As a result of heightened regional tensions, some of which target air travel, many airports have shifted their investment focus to security. According to the 2016 Airport IT Trends Survey, airports are placing a higher priority on IT investments for passenger and airport security with 50% rating it a high priority, up from 37% last year.
While investment in passenger processing technology still ranks the number one priority for airports, it has dropped from 73% in 2015 to 59% this year as security rises in priority.
The growing influence of mobile
The survey shows that self-service and mobile dominate the airport landscape. This year for the first time SITA’s research indicates the majority of airports worldwide provide self-service check-in for both passengers and bags. Looking ahead, self-service will continue to dominate with two-thirds of airports planning major IT investments in this area. The growing influence of mobile is also evident with nearly every airport worldwide (90%) undertaking either a major program or a trial project related to mobile services and 74% trialing or piloting context-aware and location-based technology in the next five years.
Matthys Serfontein, SITA vice president, Airport Solutions, said: “The technology trends at airports reflect the changing world. Investments to support passenger and airport security are up while the increasing demands of the connected traveler for self-service and mobile services are also being met.”
Purchasing airport services
“This year we see a shift where airports are also looking to technology to generate non-aeronautical revenue. By 2019, 84% hope to make money by enabling the purchase of airport services through their mobile app. And there is also a clear trend to provide hybrid public Wi-Fi services that combine the convenience of limited free Wi-Fi with commercial offerings. Over the next three years, the proportion of airports planning to offer unrestricted free Wi-Fi will drop from 74% to 54%. This change is mainly driven by airports in North America and the Middle East.”
Using kiosks for services beyond check-in and bag drop to generate revenue will also appear at the world’s airports. Today a very small number of airports have kiosks that allow passengers to download digital content, such as the latest films, before they board the flight but by 2019, 30% plan to do so. By that time, 42% also expect to have kiosks that enable sales transactions.
SITA’s research takes a look further into the airport’s digital transformation exploring areas such as wearables, biometrics, robotics and context-aware services and how airports plan to use these innovative technologies over the next five to ten years. In light of the increased focus on security, it is not surprising that interest in biometric technology, which supports fast and secure passenger processing, is high. More than one third of airports will invest in single biometric travel token projects in the next five years jumping to the majority (52%) within the decade.
These findings are from the 13th annual SITA Airport IT Trends and reflect the views of more than 225 airports who together manage 36% of the global traffic or 2.3 billion passengers. This year 50% of survey respondents came from airports within the Top 100 in terms of revenue. The 2016 Airport IT Trends Survey is an extensive annual study of IT trends within the global airport industry co-sponsored by SITA and Airports Council International (ACI), in association with Airline Business.
Congo Airways Orders Two Embraer E195-E2 Jets
Congo Airways Embraer Aircraft (Source: Embraer)
Just six months after their first E2 order, Congo Airways has placed a firm order for two E195-E2 jets. This is in addition to their existing two aircraft order for the smaller E190-E2. The four aircraft deal has a total value of USD 272 million at current list prices. This new firm order will be included in Embraer’s 2020 fourth quarter backlog.
Desire Bantu, CEO of Congo Airways said, “We see an opportunity in our market and the crisis we are all facing for Congo Airways to emerge stronger – which is why we are not waiting to place this further order. These new jets will allow us to extend our passenger and cargo operations regionally to high demand destinations such as Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Abidjan.
As we prepare for future success, we will have the flexibility, and the right sized, most efficient aircraft, to serve our customers as the market returns.”
“Africa has for too long been thought of as a market of mostly low frequencies and long thin routes. As airlines start ramp up their operations, the E2 family of aircraft is perfectly positioned to right size routes previously operated by narrowbodies, while keeping frequencies and adjusting capacity to new levels,” said Cesar Pereira, vice president of Europe, Middle East and Africa, Embraer Commercial Aviation. “Congo Airways will benefit from the flexibility provided by the common cockpit on the E2 jet family meaning their flight crews can transition seamlessly between variants.”
The E195-E2 will be configured in a dual class 120 seat layout, 12 in business, 108 in economy. An additional 25% capacity when compared to the 96-seat configuration chosen by Congo Airways for their E190-E2s. The E2 deliveries are expected to begin in 2022 with Embraer and Congo Airways continuing to review the potential to anticipate the beginning of the deliveries. There are currently 206 Embraer aircraft operating in Africa with 56 airlines in 29 countries.
Ozow partners FlySafair to improve air travel access for millions of South Africans
Thomas Pays, Co-Founder and CEO of Ozow
A new partnership between digital payments company Ozow and leading local airline FlySafair is making it easier than ever for South Africans to purchase flight tickets.
According to Ozow co-founder and CEO Thomas Pays, the vast majority of South Africans have no credit cards and require alternative means of purchasing goods and services online. “There are more than 49 million bank accounts but only eight million active credit cards in South Africa. This poses the threat of locking millions out of digital and financial services. As an impact-driven and market-led company, Ozow is at the forefront of developing products, services and partnerships that enable greater digital and financial inclusion for all consumers and businesses. The partnership with South Africa’s most innovative and consumer-friendly airline is one more step toward this goal.”
Kirby Gordon, Chief Marketing Officer at FlySafair, says: “We’ve always respected the need to offer customers without credit cards various options to make payments both online and offline. We’re pleased to have partnered with Ozow who offer a safe, reliable and easy-to-use option for our customers.”
While airlines have been grounded and air travel limited since lockdown was first implemented in March 2020, South Africans generally love to fly. In 2017 alone, the Airports Company of South Africa tracked more than 40 million passengers traveling through the country’s nine largest airports.
Pays adds that the two companies share a commitment to ensure their services are accessible to all South Africans. “As a business, we work to break down barriers that keep more consumers from enjoying the benefits of digital payments. Cash remains the most expensive and least secure method of payment, but most South Africans still rely on cash payments for most of their purchases. By partnering with likeminded, consumer-led businesses such as FlySafair, we can accelerate the decashing of the South African economy and bring digital and financial empowerment to all South Africans.”
iFly Aviation Takes Young Aviators And STEM Program To Uganda
Kampala, Uganda: iFly is an aviation enterprise which is dedicated to bridging the gap between industry and community through inclusive youth empowerment programs. Our core focus is social innovation in Aviation, Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) and driving our initiatives alongside key stakeholders in order to facilitate and enable the next generation.
Our purpose is to elevate learners by empowering them, motivating and giving insight into opportunities that exist within the aviation industry and educating them along the way. As part of our efforts to drive our initiatives across Africa as to create a pan African movement, we have recently launched our programs in Uganda, this being the second country after South Africa.
We hosted our first event at Nakasero secondary school in Uganda, to the delight of over 200 students. They were exposed to motivational talks including insights into aviation and its various opportunities. We had a flight simulator session where the students got exposed to a computer based flight simulator in order to see and learn first hand what happens in the cockpit during flight.
The event was also complimented by a first of its kind engine building project, an initiative of the Rolls Royce STEM program. Through this workshop, students got to build a 3D model Trent engine, the likes of which powers the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A350, 2 of the most popular wide body airliners in the world.
Our goal a to have such programs running across the continent and we would Like to invite any like minded and passionate people across Africa to join us as ambassadors and adopt iFly STEM under our blue print in their respective countries. We sincerely appreciate our ambassadors in Uganda for pulling off a successful first event. David Ssenkungu, Derrick Talemwa, Peter Mwesigwa and Hosea Datari.
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