June 15 2020: Smart technology will be crucial for airlines to return to the skies in a Post Covid-19 world. On the ground, flexible border solutions and low-touch experiences to aid compliance and confidence in travel will increasingly come into play, to restore passenger confidence after a lengthy shutdown suggests air transport technology leader, SITA.
Speaking on the sidelines of an Aviation Week webinar event Sebastien Fabre, Vice-President Airline & Airport, SITA said: “The past few weeks have seen airlines across the globe tentatively take to the skies. This is reflected in a resumption in activity across our network and improved baggage volumes, up 55% month-on-month in May where volumes were at a record low.”
However, Fabre noted that recovery would be slow. “ The industry must transform the passenger experience to increase traveler safety while balancing economic pressures from slow customer demand. To successfully walk this tightrope and navigate a return to the skies for viable volumes of passengers, airports and airlines need to assimilate new information from governments and health officials, adapt operations immediately and automate processes permanently.
SITA has introduced solutions that allow passengers to use their mobile device as a remote control for touchpoints such as self-bag drop and check-in kiosks, removing the need to touch any airport equipment. "For example, at San Francisco Airport, we have SITA Flex which enables a full mobile and touchless passenger journey. This means travelers can print bag tags from their mobile phone on self-service bag points.” added Fabre. He noted that technology would be fundamental helping airlines and airports to be compliant with new and fast-changing regulations to restore passenger’s confidence in flying. New preventive measures aimed at limiting risk in the airport and onboard will require a new approach to passenger management.
New solutions that addressed the above challenges:
- Distancing: Using real-time monitoring technologies along with predictive analytics, can ensure appropriate distancing between passengers at key points across the airport. Predictive analytics will also support more proactive planning. There is also an opportunity to extend the boundaries of the airport where key steps such as check-in and bag drop are managed before arriving at the terminal through a passenger’s mobile.
- Hygiene and Sanitation: Reduce the risk of infection by avoiding contact at key touchpoints. Using a combination of biometric and mobile solutions, passengers no longer have to touch a kiosk or surface, managing their journey from their phone.
- Health checks: In addition to integrating health or thermal checks into key touchpoints such as check-in kiosks, governments will – by leveraging risk management solutions – be able to use pre-boarding check (Advance Passenger Processing) and perform analytics on passenger journey data to identify and mitigate potential health risks.