Tech savvy travellers driving airport strategies
The demands of the growing number of tech-savvy travellers will have the biggest impact on the digital plans of airports and airlines over the next six years to 2025, according to industry executives quizzed for SITA’s new report, 2025: Air Travel for a Digital Age.
The report claims that by 2025, 68% of all passengers will be digital travellers and will expect to manage their travel in much the same way they do every other aspect of their daily lives – using their mobile phones.
This demographic shift, says the report, has created digital travellers who are demanding more automation and hands-on control over each step of their journey.
In particular, they expect to use their mobile phone to access services ranging from baggage location notifications, to boarding and payments.
They also expect their trip to be delivered as a single, unified experience across airports, airlines, border control and other modes of transport – from the moment they leave home to when they arrive at their destination.
SITA CEO, Barbara Dalibard, notes: “This demographic shift brings with it the expectation to use technology everywhere – including during travel. This will have a profound impact on how passengers interact with airports and airlines by 2025.
“In fact, 83% of airport and airline IT leaders surveyed by SITA believe that this demographic shift will be the most important influence on their passenger solutions strategy by 2025.”
Dalibard maintains that this shift requires more efficient operations and collaboration between airlines, airports and other stakeholders responsible for delivering that experience.
SITA cites baggage as a prime example of where improvements could be made, noting that luggage can change hands a dozen times between the airline, airport, the ground handler and customs agencies during a single journey.
And, it says, if the right data is not shared between the entities, it is difficult to keep track of hold luggage, and therefore provide passengers with information on the whereabouts of their bags.
“Without this collaboration, we will not be able to deliver the journey digital travellers want,” states Dalibard.
Biometric technology is one of the key enablers to delivering more automation as well as smoothly linking each step in the journey, according to SITA.
Dalibard adds: “To truly benefit from biometric technology, we as an industry, need to work together to develop and agree a digital identity that not only provides passengers control over their identity but is accepted in any airport and across borders, much like passports are today.
“This cannot be done in isolation and requires a high degree of collaboration to make it a reality.”
Upgrading for the 2020 Olympics
Narita International Airport has signed a contract with ICM Airport Technics for the installation of 72 self-service Auto Bag Drop (ABD) units ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Designed and built by ICM, the Series 7 ABD units will be progressively rolled out across all four terminals of Tokyo Narita. Multi-lingual and described as “packed with user-friendly features”, ICM’s ABD units will improve the efficiency of check-in and bag drop times for passengers of multiple airlines.
This is ICM’s first foray into the Japanese market, with further significant developments in Japan to be announced in the coming months.
“ICM is delighted to have been appointed by Narita to bring our world-leading self-service solutions to improve the passenger experience and throughput in time for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games,” enthuses ICM Group CEO, Richard Dinkelmann. “This is an ideal opportunity for ICM to showcase our technology in Japan.”
India mission for Priority Pass
Priority Pass is set to double its lounge portfolio in India over the next three years, building on its suite of 45 airport facilities in 20 cities and global network of more than 1,200 lounges.
Collinson’s wholly-owned and operated airport infrastructure business, Airport Lounge Development (ALD), is also working with airports across India to identify opportunities to open its own exclusive lounges and airport amenities to meet the growing demand of domestic and international travellers.
David Evans, joint CEO of Collinson, said: “India is a vital market and one we see on a par with China in terms of growth potential.
“We look forward to building our lounge inventory and our own airport infrastructure, creating more locally relevant propositions and further strengthening our team on the ground with additional skilled local resources, and partnering with Indian businesses to redefine the airport experience for the benefit of domestic and international travellers.”
Leading the way
Lead8 has been appointed lead designer for the planned renovation of Terminal 1 at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA).
Working with Airport Authority Hong Kong, Lead8 will spearhead a collaboration of internationally renowned consultants to deliver a transformative upgrade to the passenger halls of the 21-year-old iconic aviation hub.
The Boarding Gate Transformation project is expected to be completed in 2021. Lead8’s design scope includes a total overhaul and upgrade of the 49 boarding gates and adjacent areas of the Level 6 departure concourses.
The renovation work will include upgraded technologies at all boarding gates, along with new and refreshed beam seating across all departure waiting areas. In addition, retail and service cabins will be upgraded with more convenience for passenger access, all targeting to deliver a more fluid experience for travellers.
“The refreshed look of the terminal will bring an inviting ambience that combines new technological features to convey convenience and comfort to the terminal’s local and international travellers when transiting to and from Hong Kong,” says Lead8’ co-founder and executive director, Chris Lohan.
Lead8 have also curated a number of entirely new experiential zones that will provide places of entertainment, relaxation, on-the-go work and general down-time spaces for passengers awaiting flights.
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