Smart Airport Market size is set to gain significant traction over 2021-2027, due to the emergence of big data analytics as a computing paradigm and enabler of intelligent airport management. IoT technology is generating opportunities for airports to boost operational efficiency, reduce costs, and offer the best travel experiences, which could also drive the industry demand in the years ahead.
Smart airports refer to those airports that rely on the use of GPS, sensors, IoT, and connected technologies to digitally optimize planning and operation tasks and support operational staff. The smart airport applications include digital wayfinding, automation of immigration processes, facial recognition, automated gates, and health monitoring systems, among others.
Growing investment interest towards airport infrastructure in developing countries like India is among the key factors fostering the smart airport market trends. Following India’s announcement to attract investments in its airports, an additional 1000 routes and 100 airports have been proposed to be constructed by 2024. Additionally, strong emphasis on digitalization of airside operations to reduce disruptions and achieve operational efficiency will also escalate the demand for smart airport solutions over the estimated timeline.
With regards to the application spectrum, the smart airport market from the passenger screening segment will exhibit a high growth rate through 2027. This is driven by the implementation of smart security programs as a part of airport expansion plans worldwide. In 2021, Hamad International Airport partnered with Smiths Detection to install an innovative screening technology at the security checkpoint to provide unprecedented levels of security and efficiency for passengers.
North America is likely to emerge as a lucrative revenue prospect for the smart airport industry by 2027, due to increasing airport infrastructural development grants for U.S. airports. The Trump administration, in 2020, awarded above $1.2 billion via the Federal Aviation Administration to over 405 airports across the U.S. These grants were aimed at boosting airport safety and infrastructure and aid in recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Strong focus on the implementation of security procedures at airports in the U.S. will further amplify the regional industry forecast in the coming years.
Prominent players operating in the smart airport market include Amadeus IT Group, Cisco Systems, T-Systems International GmbH, SITA, IBM Corporation, Siemens AG, Honeywell International Inc., and Rockwell Collins (Raytheon Technologies), among others. These companies are implementing varied strategies such as business expansions, partnerships, and acquisitions to sustain their strong presence in the global market.
For example, in August 2021, Kansas City International Airport announced the deployment of Siemens’ building automation, fire and life safety, and security systems, as well as SITA’s IT networks and next-gen airport systems in its new Build KCI terminal project. These systems were adopted to build a smart airport terminal, reduce maintenance and operational costs, and improve passenger experiences through automation.
The economic downturn and travel restrictions being implemented by governments in light of the coronavirus pandemic have hit the airport businesses hard. Over the past months, air travel has sharply reduced, with several airlines cutting capacity to limit the spread of the virus. This significant fall in airport traffic and revenue could create challenges to the adoption of smart airport systems.
Despite the decline in flight volumes due to the pandemic, the implementation of innovative technologies and high emphasis on automation in airports may help the smart airport market regain momentum. According to SITA’s air transport information technology report, biometric technology has become a major focus for airport investment, with 64% of the airports targeting to launch self-boarding gates using ID and biometric documentation by 2023.