Airports are very important part of the aviation industry. They are seen as a gateway to the world, servicing millions of passengers around the globe each day.
Airports are not immune to disruption. Much like the rest of the travel industry, they are being put under pressure due to the rapidly changing industry landscape.
Growing traveler expectations, an ever-increasing number of passengers and a need for personalization means that airports have to prioritize frictionless travel. Competition for passengers, airline routes, and non-aeronautical revenues are also driving innovation in the industry with key players.
The near future revolutionary modes of ultra-fast and ultra-long-haul travel will require airports to not only accommodate new types of aircraft but also a new generation of traveler.
To better understand how to manage these pressures, we spoke with leaders in the travel industry to hear which trends they believe will shape the airport of the future.
1. Automation will be needed to manage passenger growth
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Asia-Pacific region is estimated to receive an additional 2.1 billion annual passengers by 2036. To address this rise in passenger numbers, airport operators will increasingly look to automation to extract more capacity out of existing infrastructure.
Automation of service will ease/ provide a smoother flow of passengers within and around the airport, reduce congestion.
2. Off-site passenger handling will become an industry standard
Advances in technology are facilitating greater opportunities for off-site passenger handling. Many airports and travel stakeholders are using the cloud to enable pop-up check-in and baggage drop services.
3. Bio-metrics will become integrated across all touchpoints
Investment in bio-metric technologies will rise as airports look to increase throughput, while streamlining the passenger journey, creating a frictionless experience at every touchpoint.
4. Greener airports will become much more important in the coming years
An increasing concern for the global travel industry is the carbon footprint left by all travel stakeholders. In response to public pressure, many organizations are pledging to reduce emissions. Airports Council International (ACI) Europe recently set a target to cut the collective emissions of European Airports to zero by 2050.
To address the issue of carbon emissions, airports are implementing green technology. For example, by running operations via the cloud rather than energy-intensive on-site servers, or by optimizing runways to ensure aircraft spend less time needlessly burning fuels, or by gaining greater visibility on usage of airport resources and powering down those in infrequent use.
Greener airports will become much more important in the coming years, as the world becomes more conscious about combating climate change.
5. Scalability will be crucial at peak travel periods
The cloud enables airports to be more flexible, scaling operations up or down based on demand. At peak times, such as public holidays, festivals, or national sporting events, additional passenger handling services can be rolled out quickly and without the need for any fixed infrastructure, as systems connect via the internet.