The digitalisation of aviation post-pandemic

Karthik Viswanathan October 3 | Updated on October 03, 2021

Airport experiences are gradually integrating contactless technology

The aviation industry is one of the most successful sectors today, and technology has always played a vital role in revamping the flying experience. However, the advent of a crisis as large as the pandemic, made it even more critical today, and airlines have shown incredible resilience in adapting to the situation. The future of the industry is so reliant on technology that the integration of contactless operations and digital changes is essential for its revival.

Reinventing experiences

While robotics in several areas began a few years ago, its full potential is being seen now. For a long time, biometrics and artificial intelligence have been making the rounds in the airline industry for identification verification, displacing conventional fingerprint and hand scanners.

It is envisaged that touchless technology such as iris and face recognition will take its place, and contactless travel, passenger health checks, and social isolation will be pivotal.

Gradually, we will see a noticeable change in the airport experience as we enter the airport, check-in, board the flight, and go through security and baggage routines.

Health passports are the future of travel, allowing airlines to verify the validity of passengers’ Covid-19 test results and indicating the passenger’s health status, which could become a travel necessity, just like one’s travel passport.

Safety first

Airports are now using thermal screening at checkpoints to monitor passenger health. Also, fully autonomous mobile disinfectant robots will be introduced, as is the case in Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar, which has invested in and acquired disinfectant robots and advanced thermal screening helmets. Airlines and airports have adopted new safety measures to comply with the health regulations that include maintaining social distance and implementing aircraft cleaning solutions to improve hygiene on board.

Furthermore, in-house catering service methods have undergone a significant transformation, emphasising reduced contact delivery and increased food safety precautions to serve meals effectively and efficiently.

Technology will have a prolonged impact as it leads the industry to be safer, while carrying out environmentally focussed sustainable operations. New technologies in the future have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from aviation drastically and flight operators are already utilising modern technology to optimise flight planning and operations. In order to improve passenger experience, seamless connectivity and health security will be the focus in the future. As we move forward, both airports and airlines will monitor technological and regulatory advancements to establish digital and more sustainable travel.

The author is Regional Manager, Indian Sub-Continent, Qatar Airways

Published on October 03, 2021

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