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Analytics, biometrics and cloud to enhance passenger experience


Airports are digitally transforming with the sector expected to increase investment in technology by an average of 17% in 2024, according to Travel Technology Investment Trends, a major new study commissioned by Amadeus.

Data from the study points to shared airport and airline objectives, with both seeking to improve the passenger experience.

In fact, senior airline leaders confirmed that ‘improving the passenger experience at the airport’ is their top technology priority. This matches closely with leaders of airports, who also stated this objective as the number one reason for investing in technology.

Both airports and airlines view biometrics as a transformative technology, with 66% of airport and 65% of airline executives planning to implement biometrics at key airport service points like check-in, bag-drop and boarding over the coming three years.

The survey highlights the desire of airports and airlines to work better together to reach their shared objectives, with 64% of airport leaders planning to ‘implement improved data sharing agreements with airlines’ over the coming three years.

Over a longer-term horizon (five years), what the top technology airport leaders plan to implement is ‘more advanced and collaborative technology at the Airport Operational Control Centre (APOC)’.

Such tools enable airports to simulate the impact of operational decisions before they happen and deliver new unified communications channels to work more responsively with stakeholders like airlines.

Airport leaders’ plans for technology implementation in the short and medium term. Top five choices from a selection of 12 options.

Yet when asked about their top technology challenges, half of airport leaders surveyed pointed to ‘a lack of common technology that brings stakeholders together around shared processes’ as their number one challenge.

Leaders also cited inflexible passenger systems that force airport services like check-in and baggage to be delivered from specific locations.

This challenge explains why a third of airports said they plan to move such systems to the cloud this year in search of greater flexibility, with 92% of those surveyed seeing value in offering passenger services from new locations inside and outside the terminal.

Holger Mattig, Amadeus’ SVP product management, airport and airline operations: said: “We see from this study that airports and airlines face common challenges and share common objectives.

“Whether it’s transforming the end-to-end passenger experience with biometrics, reducing baggage delay issues or better managing day-to-day operations with more collaborative technology at the APOC, everyone wants the same outcomes.

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ – nowhere is that more true than airport operations. To maximise outcomes from this 17% increase in spend, it’s important technology is viewed as a way to better connect stakeholders and to establish a more mature ecosystem in aviation.

“That’s how we’ll improve on-time performance and deliver more value for passengers.”

Airport leaders were also asked to choose the most important broad technologies for their businesses in the short and medium term from a shortlist of 15 options, with machine learning, generative AI, cloud computing and digital payments topping the list of priorities both in the coming year and over a five year horizon.

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