Redefining Air Travel - Collins Aerospace

By Editor 09-Jun-2021

It has been more than a year since the commercial aviation and airport industry faced a shutdown due to the global pandemic. Yet, with an eye on recovery, the industry has come together to create a safer, healthier, and more efficient travel experience by leveraging the latest technologies and tools, and in doing so, is not only looking to make a recovery but to evolve into a stronger, more resilient industry.

With all stakeholders, including airports, airlines, key suppliers, governments, and regulators working collaboratively and taking bold steps together, we can accelerate economic recovery for the industry and restart the global economy.

A critical step on the path to recovery is creating a contactless passenger journey by leveraging new and emerging technologies. These solutions can mitigate current challenges and revolutionize the way we travel. The pandemic has encouraged the airport industry to rethink the entire passenger journey and consider how technology can limit touchpoints. We can implement health check certifications before entering an airport, and biometric verifications at every stage of the journey, from check-in and bag drop to security and the boarding gate. Contactless kiosks and bag drops eliminate the need to touch airport equipment and wayfinding technology can help passengers navigate congested areas and find concessions or health checkpoints.

Underpinning the contactless passenger infrastructure is a need for a secure, cloud environment to enable and verify credentials and data, as well as support new industry initiatives such as the IATA Travel Pass and other forms of health certificates. To that end, we believe the connected aviation eco-system and the role of analytics will play an important part in the new passenger journey.

From our perspective, three main pillars will support the foundation of the contactless passenger infrastructure:

  1. The physical pillar, including on-board avionics, back-office equipment and workstations are required to bring each plane into the network and create a connected environment.
  2. The data pillar - Because the use of data is at the core of all decision-making to create meaningful action with measurable impact. Examples include passenger and health information, passenger processing data and flight information.
  3. Finally, the application pillar, where industry stakeholders use collaborative approaches to foster aerospace recovery.  Some collaborations include airport check-in applications, Mobile phone passenger apps, analytics, and business information applications.

We are encouraged to see that many airports are already creating new environments where passengers can be contactless, congestion-less, and able to get to their flights as quickly as possible.

Several technologies are now available that will have a positive impact on passenger confidence. The first is the expanded use of self-service kiosks for boarding passes and bags, where one has the ability to have that process be entirely contactless by using their mobile phone. Another is biometrics, which enables a passenger’s face to be his or her primary travel identification token.

We believe that the simple and effective contactless passenger journey will encourage passengers to return to flying. Though the road to recovery is long, we are on the right course and need to focus on getting to our destination together.