Airports of the future have arrived, and the passengers can dive to seamless traveling with smart technology. Gone are the days when airports were used only for departure and arrivals. The airports of today are not only involved but have become multifunctional travel hubs for everyone.
Airports have become an essential part of the economy and are the key drivers of social and economic progress within Asia. The future of air transport will highly depend on digital transformation. The airports in different parts of Asia are investing in technology, so a lot of time and effort can be saved when it comes to standing in long lines.
Managing the passengers will become accessible as the facilities provided to them will become better as well. The flow management of the passengers and self-service at each step will make things easy. Wide ranges of biometrics are used on almost all the passengers so that everything can remain under control. The rising number of passengers on the airports and taking care of their facilities has become challenging, but with smart airports’ arrival, everything will fall into place.
Smart technology and digital transformation will help the airports manage the challenge of the rising number of passengers keeping in mind that the infrastructure can be limited. The increased complexity has made everyone aware of the challenges.
If we talk about the Philippines, the traffic of international passengers has gone up to 36%. The economy has surged because the Philippines has now become a hot property among the tourists. When the country is getting international tourists, they are thinking about incorporating advanced technology into their airports. The Philippines’ economy is hampered due to problems with the infrastructure, and the aviation industry is also facing a lot of challenges.
They want to improve efficiency at their airports. If we look into details, biometrics is becoming increasingly common at all the airports in Asia and around the world. From check-in to boarding, travelers need a good and smooth experience. There is a lot of revolution in the technology that includes self-service passenger processing and airport management systems (AMS, AICC, and ACDM), making a dream come true. It will offer a seamless passenger journey across the Philippines into a reality.
Many airports all across Asia are operating at a high level that goes beyond the design capacity. They are also struggling with the rise in the number of passengers and aircraft congestion. It seems that airport control has still not taken over the changes in modern and air travel. There are many challenges like security, safety, and efficiency that have to be taken care of at the airport.
- Different departments at the airports are involved in control and command
- There can be a lack of communications between various departments
- IT systems are not sometimes properly installed to offer a single source of truth
- The absence of timely response due to irregular operations
- The experience for the passengers can become inconsistent at various levels
Case Study-Mumbai International Airport
Raj Gopal, an international speaker, has a lot of things to say about Mumbai International Airport. It will help everyone to balance operations with efficiency and come up with better and successful results. Mumbai is one of India’s most populated cities, and the Mumbai International airport is always full of passengers. It is one of the biggest airports for international travelers and remains to be second busiest after the Delhi Airport.
- Mumbai International Airport has maintained its position as one of the most innovative airports in India. They are using technology to increase and optimize infrastructure to manage the rapid growth of passengers easily.
- Currently, 54% of the passengers at the airport are making use of self-service technology. However, looking at the present statistics, it seems that the number will be raised in the upcoming years.
- Mumbai international airport has become the first airport to introduce many concepts. One of the most important concepts is the Joint control center that will support SMART airports.
- They have also become one of the very first airports to introduce self bag-drop while they have also implemented Airport collaborative decision making.
- Mumbai International Airport is currently handling 49.9 million passengers in 2018, which features 6.3% as compared to other years. Among those passengers, 14.6% were international passengers, while 35.3% were domestic passengers.
How can the IT leaders respond to the demands?
The IT leaders have to make sure to bring people from various countries together while processing the data and other sources. It will help to offer an integrated view of the total operation at the airport. Here is what they can do:
- IT leaders should make sure how to get in touch with the relevant stakeholders and decision-makers. They can share important information with the help of communication infrastructure and the tools for collaboration.
- The IT leaders have to provide a total command at the airport and facilitate the coordination to a certain extent.
- A lot of importance has to be given for the elevation and enhancement of satisfaction for the passengers. Once the essential and new technologies are incorporated, it will help the passengers in many ways.
- It will be easy to achieve a seamless flow inside the airport by embracing and integrating different services. The airlines, security, and customs are also involved in providing the best facilities to the passengers.
- The technologies for leverage enabled services are also taken care of very effectively. The security enhancements are improved with biometrics, profiling, and baggage management that remains unattended.
- The airport authorities have to discuss the digital transformation and the journey towards it to improve their reputation. The passenger experiences can be enhanced using attractive techniques.
- The IT department should also know how to improve the operations using optimized resources. Simultaneously, the decision making should speed up so the emergency can be controlled without taking much time.
- The airport administrations have to be quick enough when it comes to decision making. They have to get accurate and real-time information so the efficiency for different operations can improve. The IT infrastructure has to improve so the volume can be handled, and the passenger experience is automatically enhanced.
How to become a digital airport?
Many companies that are involved with the aviation industry think that they have already achieved digital-ready offerings. However, only a small part of the transformation has been observed. It is essential to understand how new technology can be implemented, or the building blocks can be applied to make changes. The ACI airport digital transformation workgroup helps many airports and assists them in making changes according to the new technology. They are looking to target the following things:
- Open data
- Personal experience enhancement
- Biometrics and digital touch points
- Virtual control room
- Innovations and techniques
The digital transformation across Asian airports is already happening, which is seen at Changi Airport. The management and other authorities at the airport shouldn’t think about how it will happen as it is already happening. The technology leverage for better business and objectives for operations can be used to get better results. The entire airport can think about the digital transformations, but to begin with, they have to make sure how their environment is like. It will not be easy to get a full scope of the airport’s environment. The next important step will be to align with the new operational methods and transform them into something new and innovative. The outcome for each airport may be different, but the steps they have to take will be similar in many ways.
Airport environment assessment
The multi-dimensional review of the airport and the environment becomes a top priority. It should not be restricted to physical customers, the market, or the local community. The social, economic, and political influences should also be kept in mind.
Plans and objectives of an airport
The C-level management of an airport should handle the goals and objectives so that technology can be incorporated in the best ways. The specific plans for digital innovations, including identifying the technology (old or new), will help improve the outcomes.
Internal organization review
There should be proper access to the current organization’s demands or how the needs can remain flexible throughout implementations. The digital transformations can be achieved, keeping in mind all these details.
Digital transformation covers the entire scope of the activities at the airports. They should be viewed as a good business strategy rather than ordinary. The airports can only reach their financial and operational objectives by introducing many leverage innovations. It will help to optimize the business at airports and increase the economics too. They will have to increase the capacity of facilities that they have and reduce the operational expenditures also. Boosting the revenue may not be an easy task, but it is directly associated with business objectives and essential strategies.
Where does an airport begin to apply digital transformation?
The airport can begin with the digital transformation anywhere and everywhere. However, it may not sound very realistic. You have to take into account the environment of the airport and the business strategies very well. The airports are now working hard to create specific digital and transformation plans. The digital transformation plans aren’t simple and the external market and partner landscape are also required. Digital transformation will apply to all the critical areas of the airport. There should be a lot of focus on the most promising regions, but it won’t be easy to identify all the key domains. The digital strategy cannot be deployed if the necessary infrastructure is not deployed. It will help to improve the services in the best possible ways.
Security for the passengers is a must for every airport. The video infrastructure, artificial intelligence, and other essential technologies can give passengers a better experience. If there is an unusual behavior at the airport, it can be detected easily. If the baggage remains unattended, it will be taken care of with a lot of security.
There should be a deep understanding of the flow of passengers coming in and out of the airports. It will offer a good optimization for the airport infrastructure and other retail services offerings too. The maintenance cost will reduce bringing high revenue for the airports.
The great thing about the digital transformation at the airports is that many customers focused mobile apps are made for passengers’ convenience. The custom relationship management will help the airports offer a personalized experience to the passengers. It will enhance their experience at the airport, and airport service consumption can also be improved to a new level altogether.
The successful digital transformation process will help give a lot of support and economic benefits to the stakeholders. It involves airlines, passengers, investors, and other local communities as well. Digital technologies can no doubt prove to be useful for enhancing stakeholders’ relationships with the airports. They can make use of collaborative tools and gather essential information at regular intervals.
It is also essential to access all the physical and functional areas both inside and outside the airport. The local and virtual communities where the airport has been constructed should be checked wisely. The airports will also be encouraged to improve the leverage and other market innovations through strategic partnerships and plans. They can also look for critical solutions to build a better environment at the airport.
As we have discussed above that the digital transformation will occur throughout the overall ecosystem at the airports. It has now become essential to prioritize all the activities and make plans accordingly. They have to take into account business and operational objectives and enhance the customer experience in many ways. The comprehensive and action-oriented plans and execute something innovative to increase the revenue at the airports. All the digital transformation plans’ activities will fall into place if the impacts are judged before it.