Ease of Travel

New practices for passenger facilitation at airports

With a continuous increase in air passenger traffic, governments, airlines and airports are required to adapt their processes to maintain the safety and security of their operations on the ground and in the air. Passenger and travel facilitation is the cornerstone of a faster, seamless passenger throughput. It enhances security and im­proves customer experience and satisfaction. At a recent airports conference organised by Indian Infrastructure, industry experts shared their views on passenger facilitation at airports, emerging needs, best practices and new technologies. Excerpts…

Joeri Aulman, Region Manager, NACO & InterVISTAS

Remote bag drop facilities will increase pass­enger footfall in commercial areas, and enhan­ce overall customer experience at airports. It is necessary to construct buildings that are re­silient to changes and the cost of making those changes should be limited.

Arun Behal, Chief Operating Officer, GMR Hyderabad International Airport

The CCTV analytics system contributes to effective queue and apron management, meeting air­side speed regulations, and preventing

ma­sk and social distancing violations in the ter­minal building. One of the notable features of CCTV analytics is that it is significantly more co­st-effective than sensor-based systems. The cost of these systems is approximately one-fif­th of the cost of a traditional sensor system.

Johan Berhin, Founder and Designer, Green Furniture Concept

Biophilic design uses nature’s way of designing, with powerful effects on well-being and en­gage­ment. With the installation of the Biophilic design effect at the London Victoria Station, the overall passenger traffic has increased from 23 per cent to 80 per cent.

Adishesha C.S., Director, Collins Aerospace

Some of the passenger processing solutions are self-checks at kiosks, self-service bag-dro­ps and bolder management solutions such as advanced passenger information. In addition, biometrics helps create a contactless jo­ur­ney. The future technologies will include electrified aircraft, autonomous operation, advan­ced str­uc­tures and integrated solutions.

Lynn Gordon, Vice-President, Business Development, Arconas

Arconas has a global supply chain, with its main manufacturing base in Canada. However, it sources raw materials and design inputs from all around the world. Airports are investing heavily in infrastructure to supply power to sea­ting, even though it is very expensive, and they are seeing incredible benefits.

Bora Isbulan, Chief Commercial Officer, Plaza Premium Group

It is expected that the total number of passengers travelling by air will return to the 2019 levels between 2023 and 2025. The future of airport hostility will focus on increased digital ad­option, hygiene, sustainable infrastructure, tra­vel with purpose, collaborative workspace and connecting with communities. Further, the sm­a­rt travel initiative will provide a seamless digital customer experience. Basil Kilian, Consultant, BK Airport Services

To improve capacity handling and provide facilities for the passengers, Mumbai airport has embarked on various upgrades. Once the Navi Mumbai Airport project gets executed, it will become the primary airport in the Mum­bai region.

Kjell Kloosterziel, Director International, Royal Schiphol Group

We should try to create airport infrastructure that is flexible and adaptable to changes. The passenger flow needs to be more automated and the technology will help a lot in the seamless flow of traffic.

Sampreeth Kotian, Head, Terminal Operations, Bangalore International Airport Limited

There has been an increased focus on passenger travel safety and maintaining physical distance. Bangalore International Airport has initiated several measures for contactless travel. For instance, a virtual information desk has be­en set up and passengers can scan using their mobile phones and directly get OTP to ac­cess Wi-Fi facilities at the airport.

Dr Sharad Kumar, Airport Director, Chennai Airport, Airports Authority of India

As part of its green energy initiatives, Chennai Airport uses more than 70 per cent of its en­ergy requirement from solar power, thereby saving energy costs up to Rs 6 million per mon­th. The Airports Authority of India is going ah­ead with its plan of transitioning to satellite-based air navigation services, including communication navigation and surveillance, air tra­ffic control management, metrological services, and aeronautical information services.

Ben Van Leest, Senior Vice-President, Aviation, Transoft Solutions

Transoft Solutions develops innovative and hi­ghly specialised services for transportation professionals in the aviation and civil infrastr­uc­ture industry. AVIPLAN software provides advanced aircraft manoeuvre and parking stand simulation and visualisation solutions. It has been deployed at all major airports in India. The AIRTOP terminal module is expected to be launched in about two weeks.

Paramvir Nagpal, CEO, Mapsted

Mapsted provides location-based solutions for a broad range of business sectors including tra­nsportation, banking and hospitality. Map­sted offers products such as location positioning technology, location marketing technology, and location analytics technology. These location-based services do not rely on beacons, Wi-Fi or additional external hardware, and work in traditional dead zones where travellers do not get cellular reception.

Jonathan Norman, Global Head of Airports and Airlines, Frost and Sullivan

With Covid-19, the customer profiles of airports have been changed. Also, there are changes in the way low-cost airlines are operating their businesses. India is becoming the perfect market for international airlines. Total Airport Ma­na­gement System is an upcoming concept, whi­ch encompasses the entire airport operations linking all the stakeholders on a single platform. Digital pro­jects related to passenger processing, passenger flow, on-time performance, and baggage handling are emerging as priority areas.

Vasudevan S., Partner and Global Sector Lead (Airports), KPMG

The biggest challenge to integrate end-service providers is to get stakeholders on board and get real-time audits done by a third party. The standardisation of airports in terms of passenger profiles is necessary. In the near future, the design of terminals and adoption of technology will remain key focus areas.

Aman Saini, Airport Director, Surat Airport

Air travel is gradually showing signs of recovery as local restrictions are being lifted, with the Surat Airport passenger traffic movement re­turning to pre-Covid levels in March 2021. The Surat International Airport’s expansion plans include the extension of a terminal building, construction of a parallel taxi track, and extension of the apron at the airport.

Aryama Sanyal, Airport Director, Varanasi Airport

The upcoming projects at the Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport include implementation of a passenger baggage trolley retrieval system, extension of the car parking area and development of two new aircraft parking stan­ds. The commissioning of the in-line baggage system at the airport has facilitated the passengers to move forward up to check-in counters without any queue for baggage X-ray, saving time for both passengers and aircrafts.

Nitin Sawant, Head, Disaster Management (Enterprise Risk and Corporate Resilience), Bangalore International Airport

Kempegowda International Airport’s key Covid-19 mitigation strategies include single point co­ordination, delegation of authority, including financial authority, and quick decision-making based on rapid developments. Currently, the focus is on transforming emergency management into disaster management.

Manu Tandon, Vice-President India and South Asia, Elenium Automation

In the next 15 years, about 9 billion passenge­rs will be added. There is a need for collaboration between airlines and airports. Some of the key drivers of digital transformation are capacity optimisation, operational excellence and agility. They will help reduce capex and op­ex, increase non-aero revenue generation and im­prove passenger satisfaction.

Ian Taylor, Aviation Leader, Arup

Airlines handled 4.4 billion passengers in 2018, with the International Air Transport Asso­ciation predicting that this figure will double to 8.2 billion by 2037. The transition to sustainable aeroplane fuels, data-driven decision-making, increasing automation, and readiness to handle future shocks is the new normal for the aviation industry.

Anand Thirunagari, Country Manager, Genetec

Some of the common challenges faced by airports are operations and maintenance of multiple silos and emerging new threats beyond security. About 70 per cent of the security acti­vities are common. The security threats can be efficiently handled using a unified approach as it requires maintaining fewer systems and ser­vers, and no integrations are needed to rebuild after each upgrade. Genetec Security Center consists of three core modules, an acc­ess control system, a video management system and licence plate recognition technology.

Ashwini Thorat, Head, Design and Planning, Noida International Airport

Digitalisation and sustainability are the focus areas. Recent initiatives at the Noida Interna­tional Airport include recognising trees for preservation, transplanting and utilising them to create the airport infrastructure. A twofold approach is being followed while designing the airport. First, responding and adapting to what is available in the market, and second, recognising what could come in the near future.

Girish V.G., Assistant Manager-Airport Operations, Kannur International Airport

Kannur International Airport has handled more than 0.78 million passengers from May 12, 2020 till September 30, 2021, one of the most challenging times in the aviation industry due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In order to enhance passenger experience, the airport authorities maintain relationships with their customers th­rough their official social media accounts.

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