Middle East airports going ‘smart’ for seamless travel experience

By admin Sunday, 03 May 2015 6:20 PM

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 Airport Show due to take place in Dubai from May 10 to 12

Global smart airports market to reach $13.5 billion by 2020

Travelers are looking for personalized airport engagement

Technology enables passengers to take more control of their travel experience 

UAE airports lead in smart technology adoption

Airport Show 2015 to show latest smart technologies

Dubai, April 11, 2015: Imagine driving to the airport, having chosen a car parking slot in advance and, on arrival, being told precisely where to drop your bag, being able to track your luggage throughout your entire journey, being informed where the shortest security queue is, where to go and when to start your journey to the boarding gate from where you are and being guided to the right carousel to collect your bag.

Airports are expected to offer an even faster, smoother and better-connected and therefore less-stressful journey through the airport to passengers whose number globally will double to 6.6 billion by 2020. Smart technologies are helping in the transformation of airports by increasing their processing and operational capabilities.

Smart Technology is also putting more control of the travel experience into the hands of passengers. Smart airports are set to revolutionize the passenger experience as airports invest in Beacon, Near Field Technology (NFC), mobile and wearable technologies to ease the journey through the airport, which is known to be the most stressful part of any air domestic or international journey.

“Airports are now more open to new and smart technologies than ever before because they’ve seen the benefits that these bring to their operations, performance and passenger satisfaction,” said Daniyal Qureshi, Group Exhibition Director at Reed Exhibitions Middle East, the organizers of Airport Show due to take place in Dubai from May 10 to 12.

The 15th edition of the B2B event, with Global Airport Leaders’ Forum (GALF) and Travel Catering Expo (TCE) as co-located events, will showcase the latest technologies and innovations that will change the way people travel through airports now and in the future. 

He added: “Airports need to turn smart to ensure that their facilities are able to cope with evolving needs and expectations of passengers. Having smart technologies in place is integral to delivering a hassle-free passenger experience that can put an airport ahead of its competitors. Changes in the ways we travel are coming at us faster each day. New technology promises to make travel even easier, more efficient and safer. Some changes are right around the corner and others are decades away.”

Airports need to prepare themselves for the connected traveller, according to the 2014 SITA/ACI Global Airport Trend Survey. The majority of total airport investments of $6.8 billon will be for IT. Thirty-three per cent will implement beacon technology, 84 per cent in mobile applications, 16 per cent in wearable technologies and 49 per cent in Near Field Technology (NFC) by 2020.

According to the survey, improving passenger experience remains the single most important driving force for IT investment for 68 per cent of the airports. Over half of airports have major programmess related to self-service and passenger mobile apps.

In addition, two-thirds of airports have major infrastructure programmes to deploy common-use systems for passengers, such as kiosks and implementation of Wi-Fi, which is focused towards enhancing passenger satisfaction.

By 2017, SITA reports that 86 per cent of airports expect the majority of their passengers to use self-service check-in, and by 2020, 80 per cent of global passengers will have access to a complete suite of self-service options from arriving at the airport to clearing immigration at the final destination. More investments are being made in check-in technologies, flight information displays and access control. 

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global trade body for airlines, says the mushrooming mix of devices, applications, networks and services will open up a whole new world for  systems integration in the airports environment.

A Markets and Markets study says the global market for smart airports will reach US$13.5 billion by 2020, up from US$9.7 billion in 2014. The market is expected to see 5.61 per cent CAGR to 2020.

The Arabian Gulf airports lead in the region in embracing technology solutions with open arms to improve passenger experiences, reduce the burden on customer services, and most importantly, increase revenues.

As part of the initiatives to turn Dubai International Airport into a Next-Gen travel hub, smart gates equipped with technology such as automatic identification system, facial imprint and automatic iris scan have been deployed. UAE airports are going in for the phased implementation of Advance Passenger Information System (APIS).

Enhancing capacity and ensuring seamless operations is the primary driver for GCC airports, which are expected to handle 450 million passengers by 2020. To that end, intelligent technologies like telematics, mobile apps, RFID and automation can enable airports to build a digital grid that will become their nervous system, allowing them to offer tailor-made services that will enhance passenger experience and at the same time maximizing their spending.

About Airport Show: Now in its 15th year, the Airport Show is a key procurement platform for airport developments in the Middle East, Africa and Indian subcontinent. The event is co-located with the Global Airport Leaders’ Forum (GALF) and Travel Catering Expo (TCE).  www.theairportshow.com