To help the travel industry get back on its feet at a time when many airports are burdened with lost income and limited resources, SITA is offering two approaches to passenger processing technology development that will ease the financial burden on airport operators.
First, for airports whose documentation procedures and systems do not inter-operate with that of other countries, SITA is offering an off-the-shelf solution that is free of cost for one year.
Second, for airports with a system in place, SITA offers a phased technology refresh. For instance, an airport with available check-in desks could begin with two improved touch points to reduce passenger processing time, and move on to improvements at the immigration section, duty free retail and lounge facilities in the next phase.
SITA president Asia Pacific, Sumesh Patel, told TTG Asia that governments will have to eventually adopt new technology to address airport congestion and answer to a growing need for passengers to be in control of their trip while being exposed to minimal contact. New processes needed now include inter-operating passenger documentation and health detailing with that of other countries, touchless apps, and biometrics.
Patel noted that airports infrastructures were already strained by high passenger growth rate pre-pandemic, and the pressure is mounting as travel returns post-lockdown.
Pre-pandemic, the global average duration for passenger processing, from the time the traveller reaches the airport until boarding, was 1.5 hours. Now, with additional documentation scrutiny, the process has stretched to 5.5 hours.
“The only answer (to the congestion problem) is technology,” he stated.