SITA is arguing that airports will need to rely on smart technology if they want to reopen safely in the wake of COVID-19. The company specifically highlighted distancing, sanitation, and health checks as three important criteria that could help restore trust in the airline industry.
Mobile technology will be essential in that regard. A complete mobile ecosystem would allow passengers to complete each step of their airport journey with their own mobile device. As a result, they would no longer need to touch check-in kiosks, payment terminals, and other shared devices. That, in turn, would lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
The goal is to enable a fully touchless passenger experience. Biometric screening is another key component of that process. Thermal scanners would be able to detect anyone running a fever and ensure that everyone walking through the airport has a clean bill of health, while facial recognition would facilitate contactless passenger identification at security checkpoints.
Distancing, meanwhile, refers to social distancing, which could be supported with predictive analytics to improve the flow of traffic at an airport. Allowing passengers to check in and drop their bags before entering the airport would increase the amount of physical space and reduce logjams throughout the airport.
“Our industry must transform the passenger experience to increase traveler safety while balancing economic pressures from slow customer demand,” said new SITA Airline and Airport VP Sebastien Fabre. “To successfully return to the skies for viable volumes of passengers, airports and airlines need to assimilate new information from governments and health officials, adapt operations immediately and automate processes permanently.”
Fabre indicated that airport traffic has increased in the past few weeks, with baggage volumes going up 55 percent month-over-month after reaching record lows. In the meantime, Thales has argued that similar safety measures will need to be taken to restore confidence in rail travel after the pandemic.
June 12, 2020 – by Eric Weiss