91% airlines preparing to invest in cyber security

A whopping 91 per cent of the airlines globally are planning to invest in cyber security programmes over the next three years, a survey conducted by airline solutions and technology provider SITA has said. The SITA Airline IT Trends 2016 Survey on the world’s top 200 airlines has inferred “that the cyber security in airlines is progressing”.
Three years ago, 47 per cent of the airlines had said that they were making advanced preparations to manage cyber risks.

Today, this figure has nearly doubled to 91 per cent. Airlines are investing in areas which will promote a connected world of travel for the benefit of passengers and the workforce,” SITA Director, Market Insight, Nigel Pickford said. SITA sees new priorities attracting more investment, with cyber security and electronic flight bag solutions coming to the fore in this year’s research, he added.

The focus on cyber security also reflects the move to the Internet of Things (IoT), in which a vast number of physical objects will become connected to the internet, thus enabling tracking, data collection, analysis and control, which necessitates more security, the survey said. “The initiatives to realise the IoT include smart bag tagging to enable continuous tracking, which is planned by 61 per cent of the airlines by 2019,” Pickford said.

Nearly half the airlines are also planning IT programmes for single token travel for passenger identification, he added. Another trend is more software development in-house and the shift to outsource IT operations. In the future, a growing proportion of airlines IT budgets is likely to be spent on innovation rather than service continuity, with innovation rising to 36 per cent of IT and telecommunications spend in 2016, the survey said. “Providing passenger services via smartphones continues to be a key area of investment for airlines. Seventy nine per cent of them are planning major investments over the next three years while a further 17 per cent are planning a pilot programme or R&D in this area,” it added.

The survey said the services to passengers on tablets will also see significant investment with 71 per cent of airlines planning major programmes for these devices. Many airlines are also planning to use social media and physical location to tailor personalised offers for passengers by 2019, it added.