As the industry navigates through one of the most challenging periods in its history. It has also proved to be one of the most transformational too. Certainly, Technology is playing a big role in the dynamic and pace of recovery for the whole industry.
The path to automation and digitalization has come with many challenges, and finding the correct automation plus avoiding resistance for change are likely to be significant concerns for operators, even though benefits look promising and industry sectors might achieve substantial cost reductions when correctly applied. Robotic process automation (RPA) supplementing human labour is a no-brainer. Repetitive tasks can be carried out in extreme or dangerous environments while ensuring high safety standards.
Operators are continuously preparing to reactivate even in places where lockdown measures are strict, and protocols have been enforced to ensure the safety of passengers and personnel.
Airports, for instance, are leading a fast adaptation of technologies., Changi Airport Group (CAG) is utilizing autonomous cleaning robots in the terminals, all upgraded with a nozzle that sprays a light disinfectant mist for added protection. Likewise, in Hong Kong International Airport cleaning robots are used to protect passengers and staff from COVID-19 infection. AAHK reveals that robots can ensure the thorough disinfection of public areas and passenger facilities up to 99.99%, including both the air and object surfaces in just 10 minutes.
As passengers will expect airports to deliver the highest standards of safety and hygiene to give them peace of mind during their journey. More technologies are coming in soon, for example, Canberra Airport in Australia has announced that is the first Australian gateway to install new temperature scanning equipment, while, Changi’s contactless passenger experience will be available for immigration. Upgrades will allow using a new biometric system driven by face and iris recognition, while other advances will be proximity sensors progressively installed in the current kiosk. These advances are intended to eliminate the need for people to touch the electronics devices for identity verification, check-in or drop off baggage purposes.
While airports are first in line to ensure safety during recovery, airlines are currently working in different fields to bring back confidence to their passengers. A new normal experience for customers is taking place, firstly, airlines are quickly digitalizing their process. Check-in is one of these processes that has migrated almost completely to digital. Additionally, the airlines have been following intensive cleanliness procedures, controlling hygiene tasks at the home base hub airport and overseas stations.
Moreover, the ventilation system requirements for aircraft meet the levels recommended by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention for use with COVID-19 patients in airborne infection isolation rooms. Having said this, there is a very low risk of getting sick inflight. Current ventilation technology might be the key factor in preventing contagion during flights.
In the long run, aircraft cabins could achieve some simple addition, such as hand sanitizers, UV light, antimicrobial coating and other technologies, already having been developed by manufacturers like Boeing.