The Global Market for Advanced Airport Technologies

Published - May 2007| Analyst - Andrew McWilliams| Code - IAS024A
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Report Highlights

  • The global market for electronic, electro-optical, and other modern technologies used in airports to have been around $8.9 billion in 2006. BCC expects the market to reach $9.1 billion in 2007 and $13.1 billion in 2012 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5% over the next 5 years.
  • Communications systems are the largest segment of the market with a 23% share in both 2006 and 2012. Other major market segments in 2006 include passenger/ baggage/cargo handling and control (18%); security/fire/emergency services (17%); and air/ground traffic control (16%).
  • Digital signage systems are the fastest-growing segment with a CAGR of 20% over the next 5 years, increasing their market share from 9% in 2006 to a projected 17% in 2012. Other segments that are growing faster than the market as a whole include communications with a CAGR of 11.9% and air/ground traffic control (11.7%).


Airports are the backbone of the worldwide commercial air transportation system. The rapid growth of this sector creates a continuing need to expand airports and provide high-quality services. At the same time, technological, regulatory, security, and economic trends are placing new demands on airports.

A major example of technological developments that are forcing airports to introduce new technologies is the introduction of new super-jumbo aircraft such as the Airbus 380. The A380, which can carry up to 850 passengers in some configurations, will require many airports to upgrade their baggage handling systems and other ground infrastructure.

Regulatory developments often are tied to technological developments. For example, regulatory authorities such as the FAA are working toward the implementation of GPS-based approach and landing control systems such as LAAS (Local Area Augmentation System). In the future, at least some airports may be required to install LAAS or similar systems.

Airport security has been a major concern for decades due the vulnerability of commercial aircraft to hijacking. The first recorded aircraft hijacking was in the early 1930s, but there was a large increase in the number of hijacked aircraft in the late 1960s, initially to Cuba but later to the Middle East. Since then, the number of hijackings has decreased, but the horrific events of September 11, 2001 placed airport security in the limelight again. The result has been a worldwide crash effort to develop and deploy technologies to prevent terrorists from gaining access to aircraft.

On the economic front, the privatization of many formerly government-run airports around the world has created a growing class of airport operators with the financial means and the incentives to invest in modernizing their facilities and infrastructure. The modernization of facilities and systems can help these private airport operators improve their bottom line by cutting costs and increasing traffic and revenues.

The net result of these trends is that over the next 20 years airport operators are expected to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on new airport construction, expansion, and modernization.


This report contains:


  • Trends in the global airport industry that affect the demand for airport technologies
  • Advanced airport technologies that are in use or under development
  • Global market size, major segments, and growth trends
  • Key patents
  • Vendor profiles



The findings and conclusions of this report are based on information gathered from industry sources, including airports, airlines, engineering and consulting firms, and technology suppliers. Interview data were combined with information gathered through an extensive review of secondary sources such as trade publications, trade associations, company literature, and online databases to produce the projections contained in this report.

The base year for analysis and projection is 2006. With 2006 as a baseline, market projections were developed for 2007 to 2012. These projections are based on a combination of a consensus among the primary contacts combined with our understanding of the key market drivers and their impact from a historical and analytical perspective.

Methodologies and assumptions used to develop the market projections in this report are discussed at length under the various types of airport technology addressed. This report carefully documents data sources and assumptions. This way, readers can see how the market estimates were developed and, if they so desire, test the impact on the final numbers of changing assumptions such as price.


Andrew McWilliams, the author of this report, is a partner in the Boston-based international technology and marketing consulting firm, 43rd Parallel, LLC. He is also the author of numerous other Business Communications Co. studies, including several nanotechnology-related studies such as Nanotechnology: A Realistic Market Evaluation; Nanocatalysts; Nanosensors; Nanotechnology for Photonics; Nanotechnology for Consumer Products; and Nanotechnology in Life Sciences Applications.

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