Further digitisation of passenger health verifications expected

Digitising passenger health verification will be a key area of investment for airlines and airports this year, according to a new report.

New findings from Sita’s 2021 Air Transport IT Insights found that staff across 81% of airlines performed manual verifications of health certificates in paper or scanned format in 2021.

It says airlines want to automate this process over the next three years, with 51% expected to invest in verification via mobile app, and 45% in kiosk-enabled health checks.

Digitising passenger health verification is an urgent requirement for airports as well as airlines, found SITA, which pointed out the need to standardise verification.

According to the tech firm’s 2021 insights, nearly half of major airports surveyed plan to implement mobile app-enabled verification. Almost a third have plans for verification via kiosks by 2024.

Budget-wise, the majority of airlines (84%) and airports (81%) expect to spend the same or more on IT in 2022 compared to 2021, with spending on automation of passenger processing seeing a significant rise.

David Lavorel, Sita’s chief executive officer for airports and borders, said: “The industry faces pressure from all sides with an urgent need to reduce costs by optimising operational efficiency while also adhering to new operational hurdles connected to Covid-19.”

Airlines are also prioritising new IT to make operations more sustainable, including data-driven flight path optimisation to enhance inflight efficiencies and reduce fuel burn.

Sébastien Fabre, Sita’s chief executive officer for aircraft, added: “Industry figures estimate improving aviation operations and infrastructure could reduce emissions by up to 10%.”

Sita’s insights report contains the views of more than 180 IT airport and airline decision makers across 45 countries.

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