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Celebrating innovation


ACI’s Technology Innovation Awards, held in partnership with Amadeus, highlight cutting edge initiatives and leadership by airports that improve operations or increase efficiency.

In what has now become an annual event, ACI World and Amadeus invite airports to submit innovative technology projects and examples of leadership that enhance the passenger journey, drive operational efficiency or improve processes for employees, travellers and other stakeholders, for the chance to win a Technology Innovation Award.

Past winners have involved themes such as big data, biometrics, artificial intelligence, and automation.

This year, from submissions received across the globe from airports of all sizes, a panel of external industry decided that the 2023 award winners are Incheon, for its Airport XR Metaverse Services initiative; Hong Kong for its innovation in airport operations and installations management; and Miami International Airport’s Maurice Jenkins for being an innovation leader.

Incheon innovation

The ‘Best Innovation in Airport Passenger Related Processes’ was won by Incheon International Airport for its XR Metaverse Services initiative, which connects virtuality and reality.

The project is a new and innovative metaverse that is designed to allow passengers to enjoy smart, easy and comfortable travel through the South Korean gateway.

It consists of a 3D spatial metaverse environment providing an indoor wayfinding service of the actual passenger terminals (T1, T2 and Concourse), covering about 1.4 million square metres. It is based on 3D spatial data and augmented reality (AR) technology and offers a virtual experience of Incheon Airport using VR technology.

AR-based indoor wayfinding enables users to visit the digital version of the airport from home and get the necessary information by virtually experiencing various facilities and processes within the airport.

Operations management excellence in Hong Kong

The ‘Best Innovation in Airport Operations and Installations Management’ award was won by Hong Kong International Airport for its Digital Apron and Tower Management System.

The initiative represents the first airport and Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) collaboration system with a single digital platform.

Using the latest digital video technology and in line with the ICAO Global Air Navigation Plan, Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) collaborated with the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) of Hong Kong to implement the DATMS for Hong Kong International Airport.

The new system enables stakeholders to overcome physical visual constraints by supplementing the out-of-window view with ultra-high-definition camera views on displays, overlaid with essential aircraft information to enhance visual surveillance by airport and aerodrome operators.

Leading by example

The judging panel awarded the ‘Best Airport Innovation Leader’ accolade to Maurice Jenkins, chief innovation officer at Miami International Airport.

According to ACI World and Amadeus, Jenkins has more than 30 years’ experience and sustained superior performance directly linked to Miami International Airport’s strategic growth and the realisation of its innovative objectives.

They state that he “has envisioned new technologies that improve business processes and customer experience and has been a keen adopter of self-service technologies, while also encouraging airlines serving the airport to embrace innovation”.

Jenkins has also applied his expertise to help drive improvements for the benefit of the wider industry as past chairman of ACI North America’s Business Information Technology (BIT) Committee, which sponsors initiatives to develop ground-breaking airport technology-based service models and works with members and partners to encourage innovation in the industry.

Talking about the annual awards, Amadeus’ executive vice president for airport and airline operations, Elena Avila, enthused: “The industry has made great progress recently, particularly by applying new technologies like biometrics to improve the passenger experience.

“Looking forward, we anticipate a need for more fundamental technology transformation. Big challenges like responding to disruption require a whole new level of collaboration and data sharing between airports, airlines and their stakeholders.

“There’s a huge opportunity to join up the technology platforms underpinning these shared processes so every company involved in aviation can better communicate, share their business logic and work from the same operational view. Ultimately, that’s how we’re going to achieve a step-change and it’s a primary focus for my team.”

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