Don’t get used to
the free, unlimited WiFi you’ve been enjoying at most airports in recent years.
That’s one lesson
that can be drawn from the Airport IT Trends Study released by air
transport information technology company SITA.
According to the study, 74% of airports around the world
currently offer unlimited free WiFi while 23% offer time-limited free
WiFi, with charges for additional use.
By 2019, 37% of airports will offer time-limited free
WiFi while the portion of airports in which WiFi will remain free for unlimited
use will drop to 54%, SITA forecasts.
SITA conducted the study by interviewing 110 senior IT
executives who collectively represent the view of more than 225 airports. Those airports represent 36% of global air traffic.
SITA said that many airports are looking to step up the
monetized service offerings that they offer on their apps.
“Over the next three years, survey responses indicate airports
are looking to recoup some of the cost of providing WiFi then using it
to support their mobile-commerce strategy,” the report says.
Among SITA’s other survey findings is that airport IT
teams are making security a higher budgeting priority. Fifty percent of IT teams in this year’s survey said
airport and passenger security is a high priority, up from 37% in 2015. That moved
security from fifth to second on the overall priority list of airport IT teams.
Topping that priority list, like last year, is passenger
processing, which was ranked as a high priority by 59% of the airports that
participated in the SITA study. The surveyors found that this year 26% of
airports offer fully self-service bag drops, up from 15% in 2015.