INVESTING IN INNOVATION
IT can help airports keep pace with rising demand and meet growing passenger expectations, writes Bruno Spada, head of airport IT at Amadeus. The airport as we know it is evolving in response to a continually changing operating environment where more demands than ever before are being placed on them to up their game.
Firstly, passenger numbers continue to rise year-on-year, placing increased pressure on airport infrastructure. Secondly, the world’s airports are entering an especially competitive era. Downward pressure on landing fees are forcing them to look to ancillary services, such as retail and other non-aeronautical options, to drive and bolster revenues. This is true of many airports, from the smaller ones catering to regional traffic to the mega-hubs that connect the globe.
As always, change provides both significant challenges and opportunities to airports. By investing in technology, airports are able to build more compelling offers to airlines, differentiating themselves from competition and delivering value in terms of operational effectiveness and passenger processing.
Investment in technological innovation also allows airports to meet rising passenger expectations in terms of personalisation, speed of transit and access to information during times of disruption.
Much of the transportation sector has often approached technology and innovation with caution. Understandably, considering systems are supporting mission critical processes that keep travellers moving.
Cloud technology gives much more flexibility to the airlines, drastically cutting the length of time it takes to open new routes, from months to days. This is a crucial innovation when it comes to attracting and retaining airlines in a highly competitive market.
What unites airports, airlines and ground handlers is the passenger, which is why it makes sense to look at how technology can be deployed to benefit the passenger, and in turn the industry at large.
One area which offers significant benefits to both the passenger and the industry is biometrics. For passengers, lengthy queues at check-in, immigration or at the boarding gate can be some of the most frustrating aspects of travel. Biometrics has the potential to remove these frustrations.
Within the next 5-10 years, biometrics will have a transformative effect on passenger processing, making a tangible difference to the experience of passengers. At Amadeus, we can imagine an airport free from friction points and one that makes passports and boarding passes a thing of the past.