SITA CEO outlines technology’s central role in air transport’s future

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The future of air transport will be driven by a digital transformation in the industry, according to Barbara Dalibard, CEO of global IT provider SITA, who was speaking at the Asia Pacific Air Transport IT Summit being held in Singapore (April 18-19).

The event sees C-level airline and airport executives from across the region come together to discuss the future of the industry. By 2036, Asia-Pacific is expected to handle over 4.1 billion passengers, equating to more than half of the world’s passenger traffic.

Despite the impressive growth statistics, this huge sum of travelers comes with its challenges to infrastructure and processes, in addition to adhering to constantly evolving security regulations around the world.

Speaking at the event, Dalibard said, “Smart use of technology can help manage the challenges of rising passenger numbers, limited infrastructure and increased complexity. At SITA, we are looking at opportunities to harness technologies including biometrics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics and blockchain to transform the industry.

“Already biometrics is becoming more commonplace at airports around the world and is delivering secure seamless travel from check-in to boarding. Today we work with around 40 governments providing border management solutions. And we have biometric self-service solutions operating worldwide, including in Australia, the USA, Mexico and the Middle East.

“By embracing the Internet of Things and connecting everything across the industry we will produce more data which can be used with artificial intelligence to create valuable insights and expose new ways of working. Over the next 20 years, this use of digital technologies to improve service, operations and efficiency will have profound effects on the air transport industry.”An example of this is the evolving regulation surrounding baggage movement, with IATA Resolution 753, which calls for increasing baggage tracking, coming into effect this year. This tracking produces data that reveals where improvements can be made in baggage-management processes.

Dalibard added, “While we won’t see a sudden change in 2018, it is a real turning point for the industry as airlines begin to unlock the value of the tracking data for the 4.65 billion bags they carry.

“Looking further ahead, combining data collected from bag tracking with data science and machine learning promises even more significant improvements in baggage handling operations. This in turn will reduce costs and improve the passenger experience, a transformation that will be welcomed by everyone.”

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Kirstie joined the team in early 2017 and brings writing, communications and client experience with her. Now an assistant editor, she produces content for our magazines and websites. Away from the office, you will find her blogging on her lifestyle website or searching the internet for photos of sausage dogs.

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