Smart Airports Will Change the Way You Travel

Smart Airports Will Change the Way You Travel

The global smart airport market will reach $22.6 billion by 2025, according to the Smart Airport – Global Market Trajectory & Analytics.

An intelligent airport is an airport that can completely exploit the capabilities of mature as well as emerging technologies that are built to create a digital grid. The concept revolves around using a converged, carrier-grade IP (internet protocol) network with high-speed broadband capabilities that connects various components of the ecosystem, namely airlines, airports, airport city, security agencies, logistics, and others.


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Smart airports use connected technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT) devices, GPS, and sensors to perform planning and operations tasks digitally and support operational staff, optimizing passenger flows and the activities of the airport staff across the airport. Smart Airport applications include automated gates, facial recognition to identify passengers at automatic gates and various checkpoints; automation of immigration processes; digital wayfinding; health monitoring systems; automated luggage scanning and weighing, among others, according to Global Infrastructure Hub.

Future Airports & Novel Technologies

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the global market for Smart Airports, estimated at $17.2 Billion in the year 2022, is projected to reach a revised size of $22.6 Billion by 2025, registering a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.5 percent over the analysis period. The United States represents the largest regional market for Smart Airports, accounting for an estimated 23 percent share of the global total.

The market is projected to reach $5 Billion by the close of the analysis period. China is expected to spearhead growth and emerge as the fastest-growing regional market, with a CAGR of 13.1 percent over the analysis period.

Smart airport development mandates the integration of complex technologies, infrastructure, processes, people, and businesses, which is anticipated to drive significant growth in the global market for smart airport technologies.

Future airports will leverage the capabilities of novel technologies, such as behavioral analytics, gamification, mobile apps, processors, and sensors. Intelligent airport technology is likely to eliminate the need for check-in or security.

CES, electronics, convention
Future airports will leverage the capabilities of novel technologies.

Biometrical and Biological Data

Genia Photonics, for instance, developed a laser scanner that can scan through organic materials and clothes to detect explosives and drugs. Further, passengers will be given clearance based on their biometrical and biological data.

Future airports will leverage the capabilities of novel technologies, such as behavioral analytics, gamification, mobile apps, processors, and sensors. Europe and North America represent the leading regional markets.

The European market for smart airports is expected to record growth driven by the anticipated rise in passengers flying on domestic and international routes, which will encourage the adoption of improved technologies in the region’s airports.

Growth in the US is fostered by the increasing focus on modernization initiatives of airports in these nations. Expanding passenger volumes is a major driving factor for the smart airports market in developing nations.

Increased aviation activity in these markets in the form of increased air travel, resulting from years of strong economic development, has generated strong demand.

Temperature-scanning technology and thermal imaging at an airport terminal.
Hamad International Airport launched next-generation self-service check-in kiosks and self-service bag drops with biometric technology capability.

Three Modern Examples

London Heathrow Airport

Implementation: British Airways is trialing autonomous robots to guide passengers around Terminal 5. They have also trailed self-driving luggage vehicles and installed automated bag drop machines and self-boarding technology across the airport. They have undertaken extensive training programs to enable staff to utilize specialized apps to solve customer issues.

Cost: Part of British Airways’ GBP 6.5 billion investment for customers.

Timeframe: British Airways has been experimenting with automation for several years. Autonomous robots will be trialed in 2020.

Hamad International Airport

Implementation: The airport launched next-generation self-service check-in kiosks and self-service bag drops with biometric technology capability. A mobile Automated Visa Document Check has been introduced, enabling ground service operators to check passenger visa documentation before they board.

Cost: The self-service kiosks are faster than the traditional methods, allowing passengers to process one bag in less than 50 seconds. As per the reports, the new launch is estimated to speed up the processing by 40 percent.

Timeframe: The self-service kiosks and bag drop facilities have been available to passengers since October 15, 2018. The service will be extended to foreign airline passengers shortly.

Singapore Changi Airport

Implementation: The airport is integrated with technologies, including sensors, data analytics, and artificial intelligence, to enhance the customer experience while improving productivity. They developed a blockchain-based digital wallet that enables passengers to use frequent flyer rewards at airport retailers.

Cost: The airport extension, a project named ‘Jewel Changi,’ cost SGD 1.7 billion.

Timeframe: The blockchain digital wallet was launched in 2018. The ‘Jewel Changi airport extension opened in 2019.

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