Despite eased travel restrictions, what is the new challenge for airport authorities? This summer, holiday-starved travellers have flooded airports, with travel agencies claiming a spike in reservations because of the new, more relaxed restrictions. Covid-19 is under control, and airports worldwide are slowly returning to normal operations, but the increased security measures and workforce shortages are causing record waits, resulting in a bad consumer experience.
Speedy security checks will help travellers have a hassle-free trip, and new technologies may make it feasible to delight passengers, airports and their stakeholders. Airlines and airports across the globe are using biometric checks as a viable way to deal with the high number of passengers. This will allow travellers to proceed through the airport without having their passports or tickets verified manually.
Quotes: The contactless biometric route is the latest in a series of measures we’ve launched to ensure that flying on Emirates is a smooth trip and provides consumers with extra peace of mind.
Unwelcomed New Challenges
Air travel has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic over the past year and a half, with huge losses in passenger numbers and income. The pandemic’s further undesirable side effect is the lengthier queues at airports because of social distance and security concerns.
In April, a Heathrow official informed the UK Parliament’s Transport Select Committee that the airport’s wait time had increased to six hours because border officers are compelled to personally examine each passenger’s paperwork, including a passenger location form and confirmation of a negative Covid-19 test.
The Home Office told the Financial Times that, “Queues and wait times will now be lengthier because we must conduct comprehensive inspections at the border since some travellers have not fulfilled the relevant formalities to enter the UK, such as purchasing Covid testing packages or booking their hotel quarantine in advance.”
Intelligent forecasting and planning automation technology is vital to more knowledgeable and effective decision-making. Using machine learning to estimate passenger arrival patterns and processing times based on characteristics like arrival gate, flight (origin), and time of day, it becomes much simpler to match resources with demand accurately.
Consequently, what can firms do to avoid long wait times? Is it possible for modern Technology to genuinely help?
If you’re looking for a quick answer, the answer is yes. Several airports have already embraced some of the following airport technology alternatives and are trending in the airport management news to decrease airport waits.
Ingenious Smart Tunnel Systems At Dubai International Airport
In October 2020, Emirates, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, unveiled a biometric route at Dubai International Airport that would allow passengers in transit through the airport to display no identification credentials.
Using facial and iris recognition, Vision Box’s airport technology enables passengers to check-in, execute immigration paperwork, and board in a contactless approach and decrease queue times and support related health and safety requirements.
According to Emirates COO Adel Al Redha, “We have always concentrated on offering a wonderful consumer experience at every touchpoint, and today it is more essential than ever to adopt modern Technology and deploy solutions that emphasize not just fast-tracking consumers, but more crucially, on health and safety throughout their travel experience. The contactless biometric route is the latest in a series of measures we’ve launched to ensure that flying on Emirates is a smooth trip and provides consumers with extra peace of mind.”
Smart Tunnel, created by Dubai’s General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs in partnership with Emirates, allows passengers to be automatically approved by immigration officials while going through it as part of the biometric route.
Besides the biometric route and the Smart Tunnel, Dubai Airport has implemented several other technical advancements. Mobile-controlled touchless check-in and baggage return stations were deployed at the hub in February 2021, allowing travellers to avoid touching self-check-in displays.
Facial Recognition And Personal Data Protection At Airports In Japan
All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines have introduced Face Express, an innovative solution to boarding operations using facial recognition technology. Haneda Airport in Tokyo has also implemented self-service passenger identification kiosks as part of its Face Express service, which strives for a frictionless boarding procedure and a seamless ground experience for outgoing travellers.
Tokyo International Air Terminal Corporation (TIAT) provides this service to eliminate the requirement to show passports and boarding tickets at the baggage check, security screening, and boarding gates. To verify the identification of travellers registering for Face Express, self-service kiosks take face pictures of them.
Though Face Express has prompted privacy concerns, the airports have claimed that all photos collected by Face Express and any information that can identify a traveller will be destroyed within 24 hours of their acquisition. If a passenger feels uncomfortable, they may opt-out and go through the usual security check.
EU-Wide Implementation Of Smarter Borders
In 2013, as the number of non-Schengen people entering the EU grew, the notion of smart borders was born. The Entry/Exit System Regulation (EES) and the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) were formed by legislation passed in 2017 and 2018. (ETIAS).
Biometric data, personal information, and entrance and departure dates and locations will be recorded by the systems, which will be deployed in 2022. Security, migration, and health threats from non-Schengen visitors will be identified while making it simpler for travellers to transit across the Union’s borders will also be a priority.
There have been a few bumps along the road during the implementation process. According to the International Flight Transport Association’s Global Airport, Passenger & Accessibility Symposium, most passengers regard immigration and security processes as the most stressful element of air travel, and they can only endure extremely short lines for these procedures.
To address this issue, automated border control kiosks are used in handling large numbers of passengers while preserving health and safety standards. Because of the kiosks’ passenger-centric design feature simplified displays, multi-language support, and the ability to process family groupings, making them part of a larger process of optimizing passengers’ smooth flow around an airport.
Nobody can deny that passenger processing points like immigration will continue to be inconvenient as long as documentation checks remain manual, workforce shortages exist, and travel restrictions change.
Intelligent automation and the use of the latest aviation technology may make a significant difference in a couple of weeks by utilizing live data, passenger forecasting, and capacity planning technologies.
A better understanding of passenger arrival times and processing requirements based on origin and passport will allow airports and their border control partners to react more quickly to changes in travel rules and regulations. The moment has come to act.