‘Airport of the future’ to make flying fun again
Imagine an airport with no immigration queues, speedy security checks, showrooms -- not shops -- that deliver to your home and no check-in luggage. In short, an airport that is fun and efficient, not frustrating and tedious.
It could be here by 2025.
CAP Strategic Research, an aviation research and consultancy company, has predicted the dramatic changes as a response to traveler demands.
“Passengers no longer enjoy air travel, especially those based in Europe and the U.S. They regard flying as expensive, stressful, time-consuming and uncomfortable,” the report said. “Airports -- and airlines -- will need to adapt to meet these market developments.”
The upshot will be less time spent on the annoying stuff (queuing, emi/immigration, security) more time spent on the fun stuff (eating, shopping) and even perhaps lower fares as these developments help airports and airlines increase passenger traffic and cut costs.
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Its key predictions are:
No check-in desks at airports
Fliers will check in online at home or in their workplaces or through self check-in kiosks, doing away with check-in desks.
This is already happening in some places: easyJet customers in Europe already use self check-in procedures, Qantas is removing check-in desks at its airports and Ryanair charges customers who want to check in at a check-in desk. Most recently Singapore Airlines announced plans to ditch its check-in desks.
Emi/immigration procedures streamlined
E-passports, biometric-based technology and ID cards will allow travelers to swipe and go.
Traveler passes such as INSPASS in the United States, the Iris Recognition Immigration System at Heathrow, IACS at Changi and Hong Kong’s ID card will be developed and converged to cover multiple international locations.
Trusted travelers will bypass security
Frequent travelers will have the option to undergo security vetting by the police, security forces and/or government departments to be identified as ‘trusted travelers’ and issued with a biometric security pass allowing them to cut the queues.
Check-in baggage banned
The space, weight and cost savings that would result from a ban on check-in baggage make this almost inevitable according to the report. Passengers would have to take all luggage as carry-on or ship their baggage via cargo.
This would speed up check-in, lower aircraft weight and therefore fuel costs and also save costs on baggage handlers.
New boarding procedures
The scrum of people fighting to get to their seats first will end, and boarding will speed up, as airlines use science to get their customers on board.
Various experiments have been done to date trying to find the most efficient way to board a plane.
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No shops, only showrooms
High street shopping is set to change to an all-online model, where shoppers evaluate products in showrooms, then go home to buy them online.
This is already happening in some airports that operate a “You shop, we drop” policy, and will expand.
“If companies like Amazon and Taobao were to get involved in airport retailing then the showroom concept would develop very quickly,” the report said.
Airports will operate 24 hours a day
Congestion at the busiest airports is partly due to curfews on take-offs and landings to reduce noise pollution during the night.
As passenger volumes increase governments will come under pressure to lift these curfews, increasing airport capacities.
Quieter aircraft such as the A380 will make this easier.
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