The Middle-East and African Smart Airport Market is projected to witness a CAGR of over 2.5% during the forecast period.
- The construction of several new airports in the Middle-East is expected to generate significant demand for smart technologies in the coming years. Also, countries in Africa have plans to enhance the passenger handling capacity of airports. This may propel the growth of the market during the forecast period.
- The growing emphasis on the adoption of technologies, like automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and predictive analysis for a wide range of airport applications, to enhance the operational efficiency of the airports, is expected to drive the market in the years to come.
Key Market Trends
Increasing Air Passenger Traffic Necessitating the Adoption of Autonomous Technologies
In the Middle-East and African region, the number of people opting for air travel increased in the past few years. In 2019, airlines in this region accounted for over 12% of the global air passenger traffic. The increase in passenger traffic resulted in mounting pressure on airports and airlines, primarily to opt for advanced systems that can enhance their ground operations and support their motive of reducing aircraft turnaround time. Correspondingly, airports are using an array of automated technologies to facilitate the smooth flow of passengers and reduce turnaround times of the aircraft, thereby increasing the efficiency of the airports and the overall passenger experience. Increasing automation of the system is expected to revolutionize the entire process flow architecture in airports. Several autonomous technologies are being introduced in airports to enhance operational efficiency. For instance, the UAE is planning to expand the Dubai International airport, to handle 120 million passengers annually, by 2023, up from the current capacity of 90 million passengers. The country is drafting plans to induct autonomous, self-driving cars powered by artificial intelligence and 100% solar or electrical energy in the coming years, to help the Dubai Airport increase its efficiency in its day-to-day operations. Such developments are expected to enhance market prospects during the forecast period.
Saudi Arabia is Expected to Witness Significant Growth in the Middle-East and African Smart Airport Market
Saudi Arabia witnessed the highest number of passenger traffic and flight movements from airports in 2018. Its passenger traffic grew from 92.42 million passengers in 2017, to 99.86 million passengers in 2018, with an increase of 8%. Saudi Arabia is one of the few countries in the Middle-East and Africa to have undertaken an airport privatization program. This move is expected to increase the adoption of smart technologies in the country's airports. In 2018, Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation collaborated with SITA to modernize the country’s 26 airports by installing self-service-based procedures with kiosks, automated bag drops, and biometric single-token travel and payment systems. As a part of the technology upgrade, SITA is deploying its AirportConnect Open platform, which can be used by airlines to work seamlessly at airports. It also offers a self-service experience from check-in to boarding. Additionally, the platform delivers future-proof infrastructure and will support the implementation of new solutions, such as biometric single-token travel and common-use payment systems in the country's airports. Such developments are expected to bolster the market prospects in the country during the forecast period.
The Middle-East and African smart airport market is consolidated, with only a handful of players accounting for a major share of the market revenues. SITA, Honeywell International Inc., IBM Corporation, Siemens AG, and Amadeus It Group SA are some of the major players in the market. Mergers and acquisitions between the players, in the recent past, have helped the companies strengthen their market presence. Players are expected to adopt new technologies, like AI, automation, robotics, etc., into their products and solutions, which will help them gain new contracts with the airports.
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