The Role of Digital Transformation in Airport Operations

The Role of Digital Transformation in Airport Operations

Airports are generally some of the busiest places on Earth. With billions of passengers per year, airports can’t afford to make any mistakes with their operations or checking-in systems; otherwise, they not only risk losing ground to other competitors in the area but also create an unprecedented chaos amidst the regular operations. Fortunately, airport operators are starting to use the latest technologies like artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to stay ahead of the competition.

As the need for business growth and operational efficiency continues to increase, airport operators are faced with multiple challenges of achieving both. 

This blog post provides insights into how airport operations can meet those challenges through digital transformation solutions.

Accelerated Digital Innovation

Over the last decade, terms like ‘connected traveler,’ ‘smart airport’,’ and ‘self-service airport’ have become commonplace in the aviation industry. These and more such terms relate to the digital transformation of airport operations which has been going on for decades but only recently has picked up pace like never before. Over the past year, the focus on digital transformation, automation, and efficiency has grown manifold within the airline industry.

Airport operations have come a long way since the first automated baggage sorting system appeared in the 1990s.  Digital transformation in airport operations makes way for both – a seamless customer experience and a seamless integration of systems and processes, including partners such as airlines, security, customs, concessions, and ground handlers. 

Customer At the Center

Customers now have more control and responsibility as they can do online check-in, complete health forms, and book slots for security check-in before they even reach the airport. Online ordering of meals, shopping for duty-free goods, and robotic delivery services to the gate exemplify how digitization makes the journey more seamless for both customers and the airport staff.

There is a need for healthier and safer spaces, forcing the airport authorities to reimagine passenger processing flow. Real-time data collection and unified response creation through an integrated network with smart analytics are stakeholders’ priorities. For instance, face mask detection and thermal temperature monitoring at airports entrances can help minimize potential exposure to unidentifiable threats by controlled access based on specific parameters.

Airports and airlines are striving towards a contactless, self-service passenger journey experience that starts off-airport. Mobile apps and biometric technologies are helping airports with this transition. Airports are leveraging digital transformation solutions rapidly – technologies like indoor geolocation, identity management, passenger flow management, data mining, artificial intelligence, and IoT (internet of things) to enhance security and streamline operations.

Digital Technology Integration For the Win

Airports can utilize integrated technology systems to automate energy savings as well as the optimization of airport assets. For instance, integrated airside systems can increase efficiency as airline and tower operations and maintenance work together for optimized airport management. Other than that, applying analytics can help airports understand how airport spaces can reduce energy usage by monitoring real-time traffic and usage. Doing this helps airports meet their compliance requirements and convey the message of carbon reduction to the passengers and the industry.

Summing Up 

Although airports have been on the digital transformation journey for a while now, the pandemic accelerated technology usage for ensuring safety and seamless operations. Airports must put passengers’ safety first and make them feel supported and taken care of at every step of the way. It will require careful assessment, governance, and progress monitoring done by the whole team.  Working with a digital transformation services provider will help airports navigate their journey and make smart investments.