SITA predicts travel’s coming ‘megatrends’

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A new report from SITA claims to have identified several ‘megatrends’ that the air transport IT specialist says will exert “an immense influence” on air travel over the next decade, and that industry, governments and technology will need to adapt to. This report, titled ‘Meet the Megatrends’, examines 12 emerging technological, societal, traveller, and economic trends that could alter the travel industry by 2033.

One of the key trends identified in the report is Gen Z and millennial travellers driving a digital transformation of the transport industry, demanding a more integrated digital journey, and accelerating the digital way of life. Privacy, digital identity rights, and controls for passengers have been flagged as a priority for passengers, opening the door to a future where people can travel from everywhere to anywhere without the need for physical documents or being stopped for identification checks.

Another trend is the automation and emergence of smart airports, which would reshape the workforce, give rise to a ‘flattened’ business organisations, and enable streamlined operations through technology. SITA says that, by 2030, metaverse operations will be commonplace at leading airports and play a vital role in optimising processes, avoiding disruption, and facilitating intuitive, immersive control of intelligent airports. This in turn will require new skills and create new opportunities for employees in the industry.

Meanwhile, electric air vehicles are expected to be ubiquitous at major international airports by the end of the decade, operating as an auxiliary service and revenue stream for airports and airlines. This year alone, investment in the Urban Air Mobility industry has grown rapidly, with US$4.7 billion committed to the development of eVTOL vehicles.

These trends, and the other 10 in the report, are not disparate, but rather would operate in an evolving ecosystem where emerging technologies interconnect the trends and help drive them forward. Data is at the heart of this ecosystem, and SITA says the increasing willingness of providers to share data across the wider travel industry will help further accelerate these trends and pave the way to the more connected, seamless travel experience that passengers want.

Ilkka Kivelä, VP of strategy and innovation at SITA said, “The air transport industry is at a post-pandemic crossroads, facing challenges from all sides. While the travel recovery accelerates globally, airports and airlines are scrambling to provide the seamless travel experience passengers expect, often with slashed workforces and squeezed budgets. The climate crisis demands swifter and more decisive industry action to make travel more sustainable. We now have an opportunity to reimagine the world of travel, connect the dots and transform travel with bold solutions that cross sectors and exploit the latest technologies.”

The report can be accessed at: https://www.sita.aero/innovation/meet-the-megatrends/

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Ever since his first flight on a TriStar, Adam has loved air travel, and since becoming editor of the Aircraft Interiors International brand he has really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with the latest aircraft and airline products before they are even launched. Adam co-ordinates the running of the magazine, from commissioning articles and artwork, to ensuring that high standards of quality are maintained, as well as managing online content. Adam is proud to sit on the jury of the Crystal Cabin Awards and to have laid on the bed in Etihad's Residence.

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