As the connected world of travel becomes a reality, 91 per cent of airlines plan to invest in cyber security programmes over the next three years, according to the Sita Airline IT Trends 2016 Survey published last month.
Three years ago less than half of airlines (47 per cent) said they were making advanced preparations to manage cyber risks – today this has doubled to 91 per cent.
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. This enables tracking, data collection, analysis and control, which necessitates more security. An overwhelming majority of airlines (68 per cent) are investing in IoT programmes in the next three years, up from 57 per cent this time last year.
A key area of IoT investment is in connected aircraft, which 46 per cent of airlines believe will give a better passenger experience. Today 37 per cent of airlines operate connected aircraft and this will jump to two thirds by 2019. Currently ‘internet via passenger devices’ is the service offered by most (33 per cent). Over the next three years big increases in services are expected with more than half of airlines planning to provide destination services and duty-free shopping apps, while 70 per cent plan to provide multi-media file streaming on passenger devices.
Providing passenger services via smartphones continues to be a key area of investment for airlines; 79 per cent are planning major investment over the next three years while a further 17 per cent are planning a pilot programme or R&D in this area.
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