Airports are a hotbed of activity. Not only are they a gateway to a city or country, but are also hubs of some of the most intense retail activity. Airports like Changi in Singapore and Dubai Airport are promoted as international shopping destinations. An airport is in many cases the first impression one gets of a city or country and it’s important to get that first impression right. Airports are always buzzing from constantly arriving and departing passengers, floating luggage, the constant threat to security and tons of cargo moving in and out of terminals, a smooth flowing operation is essential for this 24x7x365 enterprise.
Let’s look at pressure points Airports face today:
- The demand for air travel is increasing constantly stretching the handling capacity of airports to their limits.
- The modern air passenger has a much reduced tolerance for baggage mishandling, improperly maintained queues and congestion in general and demand a much higher level of service.
- Majority of airports are facing increasing pressure on the top line due to the increasing deficit in non-aeronautical revenues.
- Most of the new airport projects are entrepreneurial in nature, exposing them to competition from neighbouring airports as well as other modes of transport.
- There are several silo-ed systems that are running in parallel from airlines, queue management, air traffic control, passenger check in, baggage tracking, and numerous other government and security applications which give a sense of coordinated chaos.
In essence, running an airport profitably is an increasingly tough task. What most airport operators agree is that a great customer experience correlates strongly to increased revenues and higher margins on the bottom-line.
While the most obvious area of deploying funds by airport operators seems to be in capacity expansion, a smart and digitally aware airport can combine all the diverse systems into a common architecture and deliver timely operational insights to optimize capacity planning, intelligent deployment of resources and effective disruption management. Apart from the above, an intelligent digital airport can deliver on other key focus areas like:-
- Improve Non-Aeronautical Revenues: By providing targeted customer level insights to deploy digital promotions based on customer profile, past shopping data, identifying areas of high footfall and delivering customized promotions.
- Enable smart security: By converging disparate systems into one common platform, including government and security agency databases, biometrics, video surveillance and analytics.
- Improve Passenger Experience: By empowering passengers for easy self-service thus avoiding queues at human managed counters, timely notifications to manage congestions, helping passengers navigate through extensive terminals etc.
- Green Initiatives: By enabling efficient management of natural resources and emissions.
Investment in smart airport solutions is a proven solution with high ROI achieved through increased efficiency and better customer satisfaction and loyalty. What do you think?