As the world reopens post-pandemic, it’s evident that the desire to travel remains robust. However, the recent influx of travelers combined with labor shortages has disrupted flight operations at airports around the world. These challenges, seen at some airports, underscore the importance of applying new technologies that help all stakeholders at the airport work more closely together.
That’s why it’s so important to us at Amadeus to support the ACI World’s Technology Innovation Awards. This year’s entries highlight the important operational and passenger experience advances that airports have made through the application of innovation.
Shared technology supports closer collaboration
Airlines, airports and other actors do not cooperate sufficiently today in most cases. They all play an important role in passenger, flight, airport and baggage services. However, it is the efficient combination of the individual contributions that achieves better results for the passengers. This remains a long-standing challenge that new advances in technology are now beginning to address.
Airports and their partners need a common technology that enables them to share data, manage complex shared processes and create an ecosystem of advanced, combined capabilities. I believe that every player pushes the limits of what can be achieved by working in a silo – progress lies in a consistent and collaborative approach. This is how our industry can really move forward on long-term challenges like incident management.
The winners of the Technology Innovation Award point the way forward
Recent challenges in the operating environment also underscore the particularly impressive achievements of this year’s Technology Innovation Award winners. It has never been more important to recognize airports’ commitment to the important role of technological innovation in shaping airport evolution and the passenger experience.
This year’s entries were of consistently high quality, but special congratulations are reserved for the winning airports and teams involved.
Best innovation in airport operations and installation management celebrates the digital transformation that improves an airport’s core processes. congratulations to Incheon Airport to the Incheon Airport data sandbox.
Incheon Airport developed and launched a big data platform Airport data sandbox Service to facilitate data collection and provide an analytics service to stakeholders in a user-friendly environment.
The analytics provide stakeholders with actionable intelligence for areas such as real-time passenger flow, terminal congestion, inclement weather delay forecast, traffic forecast, transportation forecast, and home-to-airport service.
Airport data sandbox represents a giant leap forward for interactive collaboration across the airport community, helping to better allocate resources, manage staff, customize the airport journey for customers, reduce costs and improve operational efficiencies.
Best innovation in passenger-related processes at the airport recognizes technological innovation focused on delivering an enhanced passenger experience. congratulations to AENA to the AENA Biometric journey from home to plane at Barcelona airport.
AENA launched its third biometric project at Barcelona Airport for the Vueling Barcelona – Malaga route. This project is the most comprehensive, covering the entire passenger journey from home to the boarding gate.
Passengers register for the biometric program via the AENA app at home or at an airport check-in kiosk. Passengers use biometrics for self bag drop, access security, and boarding the aircraft.
The project is fully compliant with data protection laws and allows passengers to travel without having to show identification documents or a boarding pass at any point in the airport, enabling a seamless, touchless and more agile airport experience.
Best Airport Innovation Guide celebrates individual visionary technology leadership in the industry. Special congratulations to Suhail Kamil Kadri, Senior Vice President, Technology & Innovation at Hamad International Airport.
Suhail is a leader among his peers due to his career achievements and leadership on industry advisory boards and committees. His in-depth knowledge of the airport business, flair for which technology brings value and ability to build strong partnerships have earned him multiple awards and accolades over the years.
Kadri led Hamad International Airport to become the first airport to successfully trial a single biometric passenger journey, making traveling through airport processes seamless, touchless and digital. He was Vice Chair of the ACI World IT Standing Committee for many years and is now Chair, where he supported numerous initiatives such as ACRIS to drive standardization, interoperability and cost reduction of airport IT systems.
Suhail also encourages young companies in a variety of ways, including securing corporate sponsorships and supporting emerging talent and future leaders in the industry.
These awards represent the highest accolade for airport operators and all of us at Amadeus would like to congratulate each winner of the Technology Innovation Award and reiterate our pride in supporting airports that strive tirelessly to innovate at every opportunity.
An explosion of innovation makes us look to the future with optimism
There are a number of technology trends that make me very optimistic about the pace of innovation in aviation. The ability to capture, store, and learn from massive amounts of data at breakneck speed is easier than ever. This has significant implications for airport operations with the opportunity to better optimize resource allocation and make decisions in new ways, such as prioritizing sustainability goals.
Other innovations now beginning to mature are digital twins, which can help operations teams visualize and scenario plan based on data insights. A digital twin is a virtual model of a real object or place. The virtual representation is created using sensors positioned around the airport, enabling a video game-style virtual representation of a location such as a departure lounge. If you have ever played a modern video game then you can imagine a digital twin.
Imagine a large plane lands and the digital twin can alert airport management to malfunctioning passenger elevators in the terminal. How could the incoming flow of people work without an elevator? What is the likely impact on connecting passengers? With a shared digital twin, the right decisions can be made, for example maybe we should assign the plane to an alternative gate.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
Even before we move to widespread digital twins, the IoT will transform the way we run airport terminals. Bringing together data from such disparate connected assets as air conditioners, elevators, and even passenger lavatories helps airports run more smoothly and sustainably.
Today, Amadeus is conducting trials with airports, helping them deploy connected sensors to measure air quality at and around the airport. These tiny sensors use infrared to detect the concentration of fine dust particles in the air so we can make more sustainable choices.
This realization opens the door to new ways of operating an airport, such as charging airlines based on emissions rather than typical landing pad (or volume-based) metrics. When you have this emissions data from the IoT, the optimization algorithms used to run an airport can be rewritten to account for sustainability goals, rather than just operational efficiency goals.
When I think about the big challenges facing our industry; the need for automation, meeting sustainability goals and the need to enable a better experience with scarce resources, it is clear that technology can be a driver of change. So, congratulations to the winners of this year’s ACI World Technology Innovation Awards! I look forward to seeing the innovations in action.