In this article, we are figuring out how the COVID-19 pandemic affected airports and how they will change in the post-pandemic world. In this list, find 5 evidence that airports will become better.
1. Contactless technology
In five months, we will use innovation that we should have used in five years! Because of the global pandemic, airports will switch to contactless technology much sooner. It will be enough for passengers to scan the iris of the eye or use the face recognition system to verify their identity. No passport or driver’s license will be required.
Moreover, the first such biometric terminal was opened at the Atlanta International Airport at the end of 2018. Studies have shown that 72% of passengers prefer this type of verifying their identity. Smartphones will become the remote control of your trip. Even now, you can check in for a flight and track your luggage through mobile applications without contacting any surfaces.
Smart Path technology, which is based on facial biometrics recognition, is already being used in Athens, Doha, Muscat, Orlando, Miami, and Boston. There is a “smart tunnel” at Dubai International Airport that uses biometric scanners for immigration control. With it, passengers can pass the airport security check-in 15 seconds.
2. No more queues for hand luggage check
The passengers' opportunity to choose and reserve time for being checked by the airport security service will help get rid of queues. This strategy will help to competently manage passenger flows and minimize other people's contact with contaminated surfaces.
3. Disinfection of luggage and people
Hong Kong International Airport is testing a full-body disinfecting booth, which can disinfect anything in 40 seconds. It works quite simple: hand luggage and containers for hand luggage will be sterilized with ultraviolet radiation in the X-ray machine of the security service, and passengers themselves will be disinfected in a special cabin.
This endeavor is already somewhat successful. For example, Hong Kong already uses smart robots, which kill up to 99.99% of bacteria and viruses, to clean the air. Singapore Changi Airport began to clean the terminal 2 times more often and covered the handrails, elevator buttons, and trolley handles with disinfectant. The Louisville International Airport in Kentucky increased the number of hand sanitizing stations throughout the terminal by 4 times and replaced more than 100 manual soap dispensers in toilets with automatic ones.
4. More quiet and spacious terminals
Simplified check-in and security screening processes will improve the passengers’ mood, reduce the likelihood of stress, and allow more frequent shopping in recreation and duty-free areas. After the introduction of a contactless electronic payment system, the load at the cash registers will decrease, and therefore the queues will cease to be an issue.
Passengers will be able to talk to living people even if they are not physically present nearby. Louisville Airport has set up a virtual information stand where passengers can ask their questions to a help desk employee via a video call.
5. Airports will no longer be hotbeds of infection
Abu Dhabi International Airport is testing devices that monitor the employees’ body temperature, heart rate, and breathing. Many airlines will conduct screening with cameras with a built-in thermal imager. In Doha, employees of the Hamad International Airport will wear smart helmets that measure body temperature using thermal imagers, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality.
All these methods are not a panacea since the disease can be asymptomatic and only obvious cases can be eliminated at the airport. Besides, some airports are now introducing mandatory testing for all arriving passengers. For example, passengers at the Hong Kong International Airport must provide saliva samples and wait for the test results before boarding.