Aviation industry professionals claim that investments in innovation and a comprehensive automatization of operations would help the aviation sector to hasten the recovery of COVID-19 crisis.

On September 15, 2020, during Air Convention Digital Week 2.0, a panel of industry experts from 1Aviation Consulting Services, SunExpress Airlines, InterGlobe Aviation and ADR Group have discussed the importance of digital transformation for airline and airport services to regain the passenger confidence as well as ensure their safety and security.

“The crisis we are facing now has taught a lesson that there is no certainty in our life, there is no certainty in our business, so we need to be as much flexible, quick and smart as it is possible“, in the discussion told Federico Scriboni, the Head of Airline Traffic Development of Rome Airports.

Scriboni claimed the pandemic has forced airports to find new ways to ensure passenger hygiene and protection level. Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO) has become the first airport in the world to earn the “COVID-19 5-Star Airport Rating” for airport cleanliness and maintenance procedures.

According to the Head of the Airline Traffic Development, FCO has installed a combination of procedural efficiency checks as well as visual observation analysis and ATP sampling tests.

“Since the beginning of this crisis we understood that we need to rethink and reposition the concept of the quality of the airport. We have learned strongly from our Chinese colleagues and FCO was probably the first airport in Europe to start using the thermal scanner control. Also we set easy-to-read signage in multiple languages and consolidate all incoming and outgoing flights to a single terminal for easier tracking“, told Scriboni.

Subhajit Bose, the Head of InterGlobe Aviation, submitted other key insights on the importance of technology implementation in aviation business. Bose considered that the crisis will increase the adaptation of touchless biometrics in airports worldwide for passenger identity verification. He said that the automatization of airport operations is an inevitable process.

“Couple of things which are at the top of the agenda for us now are health safety issues and passenger hygiene. There are some certain aspects that we have done for our passengers so their experience in the airport becomes contactless. Now you could see our passengers checking-in in a self-service manner, we also made changes in in-flight service experience“, told Bose.

According to Kerstin Lomb, the Chief Marketing Officer of SunExpress Airlines, information exchange is another area in need of digitization, as technologies can speed up information updating process and improve the collaboration among the companies and government.