STORY INLINE POST
The world has changed and together with it many of our day-to-day activities and behaviors, all the way from how kids go to school to how we travel by bus, car, boat and airplane.
We are witnessing a new reality, as I like to call it,because, whether we want it or not, it’s what the new rules demand in order to mitigate the possibility of a new pandemic.
But COVID-19 didn’t only bring bad things to us. It also gave us the opportunity to see the world from a different perspective, to rethink how we manage our life, our relationship with others, how to better coexist with nature and to speed up many aspects of our life that would make our life simpler and better.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend to the Passenger Terminal Expo 2023, held in Amsterdam, and my main take on this event was to witness how fast technology is evolving and the important need of many airports around the world to cope with these necessities and to aligned with the requirements of their main clients: airlines.
The main challenge airports and airlines are facing today are focused on how to reshape and reimagine the new reality of air travel in the next 12 months. The main question I asked myself was What if? This simple question means a lot because it’s a very holistic and, at the same time, a simple way of opening the conversation to many out of the box ideas, from designing a new biometric protocol and solution (airport side and border control) to delivering new technologies and customer-oriented processes that will result in a safe and trustful environment at every step of the journey.
My conclusion after being exposed to all this new technology for a full week and witnessing the next big changes in the aviation industry is that passengers are ready and need to experience state-of-the-art seamless-touchless solutions that can help them to become self-sufficient.
Now please allow me to share with you some interesting practices and ideas that are speeding off as we speak and that are starting to reshape the way we travel , many of which are already a reality in many airports worldwide.
What if? We imagine a seamless-touchless preflight process at home and check-in at the airport without the need of any human interaction? Yes, I know what you are thinking:, that this can't be done, or that you have seen this at many airports with many airlines and that it doesn’t work. Well, let me tell you this: it's possible! And the technology has moved from early stages of trials and experimental solutions to a proven and mature technology.
Today, you can start your travel journey at home when you do your pre-check-in process, uploading your personal information, including passport, visas, vaccination certificates and COVID tests, in a very simple format. From there, the airlines and airports do the rest by validating and sharing this info with all the authorities involved in validating the documentation .
When you arrive at the airport, you can use your face to access every point or step of the process. Of course, if you already have your boarding pass you can either use your QR code or just your biometric information to access your passenger profile information at the counters to check-in your baggage, purchase any additional service or just validate your documentation.
What if? You don’t have to wait for a long time queuing at the security checkpoint as a result of using the most advanced and state-of-the-art biometric face recognition technologies instead of security personnel, entering the security area without the need to remove your shoes or take out your belongings, such as laptops, tablets and cellphones, and just keeping everything where it is. Yes this is also possible and it is happening all around the world. In the case of Mexico, this technology has already been implemented at Felipe Angeles International Airport AIFA (iata code :NLU).
All this might sound extremely aspirational but … What if? We could be at our gate area with a lot of time before the flight and the airlines keep us informed about all the services onboard, preboarding requirements and estimated time for departure or delays as well as the airport keeping us informed about all retail services, duty free promotions and food and beverages, all through push notifications on our smart devices.
What if? We help all passengers to feel self-sufficient and independent.
But this is just the beginning. The aviation industry needs to invest in more useful technology not only to increase the level of services but also to guarantee safe and on-time operational performance. This is a must for airports and airlines and the only way they can achieve this is by working together to align criteria, needs and priorities.
There is a long way to go but at Apollocom, we are convinced that we have the knowledge and experience to help the aviation industry evolve according to industry needs and normativity.