New Terminal Technologies Enhance the Traveler’s Experience
It’s a new era for Airports as terminals around the world are paying ever-increased attention to the importance of customer service excellence. Halifax Stanfield International Airport (HIAA), British Airways (BA), and Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) are leading the industry pack in terms of pro-people technology innovations, and the added efforts to give travelers an easy, pleasant experience are paying off. The International Airport Review’s In-Depth Focus: Terminal Technologies gives us a heads’ up on these exciting technological developments.
Halifax – Atlantic Canada’s largest airport – has been ahead of the curve for years, offering Nova Scotia its first moving sidewalks from parking structure to terminal, (a game changer for those with mobility issues), and becoming the first airport in North America with self-service baggage drop for all passengers. More recent innovations include fully automated baggage handling systems which reduce average check-in time to two minutes, secure and efficient BorderXpress Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks, Trax Smart Restrooms to monitor and resolve problems in real-time, and sophisticated new baggage handling and screening technologies. In the words of Craig Paul, Director of Business Solutions and Information Technology at HIAA, “The only way to create the airport of tomorrow – our ultimate goal – is with the technology of the future.”
As the UK’s largest global airline, British Airways strives to maximize customer satisfaction. Working out of four of London’s largest airports and flying as many as 145,000 customers each day, British Airways ensure its operations are smooth by keeping itself on the cutting edge of technological trends for terminals. “We are actively embracing innovative use of technology to benefit our customers,” says Raoul Cooper, Airport Transformation Design Manager for British Airways. Self-serve bag drop facilities are in use today for 75% of travelers out of the UK, allowing most customers to arrive at the terminal ready to fly. BA was the first airline in the world to use Mototok tugs – eco-friendly yet high-tech, remote-controlled pushback vehicles. Mototoks facilitate much more efficient preparation for departure, which has led to a 72% reduction in pushback-related delays for the airline. British Airways also introduced self-service boarding gates using automated biometric technology in the U.K., and they’re in trials to use this technology in the U.S., partnering with Los Angeles International Airport.
Hong Kong International Airport provides a home to 100 airlines. In 2016, it was third in the world for international passenger traffic, serving 70.5 million customers. Despite the staggering numbers of travelers it sees, HKIA emphasizes high quality in the travel experience of its passengers by using many different new technologies. Chris Au Young, General Manager of Smart Airport at Airport Authority Hong Kong, says of passengers, “They come to the airport not only for check-in, security screening or immigration, but also to enjoy their time there. As such, our smart travel experience aims to make travel fast, easy and joyful.” Perhaps most impressive is the HKIA mobile app “HKG My Flight.” The app is not only a practical tool for travelers to stay on top of critical flight info but it also highlights the pleasant features of the airport such as shopping and dining. It includes a clever wayfinding function with AR (augmented reality), showing a real-time image of the airport, and aids foreign travelers by translating terminal signage into multiple languages. HKIA passengers can also use the app in combination with a smart luggage tag, and with notifications telling when checked bags are coming, the long wait for bags is a thing of the past.
Click the link below to read the full article and get more information on the advancements made by HIAA, BA and HKIA and detailed descriptions of the technology cited here.