and business intelligence is used to deliver efficiencies. Investments are now being made. Over the next couple of years, 85% of airports are planning projects in sensor technologies while 82% plan to have business intelligence initiatives for passenger flow in place.”

To read more from SITA’s 360 China Report 2016 click here.

March 10, 2016


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