The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airports Council International (ACI) have launched a new initiative to optimise the use on emerging technologies at airports.
The New Experience in Travel and Technologies (NEXTT) initiative has been introduced to create an industry-wide vision to help airlines, airports and governments prepare for a projected doubling of air travel demand by 2036.
It is intended to enhance the on-ground transport experience, guide industry investments and help governments improve the regulatory framework.
“We will not be able to handle the growth or evolving customer expectations with our current processes, installations and ways of doing business,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO. “And accommodating growth with ever bigger airports will be increasingly difficult if not impossible. NEXTT will address these challenges.
“Working with our airport partners we will explore the important changes in technology and processes to enhance the customer experience. And we will ask some fundamental questions about what really needs to happen at the airport and what can be done off-site
“NEXTT will seek to provide a seamless journey by exploring increased off-site processing options; reducing or even eliminating queues; more efficiently using space and resources through enhanced deployments of artificial intelligence and robotics; and vastly improving data sharing between stakeholders. The goal of NEXTT is finding potential ways to integrate systems and improve operations in the most secure, effective and sustainable manner for the benefit of passengers and the industry,” said Angela Gittens, Director General, ACI World.
Specifically, NEXTT will investigate how passengers, cargo, baggage and aircraft move through the complete travel journey with a focus on change in three areas.
Those are ‘off-airport activities’ such as security and baggage handling; ‘advanced processing technology’ like tracking and identification, automation and robotics and how they can improve security and the customer experience; and ‘interactive decision making’, so a better use of data and artificial intelligence to facilitate real-time decision making and optimise efficiency.
IATA and ACI will work with their respective members, and other associations, service providers, engineering firms and manufacturers. A number of key airports including Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS), Bangalore International Airport (BLR), Dubai International (DXB), Heathrow Airport (LHR) and Shenzhen Airport (Group) Co., Ltd. (SZX) are already actively involved in a number of projects which explore NEXTT concepts.