Research released today by global IT provider SITA says that airlines and airports alike are making biometric technology a priority investment. The SITA 2018 Air Transport IT Insights was conducted worldwide and discovered that over the next three years, 77 percent of airports and 71 percent of airlines are looking into the possibility of biometric ID.

“Secure and seamless travel is a must for the air transport industry. It is encouraging to see that both airlines and airports are investing in biometric technology to deliver a secure, paperless way to identify passengers across multiple steps of the journey,” says Barbara Dalibard, CEO of SITA. “We have already seen great success where we have implemented it at airports across the world.”

The most common form of biometric ID is currently implemented in identity verification at self-service check-in kiosks. This is already in use at 41 percent of airports and 74 percent have plans to deploy the technology by the end of 2021. Self-boarding gates using biometrics with ID documentation, such as a passport, are also set to become commonplace over the next three years, with 59 percent of airports and 63 percent of airlines expecting to use them.

Also included in the study are the challenges that may arise when trying to embrace biometric technology. More than one third of airlines cite integrating the tools and technologies at airports, and a lack of standards for processes and technologies for integrating checks, as the major challenges. For airports, the situation is similar, though 39 percent of them say meeting government and legislative requirements is a major challenge.

As far as artificial intelligence goes, airports and airlines alike are investing, although their uses of it diverge. Airlines are looking at the potential of using AI for virtual agents and chatbots with 85 percent planning to use it here by 2021. Some 79 percent of airports are currently using, or planning to use, AI for predictive analysis to improve operational efficiency.

Over 180 senior IT executives at the top airlines and airports, representing 39 percent of global airports and 27 percent of global airline passenger traffic took part in the 2018 research. The 2018 results once again provide a clear insight on the air transport industry’s IT strategic thinking and developments.