Using Tech-Based Recovery Plan to Resume Airport Business
The ongoing pandemic induced by the COVID-19 outbreak has impacted almost every industry around the world. From dragging down the graph of the global economy and putting businesses across diverse industries at stake to causing billions of lives, the epidemic has disrupted everything. In this crisis, air travel also reduced as people are avoiding travel to prevent the spread of the virus. Now in response to begin services with post-pandemic recovery, airports are leveraging innovative technologies to deliver enhanced experience to travelers.
Already, airports are using touchless technologies, biometric systems and electronic bag tags. Data-enabled technology, analytics and decision metrics can also be used to support social distancing at airports. Several airlines and airports are even planned for digital transformation projects.
Airports are mapping every process before full-fledged opening and tracking each step of the passenger’s journey through the airport. They are gradually turning to new technologies such as thermal imaging cameras to measure and detect passengers’ body temperature, facial recognition, biometrics, self-check-in, baggage management systems, and others to ensure the journey safely.
Airports are also using robotics technology for various uses including sanitizing floors, informing and even measuring the temperature of passengers at the entry point. Pittsburgh International Airport, for instance, has collaborated with Lawrenceville-based Carnegie Robotics to integrate ultraviolet light disinfecting technology into two robotic floor-cleaning scrubbers. The system uses a UVC fixture to liberate intense ultraviolet rays onto the floor in order to sanitize it after the scrubbers have cleaned it.
On the other side, Carrasco International Airport in Uruguay is using innovative measures such as Big Data to support the national prevention and containment campaign as a response to the pandemic. By using the technology, government authorities can now use existing border information and technology for national health purposes. As Uruguay was one of the last countries in Latin America to be affected by COVID-19 induced pandemic, this gave the country’s airport time to work with authorities to prepare to contain the epidemic.
Meanwhile, Hamad International Airport in the state of Qatar has deployed modern technologies to ensure the safety of passengers and employees in response to post-pandemic travel. In this context, the airport is continuously conducting thermal screening and disinfection procedures for all staff and passengers. Even airport staffs are using Smart Screening Helmet, a wearable intelligent helmet that enables contactless temperature measurements as it uses infrared thermal imaging, AI and augmented reality (AR). Hamad International Airport is also making use of fully autonomous disinfectant robots emitting concentrated UV-C light.
Not only airport authorities are transitioned to innovation tech solutions, but major airlines also stepped ahead of technology innovations. For instance, AirAsia has shifted to contactless services for essential travel including contactless payments at the airport, contactless kiosks, Passenger Reconciliation System (PRS) in addition to enhanced features on its mobile app to ensure a smooth and safe travel experience. The airline has set up contactless payment options including Wave payments for AliPay and WeChat Pay at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2). This will include other airports gradually as well.
Therefore, by leveraging innovative technologies, airports and airlines can ensure a safe journey. They must use intelligent solutions to reduce contact among passengers and staff within the airport that will help prevent the spread of the contagious virus. The use of facial recognition and biometrics are the most effective technological innovations that can not only make the travel experience easier and faster for passengers, but also assist in limiting contacts with surfaces and contaminated objects as much as possible.