The aviation industry literally moves the world and air travel has now become an important part of our modern lives. What does the future of air travel look like? How can we improve passenger experience and be more efficient?

Professional services firm Arup has published a report highlighting some key aspects of a future-ready airport. Let’s break down this report and together uncover the actions that we can take.

1. Delivering a Zero Queue Terminal

Passengers all want a seamless transition from home to the airport, to the aeroplane and to their destination. A zero queue terminal can be attained by streamlining the flow of passengers as well as their baggage. This will reduce the perception of the processes involved before managing to get into the place. Overall, this will improve the experience of the passengers.

At the side of the airline companies, this will improve the reputation and the recognition of the airport. At the same time, this will cut down operational cost.

In order to do this, there should be a conscious effort to reexamine the existing practices, eliminating or combining queue-inducing processes, and streamlining the remaining ones.

2. Reimagining Retail, Entertainment, and Dining

Apart from the safety of the flight, what the customers can do before, during, and after the flight also matters a lot in enhancing their overall experience. The use of consumer data to customize entertainment for each passenger is also another domain that can be explored. By doing these, profitability is retained.

The Jewel in Changi Airport in Singapore is a very good example of seamlessly merging entertainment, shopping, nature, and dining experience in an airport.

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3. Redesigning the Future Terminal

Redesigning terminals so that they are future-ready involved taking advantage of the emerging digital solutions to take the place of traditional terminal planning and design practices.

The airports of the future will operate very differently from the airports of today and we must plan for that. The Digital Age will enable lesser physical infrastructure and optimise operations and throughput.

Some of the solutions that are being implemented in various airports are:

  • Using AI to optimise terminal infrastructure and maintenance
  • Flexibility in baggage drop-off and processing
  • Automated immigration checks

4. Aiming for Cost Efficiency

Air travel of the future should be great, but it should also be accessible from a financial standpoint. Affordable does not mean unprofitable. If anything, this would attract more consumers to consider booking their next flight sooner.

In order to achieve this, there is a need to build an effective stakeholder collaboration — one which considers the entire spectrum of operating requirements and constraints among everyone involved.

Airline companies should consider exploring a shared service model, sharing things like:

  • Resources
  • Process
  • Infrastructure
  • Space
  • IT
  • line maintenance model

By doing this, costs will be reduced. At the same time, service and productivity will also be improved.

Multiple perspectives

In order to equip our airports for the future, there is a clear need to step out of the practices we are currently using. Aviation companies should start looking at different perspectives, seeing how each stakeholder is affected by any decision to change or retain a practice.

The future of aviation will definitely bring about a lot of changes. The best way that we could welcome all these changes is not being resistant to making some changes ourselves.

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