Global IT company SITA has published a report revealing that 91% of airlines plan to invest in cyber-security programmes over the next three years.

The SITA Airline IT Trends 2016 Survey was conducted among top 200 airlines worldwide.

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According to the survey, the number of airlines preparing to manage cyber risks has doubled compared to three years ago.

Cyber-security also focuses on moving to the internet of things (IoT) in which a large number of physical objects will become connected to the internet, thereby enabling tracking, data collection, analysis and control, which requires advanced security.

A large majority of 68% of airlines have plans to invest in IoT programmes over the next three years, which has increased from 57% this time last year.

About 46% of airlines believe that connected aircraft offer a better passenger experience, with 37% of the airlines already operating connected aircraft.

SITA Market Insight director Nigel Pickford said: "Airlines are investing in areas which will promote a connected world of travel for the benefit of passengers and the workforce.

"We see new priorities attracting more investment, with cyber-security and electronic flight bag solutions coming to the fore in this year’s research.

"The initiatives to realise the ‘Internet of Things’ include smart bag tagging to enable continuous tracking, which is planned by 61% of airlines by 2019. Nearly half (47%) of airlines are also planning IT programmes for single token travel for passenger identification."

Internet via passenger devices is another service which is at present offered by 33% of the airlines.

"Airlines are investing in areas which will promote a connected world of travel for the benefit of passengers and the workforce."

Over the next three years, more than half of airlines intend to provide destination services and duty-free shopping apps, while 70% plan to offer multi-media file streaming on passenger devices.

The report also reveals that in the future a large proportion of airlines’ IT budget is expected to be spent on innovation rather than service continuity.

About 79% of the airlines are planning to invest in passenger services via smartphones over the next three years, while another 17% is planning a pilot programme, or research and development in this area.

Services offered to travellers on tablets will also notice significant investment with 71% of airlines planning major programmes for these devices, compare to the 63% last year.

Image: 79% of airlines intend to invest in passenger services via smartphones over the next three years. Photo: courtesy of SITA.