In the face of anticipated delays, high airfares, and airport congestion known to come with summer rush, travellers are not discouraged from embarking on air travel, according to the preliminary findings of the 2023 SITA Passenger IT Insights report.
The report reveals that a significant portion of passengers, 32 per cent to be precise, expressed anxiety about flight cancellations while booking their next flight. Additionally, nearly two out of ten passengers cited concerns regarding congestion within airports and pointed to the issue of soaring airfares.
These worries were largely rooted in past experiences, as 56 per cent of respondents admitted to having encountered delays or cancellations, and 48 per cent had endured long queues at airports.
Surprisingly, despite these concerns, travelers are more determined than ever to take to the skies. On average, passengers anticipate taking 4.7 flights this year, compared to 4.2 flights in 2019. This increase in flight frequency is primarily driven by frequent flyers, with the percentage of passengers planning more than 10 flights in 2023 rising from six per cent in 2019 to 10 per cent this year.
SITA CEO, David Lavorel, said, “It is encouraging for our industry that passengers want to travel and want to travel better in light of some of the challenges airports and airlines have experienced with congestion in the past year.”
He acknowledged the importance of addressing passengers’ concerns to enhance their overall travel experience. With a clear intention to travel more this year, passengers’ expectations should be met through the implementation of increased automation, among other measures.
Lavorel emphasized that SITA’s earlier research indicates that airport and airline Chief Information Officers are taking these concerns seriously by driving digital transformation. The industry’s expenditure on information technology is predicted to sustain its steady year-on-year growth since 2020, enabling digitalization and automation. Last year alone, airline and airport IT spending reached an estimated US$37 billion and US$6.8 billion, respectively.
The 2023 SITA Passenger IT Insights report is based on a survey conducted in April of this year, involving over 6,000 passengers from 27 countries.