Airports around the world are boosting their investment on information technology (IT) to $6bn in 2013, according to the 2013 SITA/ACI/Airline business airport IT trends survey.
Nearly 90% of the airports surveyed see their IT spending increase or remain stable in 2013, with a particular focus on improving the passenger experience.
Over the past three years, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in IT investment was 12%, which outpaced airports' 2.83% CAGR in revenue.
The survey showed that airports worldwide have placed passenger processing technology on top priority; however, airports are also investing in technology to improve passenger services and information.
SITA chief executive officer Francesco Violante said: "Airports continue to invest in information technology to improve their operations and services. Our survey this year clearly shows that passengers are at the heart of this investment. As passenger traffic grows and airports aim to improve the passenger experience, technology is providing essential solutions, despite fluctuations in airport revenues."
By 2016, nearly 95% of airports plan to make investments in mobile apps to offer status information on flights and the airport, and to help passengers navigate through the airport.
About 75% of airports are expected to offer passenger services through social media by 2016, up from 56% today, while more than 80% of airports around the world will provide bag tag printing and assisted bag drop, making baggage self-service go mainstream.
There has been a growing importance on business intelligence (BI) which transforms data into useful and actionable information, with about 80% of airports planning to invest in new BI solutions for revenue optimisation and management by 2016.
Priorities for BI investment include airport operations, passenger flow monitoring and airport resource management; however, according to the survey only 8% of airports surveyed have fully achieved the data quality requirements for their current BI initiatives.
Factors such as data access and integration will continue to present challenges for airports as they implement BI solutions.
The tenth annual SITA survey was produced in association with Airports Council International (ACI) and Airline Business, and is based on responses from participants representing more than 255 airports globally.
The survey takes into account airports from all major regions of the world and represents 54% of global passenger traffic.