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Passenger Flow


3 Improving
efficiency using
sensor technology
Esben Kolind, Head of Operational &
Business Analysis, Copenhagen Airport

7 Balancing
seamless travel
with the
Giovanni Russo, Head of Aviation Planning
& Engineering, Zurich Airport

10 Using smart travel

identity to save
passengers time
Matthys Serfontein,
Vice President Airport Solutions, SITA

13 The digital
John Grant, Senior Analyst, OAG


Artens / Shutterstock.com
www.internationalairportreview.com Volume 20 Issue 6 2016 1
Staying ahead of your customer needs
Innovative airport solutions that help
deliver a better passenger experience



2SWLPLVH\RXU*6(DYDLODELOLW\ www.babcockinternational.com



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Improving operational
efficiency using
sensor technology
Sensor technologies for passenger flow measurements provide large volumes of data.
Esben Kolind, Head of Operational & Business Analysis, details how Copenhagen Airport
(CPH) uses data not only to display and report waiting times, but to improve the planning
process and increase operational efficiency.
The Operational and Business Analysis (OBA) team at Copenhagen analytical and data-driven mind-set in CPH and create synergies
Airport was formed in 2010 with direct report to the COO. The main between the different areas.
responsibility of the team is to assist the airports four main operational Over the years, the team has worked closely with operational
departments (passenger and terminal services, security, baggage and specialists and project managers on a number of passenger flow-
traffic) in optimising their operation through planning, data analysis related initiatives including self-service bag drops, queue management,
and data modelling, on a daily basis as well as on a tactical and e-gates at security and automated border control. In addition, the team
strategic level. At the time each operational department employed a has headed the implementation and further development of new
single analyst. The OBA was created in order to strengthen the operational planning models, follow-up reports, forecasting methods

www.internationalairportreview.com Volume 20 Issue 6 2016 3


and sensor technologies. The work done in two

of these areas check-in and security will be
described in more detail in this article.
Finally, the team is responsible for calcu-
lating the long-term demand for operational
infrastructure as input to the overall masterplan
Expanding CPH; designed to bring CPH from
its current 26.6 million passengers towards
40 million passengers. In recent years the team
has also completed international consultancy Screenshot of the Xovis system
projects for other airports based on the
knowledge and experience gained from their detection is ideal and provides a simple and
work in CPH.
The team currently consists of eight
The high volume of
passengers at all times
efficient measurement of waiting times.
Nodes are installed where passengers leave the
members, each with an academic background of the day yields check-in area; throughout the queueing area;
in operations research and applied mathe -
penetration rates and in each security lane to detect when
sufficiently high to
matics. Daily contact with a broad range of enable the calculation of passengers exit the queue. The high volume
stakeholders inside and outside the organisation the waiting time metrics of passengers at all times of the day yields
provides the insight needed to understand how penetration rates sufficiently high to enable the
data can be used (and where it has limitations) as well as the calculation of the waiting time metrics. The predicted waiting time for
operational aspects and robustness that must be taken into account in passengers entering the queue is then displayed on dynamic signs in
any plan, data model or demand forecast to provide a realistic view of the terminal, on the airport homepage and on the CPH app.
the operation current or future. Originally, the sensor system was used solely for reporting
purposes, where follow-up reports would be generated in the morning
Sensor technologies for passenger flow monitoring at CPH to display yesterdays performance. However, since 2010 the OBA team
Three sensor technologies for passenger flow monitoring are currently has worked closely with the supplier Blip Systems and the CPH security
in use in Copenhagen Airport: department to develop a setup where the waiting time data is used for
Dedicated Wi-Fi/Bluetooth detection (provided by BlipTrack) is used real-time decision making, follow-up, forecasting and planning in
for measuring waiting times in the central security check for all local conjunction with numerous other data sources.
departing passengers (20 lanes) One such data source is the e-gates at the entrance to security
Stereo cameras (provided by Xovis) are mounted in the ceiling in all where all boarding cards are scanned. This provides extremely valuable
check-in areas (110 counters) and all border crossings (five areas) information on passenger show-up and load factors. The data is used
Close to 1,000 access points (provided by Cisco) provide free Wi-Fi to produce aggregated passenger show-up curves for each day and the
to all passengers in the terminals and gives valuable location data forecasts are updated weekly to include the latest trends in data. In
on the overall passenger flows and dwell times in the different addition, the boarding card scans are fed in real-time to a dashboard
areas of the terminals. where security supervisors can monitor any deviations from the
planned show-up.
The use of data from the first two technologies will be discussed in the Other sources include archway metal detectors and x-ray scanners.
following sections. Anonymous data can be extracted from the systems and is used for
calculating process rates and the number of trays per passenger.
Establishing a real-time overview of security performance These are important parameters when converting the aggregated
The central security check is located on the first floor above the check- passenger show-up curve to a staffing plan, which is also displayed in
in areas and has two well-defined entrances to a queueing area real time in the operational dashboard. As sensors are installed in each
separated from other passenger flows. In this layout, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth lane, the waiting time measurement system knows the actual number
of open lanes, so the supervisor has the full
overview of the operation and can make well
informed decisions if needed.
When following up on the performance,
the combination of data sources gives a
detailed picture that makes it easy to identify
deviations in passenger forecasts, process rates,
staffing levels or planning parameters and
adjust future plans accordingly.

Detecting dynamic queues in check-in

Screenshot of BlipTracks system
For check-in and border crossing areas in CPH,

4 Volume 20 Issue 6 2016 www.internationalairportreview.com


the waiting time measurement is more

Evikka / Shutterstock.com
complex than the security check. The check-in
area is characterised by multiple, shorter
queues that can appear and disappear within a
short time span. In addition, the queuing area
and tensa barrier setup for each queue is not
defined statically as it depends on the airline in
question. It may change from day to day or
even during check-in depending on the
passenger volume and other factors. Finally,
the passengers queuing for check-in are mixed
with general passenger flows through the
terminals. This is also the case for most of
the border crossing areas where the queues
may extend into the airside retail areas during
busy periods.
For these reasons, CPH searched for a
technology capable of tracking nearly all
passengers with high accuracy when looking to
replace the manual counts in 2013. The stereo
camera solutions at the time were able to
detect passenger counts and dwell times across
pre-defined lines and zones, but as the check-
Inside the terminal at Copenhagen Airport
in allocation in CPH is highly flexible and
dynamic (as many as six different airlines with different counter and check-in performance as part of the Service Level Agreement (SLA)
queueing needs may use the same counters throughout the day), such between CPH and airlines.
a solution was not sufficient to be able to report on individual airlines Working closely with the selected provider, Xovis, a more advanced

algorithm was developed and CPH was one of

Evikka / Shutterstock.com
the first airports in the world to install a sensor
system that can dynamically detect the
formation, shape and development of
individual check-in queues without prior
knowledge. Combining the measurements
with the realised check-in allocation provides
the full overview of open counters, process
times, waiting times, queue lengths and KPIs
for each airline separately. The setup was first
trialled successfully in Terminal 2 and by 2015
all check-in areas and border crossing areas
were covered.

Using sensor data to improve

operational efficiency
The data collected by the waiting time sensors
is a key factor in the ongoing work to improve
the passenger experience and efficiency for the
entire check-in process.
In the short term SLA performance is
monitored and reported on a weekly basis and
recurring performance issues can be identified.
Wi-Fi/Bluetooth detection ensures queuing times are measured efficiently
Working closely with airlines and ground
handlers, CPH can adjust the location of check- shorter queues and fewer open counters in peak
in and suggest changes to the number of open
counters, the opening hours and the choice of first
CPH was one of the
airports in the
times, while still maintaining the service level
targets. Ultimately this convinced the airlines of
tensa barrier setup, all based on a solid data world to install a sensor the potential of a common-use setup.
foundation. Often the passenger experience can system that can Finally, in the long term, the sensor data is
be improved without increasing the total dynamically detect the used as the base input for the CPH capacity
workload for the handlers. The effect of formation, shape and planning model (Beontra B Capacity module) to
changes is easily verifiable using data from
development of calculate the demand for check-in counters,
individual check-in
the sensor system. border crossing lanes, queuing areas etc. for the
queues without prior
In the medium term, CPH actively encour- knowledge next five to 10 years. The output of these
ages airlines to embrace self-service initiatives calculations is used by the master planning
such as online check-in, self-service kiosks and self-service bag drops. department as an important input for the CPH investment programme.
The airport has a long tradition with self-service kiosks but even today This article has described how Copenhagen Airport has deployed
there are large differences between airlines in terms of self-service sensor technology and used the collected data to improve the
maturity. By using data from the sensor system, CPH can provide strong operational efficiency in both the central passenger security check and
cases built on historical experience from other airlines or even the check-in areas. Although data and new models and procedures for
operational tests. Currently the number of self-service bag planning and follow-up have played important roles, the changes
drops is growing in line with new airlines joining the setup for the would not have been successfully implemented without the close
mutual benefit of airlines, ground handlers, CPH and most collaboration with both internal and external stakeholders, as well as a
importantly the passengers. close partnership with the system suppliers. Sensor technologies for
Another example of the use of sensor data for process passenger flow measurements are becoming increasingly more popular
improvements is the formation of a common-use, all-day check-in with with airports, however, installing the sensor system and measuring
three network carriers that used to have dedicated check-in. The three waiting times is only a first step. Using the data in combination with
airlines were identified as good candidates for a common use setup as other sources to improve forecast, planning, operational and follow-up
their departures were evenly distributed throughout the day; they procedures is where the full value of these systems will be found.
belonged to the same alliance; had the same ground handler; and their
Esben Kolind is Head of Operational and Business Analysis at Copenhagen
check-in systems were similar. Before the discussions with airlines and Airports. He holds a Masters degree in Applied Mathematics from the
handlers took place, CPH prepared detailed material on the current Technical University of Denmark, where he focused on operations research.
Since joining Copenhagen Airports in 2010, he has worked on numerous
passenger show-up profiles, processing times, queue lengths, waiting
projects optimising the airports operation, including Wi-Fi tracking of
times and counter opening patterns for each airline. Furthermore, the passengers, sensor-based queue detection, common-use check-in and self-
same data was used to simulate the effect of a common use setup service bag drop, check-in counter allocation, passenger forecasting and
long-term demand forecasting for the airport masterplan.
demonstrating how a more efficient use of the counters would result in

6 Volume 20 Issue 6 2016 www.internationalairportreview.com

anshar / Shutterstock.com

Balancing seamless
travel with the
passenger experience
Airports have evolved significantly over the past decades; from functional hubs to multimodal
service centres. In order to ease the use of these platforms, new technologies have been
implemented under the umbrella of seamless travel, including self-service kiosks (CUSS),
automated gates and automated bag drop facilities. However, where the seamless travel
concept focuses on processes, airports have shifted their focus to the passenger with the goal
of gaining customer loyalty to increase sales figures and help differentiate from competitors.
With this in mind Zurich Airport has introduced STEP (the Seamless Travel Experience
Programme). Head of Aviation Planning & Engineering, Giovanni Russo, reveals how STEP
links the airports work in seamless travel and passenger experience.
The first seamless travel initiative at Zurich Airport, besides eTickets and the Schengen Area. In 2006 Zurich Airport and its home carrier, Swiss
Swissair self-service check-in kiosks, was implemented back in 1999 International Air Lines, decided to launch a seamless travel programme,
with Swissairs Fast Track initiative. This allowed frequent travellers to which was sponsored by the COOs of both companies. The goal was to
omit check-in (with a carry-on bag only) and to make use of automated ease travel for passengers; to automate the passenger process; and
border control units. This was prior to the Schengen Agreement, which to reduce operating costs. This programme delivered CUSS check-in
abolished border control at mutual borders in European countries in kiosks in 2006; automated gates for boarding and boarding pass check

www.internationalairportreview.com Volume 20 Issue 6 2016 7


points; pre-boarding areas; one-stop shop

security procedures; and trials with self-service
bag drops and automated border control this
time under the Schengen regime.
At the beginning of this decade airports
began to focus on passenger experience,
which of course includes the idea of seamless
travel. Zurich Airport followed this trend and
contributed in several IATA and ACI Europe
working groups on the subject. In June 2014
ACI Europe released the Guidelines for
Passenger Services at European Airports, with
a strong focus on passenger experience during
the airport journey. The report provided a
broad overview of the complex contractual

Rhego / Shutterstock.com
setups at airports and proposed a new
approach to categorising passengers from an
airport perspective; complementing the
basic categorisation from the airlines
Terminal at Zurich Airport
perspective into the fare classes and customer
loyalty programme status. For airports, attributes such as the number Wi-Fi, for example, used to be a valued feature some five years ago, but
of people, process (inbound/outbound) and behaviours (long/short is an expected service nowadays.
stayers and/or travellers) are important to assess tailor-made products. Since 2004 Zurich Airport has repeatedly been awarded
The passenger experience is influenced by many aspects, ranging the Europes Leading Airport accolade by the World Travel
from cleanliness, to process efficiency, to the Award organisation. However, in order to
actual architecture of the airport. One of
the core principles in the ACI guidelines is the

The passenger
experience is influenced
continue with this accolade the airports
appearance and service offerings must
pyramid of passenger perception levels: starting by many aspects, be considered holistically. STEP was established
from required level (bare minimum/meeting
ranging from cleanliness, to help influence pass enger perception.
to process efficiency, to
regulations); over the expected level (air- the actual architecture The programme collects ideas from various
ports conceived image); to the valued level of the airport activities and initiatives such as seamless
(wow-factor). Obviously, experiences affecting travel, future airport technology, passenger
the valued level are most positive for passengers and allow experience, airport service quality surveys, staff proposals and
airports to achieve the best differentiation from competitors. various marketing activities, including mobile apps, customer loyalty
However, as in Maslows hierarchy of needs (Figure 1), higher and eCommerce.
experience levels can only be satisfied if the lower levels are The STEP working group meets on a regular basis, under the lead
fulfilled. For example, there is no value in offering free Wi-Fi of terminal engineering, to identify ideas that support seamless travel
(an expected value) if the airport premises are not reasonably and affect passenger experience. The working group reports to the
clean (a required level). The categorisation of items affecting executive board to initiate implementation projects, using the regular
passenger perception is not given per se but may change over time. company project management process.
In order to properly manage the consider able amount of
information a Kanban Board is used. The basic idea of this method,
which was initially developed for production planning, is to visualise the
work flow and ensure that too many items arent on work in progress
(Figure 2, page 9). All ideas are noted on a card which is then placed
on the board in the pool section. Whenever the number of selected
projects is low, or under management decision, items from the pool are
selected and a brief description of the idea with a valuation of the
impact on customer satisfaction, differentiation, process optimisation
and passenger perception, is established. In a next step, positively
valued ideas are injected into the corporate project management
process, with a project initiation request. If this request is approved the
Kanban card is moved into the ongoing section. With that the STEP
working group responsibilities are limited to progress tracking and
Figure 1: Abraham Maslows hierarchy of needs (from A Theory of
Human Motivation, 1943): Basic needs can be found on the bottom shifting the project to the implemented column, once the project has
tier, with expected needs in the middle and valued services at the top been completed.

8 Volume 20 Issue 6 2016 www.internationalairportreview.com


processed according to the STEP process) can

be found in Pier E these well-feeling areas aim
to improve the passenger process with
information on waiting times at security being
provided to our passengers via the mobile app
and passenger information screens, as well as a
passenger terrace in the transit area. In order to
keep track of all innovations within a STEP
context, already completed projects such as
self-boarding gates, digital information points,
mobile charging stations and many more
have been inserted on the Kanban Board.
Figure 2: A basic Kanban Board (not representing the current status at Zurich Airport). STEP allows Zurich Airport to generate,
The intended streamlining effect on selected and ongoing initiatives is clearly visible and
allows for clear focus at working and management level. The large idea poll enables the bundle and systematically process ideas that
documentation of potential ideas, even those that wont be implemented. influence passenger perception across the
organisational structure and respect regular
There is of course no need for a physical Kanban Board. The investment processes. The use of the Kanban method and the ACI
principle can easily be implemented electronically in regular office guidelines for passenger service have proven to be efficient and
documents, or using dedicated software, with additional item effective and allow for transparency and rational discussions.
furthering collaboration in and across teams.
For the valuation of the impact on passenger perception in the Giovanni Russo has 25 years experience of both civil and military
description sheet and subsequently in the fact sheet used in the corporate aviation. After his military service as air traffic controller, he joined civil air
navigation service provider skyguide to become an en-route air traffic
investment process, the above described ACI Europe guidelines on the
controller in both Geneva and Zurich. Meanwhile, he studied mathematics
passenger experience have been consulted and the pyramid of passenger and computer science at Fernuniversitaet Hagen (Germany) and received an
perception levels applied. This tool facilitates the discussion on return on aviation MBA at Concordia University (Montreal, Canada). He subsequently
held several management positions within skyguide before joining Zurich
investment that is usually based on financial figures, which are generally airport's operator at the end of 2008 as Head of Planning and Engineering. Giovanni represents
not available when investing in passenger experience. ACI-Europe in the Network Management Board; furthermore he is Vice Chair of the SESAR
Deployment Airport Grouping Steering Group.
The first deliveries of STEP (i.e. ideas that have been collected and


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Zapp2Photo / Shutterstock.com
Using smart travel
identity to save
passengers time
How do you reconcile passengers demands for efficient, seamless journeys with the increasing
need for effective security? Airports, airlines, governments and technology providers have been
juggling these conflicting demands for some time and looking to the latest technologies for
answers. Matthys Serfontein, Vice President Airport Solutions at SITA, believes stake-
holders must come together if we are to achieve the perfect balance.
Following steady progress over the last few years, the air transport ePassports in particular has reduced the opportunity for identity fraud.
industry is now on the cusp of being able to offer a truly seamless, Biometric data, including face and fingerprints, is digitally encoded
secure walkthrough experience. within a chip embedded in the physical ePassport book enabling live
There is no doubt that recent technologies have made it easier to biometric checks of the holder, ensuring that the person carrying the
reliably check traveller identities. The widespread adoption of passport is the owner.

10 Volume 20 Issue 6 2016 www.internationalairportreview.com


These biometric checks can be used at every point of the journey. the potential of single token travel to allow travellers to pass through
SITA recently revealed Smart Path, a new capability that allows the airport, including crossing borders, with a single, digitally-verified
passengers to move through the airport and board the aircraft simply identity. Hailed by some as the air transport industrys Uber moment,
by verifying their identity at each step using a biometric identifier. Once single token travel has the potential to make the travel experience
enrolled, after the first touch point in the journey frictionless. It will make moving through
through the airport, there is no need for the airports and across borders easier, while also
passenger to present a boarding pass,
a passport or travel documents again. hasSingle token travel
the potential to
dramatically improving security making the
elusive combination within touching distance.
Upon enrolment the passengers identity is make the travel As ever, SITA is investigating how new
checked against their travel documents experience frictionless technologies can complement existing
typically the ePassport and a secure single solutions. SITAs latest research is looking at
token is created. At each subsequent step of the how blockchain technology can facilitate an
journey from check-in to the aircraft passengers gain access with a even better single travel token experience.
simple biometric check rather than having to show their passport or Blockchain technology1 is most famous for being the underlying
boarding pass again. This fast, secure and seamless walkthrough technology behind Bitcoin but it could also help revolutionise traveller
experience is already within reach of todays passengers. identity management, thanks to its ability to ensure data privacy.
Single token travel simplifies secure passenger processing SITAs innovative research shows us that blockchain could enable
for everyone: airlines, airports and border authorities. SITA Smart passengers to create a verifiable digital identity on their mobile that
Path has already been trialled at a major airport in the Middle East contains biometric and other personal data. In this future world of
and more pilots are expected over the coming
months. One of the key benefits of Smart Path
is that it integrates with existing airport
infrastructure including industry standard
common-use self-service equipment, such as
check-in kiosks, bag drop units, gates for
secure access, boarding and automated
border control. This makes rapid deployment
easy and cost-effective. SITA Smart Path also
integrates with government systems and
databases, allowing integrated immigration
and border checks.
It is clear to see why airports and airlines
would embrace this technology so enthusi-
astically. It will improve security oversight and
enhance the passengers travel experience by
speeding up passenger processing and
reducing the resources needed to manage the
travel journey.

Moving to mobile
The proliferation of mobile technology in recent
times has increasingly allowed individuals to use
their digital credentials in both the physical and
online worlds. The use of digital identification is
a phenomenon occurring across many different
industries. Precedents are being set and
standards developed as these industries move
towards online identity checks, often my means
of their customers mobile devices.
Single token travel is the future of travel
identity management, embracing this new era
of digital credentials to give air travellers the
balance between convenience and the peace of
mind they need when flying.
As part of ongoing research into optimising
the travel experience, SITA has been exploring eezeetags is the new experience in the self service bag drop process. If you have any questions about this magic tag,
please contact us. Phone +31 348 560 077, email info@eezeetags.com. Or visit our website www.eezeetags.com

Volume 20 Issue 6 2016


NarongchaiHlaw / Shutterstock.com
Blockchain could enable passengers to create a verifiable digital identity on their mobile which contains biometric and other personal data

travel, no matter what country you are in, any on an early demo of these concepts. It is
authority can simply scan your face and scan aimed at easing a travellers journey through
your device to verify who you are and your status SITAs innovative
research shows us that
different airports and airlines using a single
as a traveller. Crucially, this can all be achieved travel token or identity on the travellers
blockchain could enable
without agencies ever controlling or storing your passengers to create a mobile device. It is early days and the issues of
biometric details or personal information, since verifiable digital identity scalability and adoption rates need to be
the entire transaction would take place securely on their mobile that examined, but SITA is looking at how the air
via the blockchain. contains biometric and travel industry airlines, airports and govern-
Convenience of travel across multiple
other personal data. In ment agencies can take advantage of the new
this future world of
providers such as airlines, airports or govern- era where the underlying blockchain protocols
travel, no matter what
ment authorities usually means giving up country you are in, any provide trust so that individuals or authorities
control of personally identifiable information. authority can simply dont have to.
This is because traveller data and identifica- scan your face and scan The future of travel identity management
tion information must be kept in a central your device to verify looks bright single token travel will make it
who you are and your
database where agents and authorised users more efficient, more secure, and more con-
status as a traveller
can access it. While access can be limited, venient for passengers and those managing
privacy can never be guaranteed: central checkpoints right across the airport.
databases are subject to the possibility of cyber attacks where large
numbers of records can be compromised. These concerns, among Matthys Serfontein is Vice-President of SITAs Airport Solutions and is
responsible for overall strategy, portfolio direction and investment, business
others, limit the viability of central database solutions that involve development, product delivery, customer implementation and commercial
sensitive personally identifiable information. operations. Matthys joined SITA in 2007 as Regional Vice President for the
airport solution line in Africa and has held his current position since 2012.
And thats the beauty of blockchain technology. It ensures Prior to this, Matthys enjoyed various senior management positions for the
passenger data is secure, encrypted, tamper-proof and unusable for Airport Company South Africa and the South African companies, e.Airports
Ltd and OSI Airport Systems as Managing Director.
any other purpose. At the same time it eliminates the need for a single
authority to own, process or store the data. The crypto-led computer
science of blockchain provides a network of trust, where the source and
1. Blockchain is a web-based transaction processing and settlement system that creates a
history of the data is verifiable by everyone. golden record of any given set of data that is automatically replicated for all parties in
a secure network; eliminating any need for third-party verification.
SITA has recently worked with blockchain start-up ShoCard

12 Volume 20 Issue 6 2016 www.internationalairportreview.com

Ekaphon maneechot / Shutterstock.com

The digital revolution

Todays travellers now expect more choice, more communication and more convenience from
airports and airlines. Technology is ever-improving, but with passengers becoming highly
demanding about the services they receive from planning their trip to getting on the aircraft and
beyond where will technology take us next? John Grant, Senior Analyst at OAG, argues that
flight information and data are the fuel that is powering the next generation of on-demand travel.
Centennials, aged 13-18, have been born and brought up with a few of the on-demand options that should be considered; helping
technology. They have access to five screens at once and have extremely enhance the experience that customers receive.
high expectations for instant information1. As technology continues to Travellers want to be in control of their journeys from start to finish
develop, airports need to adapt to the changing needs of travellers, and the majority of air service providers are still working to meet all of
always keeping the digital charge front of mind. these expectations. Most key industry players now offer personalised
Brands outside of aviation, such as Airbnb and Uber, have already pre-departure options, including meal selections and fast-track control
maximised the consumer thirst for everything on-demand, leaving the processes. But, how do airlines and airports take this to the next level
whole of the travel industry entering the on-demand economy. offering re-booking, recommending hotels or on-the-ground
This puts extreme pressure on airlines, airports and travel providers to transport at the click of a button?
meet, and even exceed, these demands to deliver a seamless and Air travel providers need to synthesise and capture real-time data,
connected offering. understanding not only the importance of this, but also the value it
As the travel experience continues to develop, were entering a holds when immersing customers in the travel-tech experience. In order
period of edgy and quirky innovation, bringing technology closer to to keep up with the continuous developments of technology and be
individuals needs. This new technologically-based relationship has able to remain competitive, access to flight information data is essential
immense potential to shape future travel, and provide major comm- for those in the aviation industry.
ercial opportunities for airports and airlines around the globe.
Making the most of opportunities
Answering the call for on-demand Technology brings a great opportunity for airports to embrace
For airlines and airports, options such as baggage tracking devices, communicating day-of-travel information in a better way; motivating
biometric usage and service recognition for premium travellers are just customers to spend more by advancing simple everyday processes.

www.internationalairportreview.com Volume 20 Issue 6 2016 13


Whether its going through security or checking in baggage, airports big data and artificial intelligence (AI) will soon be affecting airports
should ensure travellers are constantly kept up-to-date on the status of and airlines around the globe. In January 2016 Emirates announced it
their flight and connections, not only in real-time but also across is among brands that have already started exploring the potential of
multiple channels. Finding ways to improve day-of-travel information introducing robotics as part of a major technology transformation
transparency is more than just a play to improve customer service initiative, also placing a heavy focus on the future role AI will play.
and experience its what enables the on-demand activity that The desire and pressure for the immediacy consumers are pushing
travellers crave. for is not only about changing the products on offer, but also
Airports should also find ways to better influence the booking improving the level of service. With so much more being expected,
process. Although this function typically lies with airlines, leaving providers are looking for ways to simplify every day processes, and in
airports themselves with little presence, airports should be working many cases that means removing the human interaction.
to access booking data and tap into how this can benefit them In December 2015 KLM began operational trials of the Spencer
directly. Whether its a better understanding of customers and robot at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. The AI robot is said to be able to
tailoring an experience based on this, or some other aspect, providers assist with day-to-day tasks such as guiding groups of passengers
should find out what works for their business and customer base to to departure gates, freeing up the time of airport and airline staff for
maximise impact. more pressing or difficult customer situations.

Staying ahead of the game Savvy check-in

Its not a mere simple change for the industry. Airlines and airports 2017 will also see a movement towards the desire to travel as a fully-
need up-to-the-minute schedules and flight status data, information fledged, self-connected passenger. In a recent OAG survey, almost 92%
on potential connections, and the ability to keep their travellers, of respondents indicated that they would be prepared to self-connect
partners and sales channels in the loop at the same time. in the right conditions, so with the likes of self-service check-in and
The basis of any on-demand service is location and timing. For an baggage drop already available, where will technology take us next?
airline to deliver what a customer wants, they need to understand Biometric technology is set to influence and drive an additional
where and how they want it. Providers are smartly investing in accurate role in security, creating a more seamless experience for travellers.
and reliable data and analytics to proactively optimise their on-demand At the beginning of 2016 Air New Zealand installed the first of
services. This data can help travel providers better understand traveller 13 biometric-enabled self-service bag drop units, which feature an
behaviour, location, timing and the options that they might be embedded camera to capture imagery of the passengers face at the
able to present. point of luggage drop.
The new generation is reliant on choice and convenience when it With the ability to enhance many of the technology-driven services
comes to booking, which demonstrates that product and ease-of-use is that airports and airlines already offer, such as baggage check-in,
more of a purchase driver than brand loyalty. For airports and airlines its likely that biometric capabilities will be adopted by many others
this means having to work that bit harder to draw attention to in 2017. This in turn will drive a charge towards embedded, self-
themselves, and away from competitors, by meeting these expectations service solutions.
be it swift customer service or flight perks.
Ultimately, the on-demand economy is growing in every aspect. Biometric implant
For example, banking through an app where money can be trans- Perhaps not quite on schedule for 2017, but another trend that
ferred within seconds, is affecting wider consumer expectations. certainly isnt too far in the future, is the biometric chip implant; set to
They now want a similar immediacy for other purchases and revolutionise any travelling experience. There will no longer be a
services, and the process of booking and taking a flight is no different. need for documents, printed or on a smartphone, as this chip will
Its critical for industry leaders to understand one thing: flight extend across every step of the journey, from check in, to boarding, to
information and data are the fuel that is powering the next generation passport control.
of on-demand travel. Just one integrated chip will combine all touch-points, acting as an
If you look one, five or even 10 years into the future, up-to-date identification document, and even a payment method. All travellers will
travel information for every step of a journey will be at consumers have to do is link their chip to their mobile or wearable device for it to
fingertips in a matter of seconds. In fact, it may even appear on their provide key data, information and updates from the moment they
fingertips if the wearable becomes obsolete in favour of some sort of leave their house, to the moment they arrive at their destination.
hologram interaction with our mobile devices. Travellers will know
exactly how many minutes it will take from leaving their front door to
arriving at the boarding gate. Updates on traffic, security waiting time,
John Grant is a Senior Analyst at OAG. He advises OAG on aviation industry
gate-side seating and more will be just some of the many pre-trip alerts issues, having worked for a number of airlines before now, managing a
passengers can opt in to. successful consultancy practice.
So, with technology on the rise, and customers on a digital-high,
whats next for the airports and airlines?

Robotic intelligence 1. http://www.powerreviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Centennials_US.pdf
Theres been no shortage of talk this year about how developments in

14 Volume 20 Issue 6 2016 www.internationalairportreview.com