Airports Launching Into Technology Advancements For Improving Passenger Experiences

Technology continues to develop into an initial part of businesses and an element of daily life. However, in the aviation industry there has definitely shown some areas of opportunities that can be improved.

Earlier this year, air passengers in Australia had long delays due to glitches with the e-gate, which forced Australian Border Force officers to go back to manual checks at some of the country’s biggest airports.

British airports also had major IT failures earlier in June. Manchester Airport had IT issues with their check-in. The following month of June, passengers were forced to travel without their luggage due to a baggage handling system failure. Bristol Airport had a system failure, which shutdown the display boards at the airport. It wasn’t just airports, British Airports had a ‘worldwide’ IT failure, which resulted in delays and cancellations to hundreds of flights.

In September, air traffic control systems were also affected, where France had an outage that spread across Europe. Germany’s state-owned air traffic authority were also not immune, where Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS), in March suffered a “software malfunction” that resulted in problems at four of the country’s busiest airports.

At the the World ATM Congress 2019, the Functional Airspace Block Europe Central (FABC) deputy chairman of communications, Raimund Fridich, alerted that these were difficult times ahead, and further added “continuing growth in air traffic, the implementation of new technologies, onset of various new airspace users, and requirements for more varied services and skill sets in ATM”.

This sector is facing, in what one report stated was a “demographic shift to a digital age”, where passengers are looking forward to technology enhancements to improve their airport experiences.

Cybersecurity

In 2018, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu said, ““In an industry as interconnected as air transport, we cannot lose sight of the fact that a single cyber incident will likely impact multiple companies and stakeholders.” The agency published recent guidelines, Global Aviation Security Plan, for steps the industry and government need to take in securing the risks in cybersecurity.

The shift towards a digital age has become a crucial element for airports, where spending billions of dollars into enhancing their technology and security ensuring passengers have great experiences has yet to begin. Airports, airlines, and passengers integrated into one platform has never been created before due to the big data challenges, and crucial efficiency in data integrity.

Check-in

For many years airlines have been operating their own check-in systems, built in-house. As defined by the International Airport Transport Association (IATA), ‘range of services, specifications, and standards enacted to enable multiple airlines, service providers, or other users to share physical check-in or gate podium positions’, which relates to all operations channeled through the Common Use Passenger Processing Systems (CUPPS).

Utilization of CUPPS reduces costs, and also offers support & maintenance. According to AiQ Consulting, “CUPPS reduces the cost for airlines and airports, simplifying procurement, installation, support and ongoing maintenance of passenger processing and operations.” Passengers processing and operations are all regulated via this system from kiosks to boarding controls, which creates a high dependency on one system.

Baggage

Getting the design right is crucial for ensuring there are no blockages. Airline staff need to have the right training and systems need to  be user-friendly for passengers to avoid any confusion or difficulty. Passengers safety is the utmost importance and concern for any airport, where ensuring baggage systems need to have sensors to identify human interference, especially if they are children falling onto belts. 

Baggage usually tend to arrive when passengers have been impatiently waiting. The design of ensuring there are no blockages in the process, with a system that is efficient and produces a full overview of the operations can seem like a tedious, complex task.

How can we eliminate risk?

As technology enhancements increases, the efficiency of operations integrated with software solutions creates an efficient ecosystem for airports.

Creating full fledged IT solutions with contingency plans are the next steps in ensuring airports deliver a high satisfaction experience to their passengers. A digital ecosystem which consists of airports, airlines, and passengers all integrated into one seamlessly efficient platform enables management to oversee future expansion plans or proactively tackle foreseen issues.

Taking a preventive measure with the means of advanced technology applications, such as A.I (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning) to automatically predict, allocate, or solve potential issues couldn’t have been made easier for airports. Finding the right balance between automation and human interaction at airports is a challenge that mDrift Technology crafts custom solutions for, in terms of IoT, AI, ML, and many more.

As we head into 2020, the year of RPAs (Robotic Process Automation), integrating custom solutions to enhance airport operations for passengers, and airlines will become a race. Get in touch for a free business consulting on how mDrift Technologies can help you achieve your digital transformation in airports.

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