How technology will shape airports of the future


Growing traveler expectations, an ever-increasing number of passengers and a need for personalization means that more and more airports are beginning to prioritize frictionless travel.

Plus, with so much competition for each passenger, the evolution and expansion of airline routes, and growth in non-aeronautical revenues, key players in the industry are rethinking how airports need to operate in the future.

To better understand how to manage these pressures, Amadeus has spoken with leaders in the travel industry to hear which trends they believe will shape the airport of the future.

Automation: According to IATA, the Asia-Pacific region is estimated to receive an additional 2.1 billion annual passengers by 2036. To address this rise in passenger numbers, airport operators will increasingly look to automation to extract more capacity out of existing infrastructure.

Dr Thomas Landgrebe, Senior Software Engineer, ICM Airport Technics, an Amadeus company, said, “Automation of services will facilitate a smoother flow of passengers in, through and around the airport, easing congestion. They also offer a more personalized service in the process. For example, automatic bag drops allow passengers to retrieve their booking biometrically instead of using a boarding pass, saving valuable seconds that would otherwise compound as hundreds of passengers check their bags onto flights. Less congestion across these touchpoints will allow the airport of the future to become more experiential, offering passengers more time to explore retail and entertainment options throughout the terminal.”

Off-Site Services: Advances in technology are facilitating greater opportunities for off-site passenger handling. Many airports and travel stakeholders are using the cloud to enable pop-up check-in and baggage drop services.

Matt Lee, CEO of OACIS, said, “To cope with the rising passenger numbers, airports will have to use cloud-based technology to alleviate the congestion of passenger processing. We’ve been using the cloud to roll out our ‘pop-up’ check-in kiosks, which we can deploy in any location that’s convenient for the passenger. The main benefit being these are scalable according to demand, and require no new infrastructure investment. In the future, we’re going to see off-airport services become the norm, while check-in halls are reduced and repurposed.”

Biometrics: Investment in biometric technologies will rise as airports look to increase throughput, while streamlining the passenger journey, creating a frictionless experience at every touchpoint.

Faisal Ariff, Founder and CEO of BorderPass, said, “As other airport processes are becoming more modernized and efficient; processes around the airport, such as security, are beginning to develop bottle necks throughout the terminal. In fact, we’re seeing some travelers choose flights based on queuing times. Fortunately, the uptake of biometric technology has the ability to ease the pressure across multiple touchpoints around the airport. We’ve seen airports already exploring and trialing biometrics. The industry needs to continue to test and innovate the technology to create seamless experiences for all travelers.”

Greener Airports: An increasing concern for the global travel industry is the carbon footprint left by all travel stakeholders. In response to public pressure, the stakeholders are exploring ways to offset emissions and become more environmentally sustainable.

Sarah Samuel, Head of Airport IT, Amadeus, Asia Pacific, said, “Cloud technology presents the industry with a method to dramatically reduce emissions. Airports run servers and data centers through the terminal which are consuming a large amount of electricity. The cloud allows airports to remove the energy consuming hardware and centralize this, meaning airports have the ability to significantly reduce their carbon emissions.”

Scalability: The cloud enables airports to be more flexible, scaling operations up or down based on demand. At peak times, such as public holidays, festivals, or national sporting events, additional passenger handling services can be rolled out quickly and without the need for any fixed infrastructure, as systems connect via the internet.

Andy C Bien, Chief Information Officer, Hong Kong Airport, said, “Digitally transforming to create a new airport experience is a common goal for many airports. This can be achieved using the cloud. We’ve been using the cloud to deploy iCUSS check-in kiosks, allowing passengers to check-in from locations outside of the terminal, such as train platforms, hotels or convention centers. By using the cloud we’re able to completely revolutionize our airport experience and alleviate the challenges of the customer journey.”

© Asia Travel Tips

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

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