LONDON, UK - The Future Travel Experience (FTE) Think Tank – an independent panel of air transport industry experts – has unveiled its vision for the airport of 2025 and a set of recommendations aimed at facilitating an enhanced passenger experience.
The FTE Think Tank members – Lena Rokaas, chief operating officer, Stockholm Arlanda Airport; Cees de Vos, director innovation outstations and partnerships, Air France-KLM; Greg Fordham, managing director, Airbiz; and Daniel Coleman, founder and event director, Future Travel Experience – presented its findings at FTE Global 2013 in Las Vegas.
The vision for 2025 includes all passengers arriving at the airport already checked-in and with their baggage already tagged; biometric validation at all airport checkpoints using a single passenger token; a streamlined security process; close to 100% self-service immigration processing; and complete automated boarding of aircraft using self-boarding gates. Passenger interaction with robots roaming the terminal building will be commonplace, as will video link interaction with virtual members of staff who are based off-site.
Furthermore, every passenger will receive a push notification to their mobile device advising them when to proceed to the boarding gate and will also receive baggage-related notifications via their smartphones, allowing them to track their bags throughout the journey. The FTE Think Tank also explained that at new airports and terminals built between now and 2025, passengers will arrive at the airport at an integrated transport interchange, which will be linked to the terminal building via a high-speed automated people mover.
Fordham said: "Over the next 12 years, we are going to see some very significant changes in the way passengers and their baggage are processed at the airport. Widespread adoption of off-airport bag drop facilities, permanent and smartphone-programmable bags tags, and home-printed bag tags will revolutionize the baggage process, resulting in fewer queues at the airport and a simplified passenger experience at check-in."
Creating 'community processes'
The FTE Think Tank recommended that airports, airlines and suppliers work together on developing 'community processes' to make systems and processes consistent across all airports.
"The development of community processes will mean airlines, airports and vendors will use common systems and services across all sites" Rokaas explained. "So, if an airport flies from 50 airports, they will not have to adapt to 50 different systems or approaches, making it far easier to deliver a consistent level of service across their network. This will directly benefit the passenger as each touchpoint will be recognizable, therefore removing the confusion and anxiety often experienced by today's passenger."
Making the vision a reality
The FTE Think Tank also highlighted challenges to its vision and put forward ideas on how potential obstacles can be overcome. The recommendations include: