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1Â Â Introduction and Purpose The world seems a lot smaller these days. Especially within the United States, air travel is so readily available and relatively affordable that, over the last few years, airports and air carriers have experienced higher passenger numbers than they have ever experienced. At the same time, technology adoption and customer service capabilities have grown to such a degree that even the average consumer expects a top-notch, seamless experience throughout their buyer journeyâ or in this case, their airport journey. As things continue to progress, any step that can potentially be automated or eliminated is up for consideration. Enter the COVID-19 pandemic; things changed dramatically within the aviation industry. Because the virus spread so easily in groups of people, air travel drastically decreased in a very short span of time. Airports, air carriers, regulatory agencies, and solution providers began scrambling and working together to identify solutions that could protect their customersâ passengers and employees alikeâand prove that air travel was still a very safe mode of trans- portation. Any step that required customers to touch a surface, interact with another person, or spend extended periods in congested areas was now under consideration and heavy scrutiny. But is this all that new? Anyone in the aviation industry for the last 20Â years has heard of or even participated in efforts to provide a âseamlessâ or âfrictionlessâ experience along the passenger journey. These efforts prioritized minimizing touched surfaces, eliminating or streamlining interactions with staff members, and reducing crowds in queuing areas. What changed is the addition of a business driver (customer health) and a higher level of urgency (reacting to an ongoing pandemic and record-low passenger numbers). Most entities interviewed for this quick reference guide stated that, for the most part, the pandemic only accelerated the need for solutions toward which they were already moving. Seamless and frictionless now include âcontactlessâ and âtouchless,â and customer safety initiatives now include customer health measures. This quick reference guide identifies readily available touchless solutions that airports and their stakeholders can implement to move further toward a touchless airport journey. The guide presents these solutions along the areas of the airport journey, and it includes a range of solutions from emerging and existing technologies to nontechnological solutions. For each solution, the guide describes the current level of readiness, barriers to expect in implementation, and specific tips on how to get started at your airport. The guide also presents a series of overall best practices and lessons learned compiled from airports that have already made progress. The goal is to offer tangible tactics for the aviation industry today, knowing the industry will continue to fill the gaps in readiness and overcome the barriers to move closer to a fully touch- less airport journey. C H A P T E R 1 Setting the Stage
2 Toward a Touchless Airport Journey Research Summary This guide is based on the efforts of a research team who reviewed literature and conducted case study interviews with large airports and airlines, medium to small airports, airport stake- holders, and relevant solutions providers. The literature research encompassed existing aviation research guidance, industry reports and white papers, news and web articles, and presentations. However, as a quick reference guide, a comprehensive U.S. airport survey that would provide a fully exhaustive look at solutions across the industry is not included. The case study interview effort touched the following entities: â¢ Airports Council International â North America Business Information Technology (ACI-NA BIT) Touchless Working Group â¢ Alaska Airlines (AS) â¢ Carnival Cruise Line â¢ Delta Air Lines (DL) â¢ Digital Aviation Research and Technology Center (DARTeC) at Cranfield University â¢ dormakaba â¢ EASIER â¢ Embross â¢ Flagship Facility Services â¢ Gatekeeper Systems Inc. â¢ Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) â¢ Golden Triangle Regional Airport (GTR) â¢ HMSHost â¢ Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) â¢ ICM Airport Technics â¢ Idemia â¢ Immune Gloves â¢ International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the IATA Passenger Accessi- bility Process Task Force (PAPTF) â¢ Johnson Controls â¢ Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF) â¢ Lyft â¢ Materna â¢ Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) â¢ NEC â¢ Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) â¢ Park Assist â¢ Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) â¢ Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) â¢ Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) â¢ Spirit Airlines (NK) â¢ Transportation Security Administration (TSA) â¢ United Airlines (UA) â¢ U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) â¢ Vision-Box â¢ Winnipeg Richardson International Airport (Canada) (YWG) In addition to these entries, the literature review uncovered information about touchless technology practices from solution-provider Bags Inc. and airports (listed alphabetically by IATA airport code) including the following: â¢ Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL) â¢ Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) â¢ Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) â¢ Bristol International Airport (United King- dom) (BRS) â¢ Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport (BWI) â¢ Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) â¢ Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) â¢ Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) â¢ Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL) â¢ Ronald Reagan Washington National Air- port (DCA) â¢ Denver International Airport (DEN) â¢ Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) â¢ Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) â¢ Dusseldorf Airport (Germany) (DUS) â¢ Key West International Airport (EYW) â¢ Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) â¢ Haneda Airport (Japan) (HND) â¢ William P. Hobby Airport (HOU)
Setting the Stage 3Â Â â¢ Dulles International Airport (IAD) â¢ George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) â¢ Indianapolis International Airport (IND) â¢ John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) â¢ Kansas City International Airport (KCI) â¢ Harry Reid International Airport (formerly McCarran International Airport) (LAS) â¢ Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) â¢ LaGuardia Airport (LGA) â¢ Gatwick Airport (United Kingdom) (LGW) â¢ Heathrow Airport (United Kingdom) (LHR) â¢ Lyon Airport (France) (LYS) â¢ Manchester Airport (United Kingdom) (MAN) â¢ Orlando International Airport (MCO) â¢ Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) â¢ Miami International Airport (MIA) â¢ Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport (MKE) â¢ Melbourne Orlando International Airport (MLB) â¢ Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR) â¢ Oakland International Airport (OAK) â¢ OâHare International Airport (ORD) â¢ Narita International Airport (Japan) (NRT) â¢ Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) â¢ Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) â¢ Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO) â¢ San Diego International Airport (SAN) â¢ San Antonio International Airport (SAT) â¢ San Francisco International Airport (SFO) â¢ Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) â¢ Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) â¢ Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) â¢ Sacramento International Airport (SMF) â¢ St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) â¢ Stuttgart Airport (Germany) (STR) â¢ Tampa International Airport (TPA) â¢ Tucson International Airport (TUS) â¢ Edmonton International Airport (Canada) (YEG) â¢ Montreal-Trudeau International Airport (Canada) (YUL) â¢ Winnipeg Richardson International Air- port (Canada) (YWG) â¢ Toronto Pearson International Airport (Canada) (YYZ) â¢ Zurich Airport (Switzerland) (ZRH) For airports reviewed in the literature research, the guide only references the specific solu- tions noted in respective pieces of literature and, therefore, may not provide a full listing of all solutions at each of these airports. State of the Industry The colossal effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on passenger numbers and revenue cannot be overstated; however, most organizations interviewed noted that not much has changed within their overall strategy relative to touchless solutions. That is not to say they made no changes in response to the pandemicâall airports implemented measures such as social distancing stickers, signage, and health-related announcements over public address systems. It is to say that organizations have realized that the trends across what they were already pursuing aligned very well with the need for touchless solutions. Three overall trends, displayed in FigureÂ 1, rise to the surface when reviewing individual initiatives on touchless solutions by airports across the world. Figure 1. Trends in aviation industry initiatives.
4 Toward a Touchless Airport Journey e following pages dive into each of these areas, describing these trends, along with COVID-19 changes, collective industry initiatives, and industry directives. However, for a full description of touchless solutions, see ChapterÂ 2: âTouchless Solutions Across the Airport Journey Areas.â Trend Area 1: Providing a Seamless or Frictionless Airport Journey is trend includes airport implementations of solutions such as advance reservation systems, enhanced check-in and bag-drop kiosks, facial recognition at check-in and bag drop, security, and immigration control. What COVID-19 Changed For most of these solutions, the change generated by the COVID-19 pandemic was more of one to repackage existing solutions as âtouchless.â For example, parking reservation systems are not just important because they ensure you have a spot: they are also important because many enable you to scan a quick response (QR) code to open parking gates instead of touching a button that is infrequently cleaned. ey may also eliminate the need for sta interaction when leaving the garage. Another change was that airports had increased urgency for accelerating initiatives. For example, touch-free kiosk solutions have been discussed for some time; however, new initia- tives to move all touch-related actions to the passengerâs mobile phone were accelerated by the vendor community. ese solutions are now deployed in several U.S. airports. Collective Industry Initiatives e aviation industry does very well coming together to solve the challenges that individual airports are facing and then to develop best practices and guidance that the entire industry can use. e industry has come together in several ways to identify how to develop an integrated and frictionless approach across the entire passenger journeyâfrom home to destination. End-to-End Passenger Journey Initiatives: One example is the International Air Transport Associationâs (IATA) One ID initiative (https://www.iata.org/en/programs/passenger/one-id/). is uses a single identication to eliminate repetitive processes across the passenger journey, relying on a growing suite of technologies that are interoperable and scalable. Another example is New Experience Travel Technologies (NEXTT), a joint initiative between the Airports Council International (ACI) and the IATA focused on o-airport activities, advanced processing technology, and the use of interactive decision-making. is includes increased use of bio- metrics and mobile solutions. e goal is âto ensure the transport of passengers, baggage & cargo benets from the latest technology developments to improve customer experience, reliability and eciencyâ (1). Reacting Specically to the COVID-19 Pandemic: e focus is to leverage existing initiatives with new technologies to share travel health requirements (e.g., quarantine, vaccination, testing) using a health pass (i.e., Travel Pass, CommonPass, and smart vaccination certicates). Industry Directives ere are several relevant industry directives (e.g., guidelines or regulations) that relate to the nature of the touchpoint and to what extent it can be completed without a human interface. Entry/Exit Initiatives: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) was instructed to bio- metrically conrm visitors in and out of the United States. As technologies evolved, facial comparisonânow known as the Traveler Verication Service (TVS)âhas become the preferred solution. As a result of the pandemic, the CBP expanded the vision to adopt an end-to-end,
Setting the Stage 5Â Â seamless passenger journey, including self-bag-drop and security checkpoints. Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) also introduced a primary inspection kiosk (PIK) using facial matching with an ePassport and ngerprint for pre-enrolled travel visa holders. Biometrics at immigra- tion (and emigration) have been deployed for over a decade in some countries with the process becoming increasingly touchless with the preferred use of facial recognition technology. Reacting Specically to the COVID-19 Pandemic: e focus was to promote existing touch- less facilities in guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other airport health guidelines. Trend Area 2: Enabling Passengers to Take Control of Their Journey is trend encompasses solutions such as pre-airport check-in, prepayment for checked baggage, self-bag tagging, self-bag-drop, self-ordering kiosks for dining and concessions, and food and beverage mobile ordering and delivery. e use of mobile devices has increased the number of passengers wanting to make reservations online or use their mobile app to reduce the printing of boarding passes or other documents. Airports and airlines have improved their websites and apps to provide information that passengers need to make their decisions pre- arrival or by using self-service functionality. is trend also includes concepts related to passenger data sharing, specically that passengers should be in control of the data they would like to share in return for more seamless service options. What COVID-19 Changed Airports repackaged several of these solutions as âtouchless.â For example, because self- service and mobile solutions can reduce the number of interactions between people, airports that had those solutions quickly produced marketing messaging and signage to show their customers that they had these solutions available. Many who were already considering these solutions but were not yet able to implement them sought to move more quickly. New solutions have come about, such as virtual queuing and lights to indicate congestion of areas such as holdrooms. Both give passengers more decision-making power. ough these solutions existed in other industries, specic uses in aviation have come to the forefront since early 2020. Collective Industry Initiatives e collective industry focus is to identify solutions that provide passengers with greater control over their journey without privacy and safety trade-os as well as more options to manage exceptions and remove barriers. Digital Identity: Digital travel credentials allow an individual to assert their identity, online or in person, to the required level at every process step while maintaining the privacy of personal data. Accessibility Initiatives: In an airport environment, assisting passengers with disabilities usually implies close physical contact between the assistance agent and the passenger. Autonomous wheel- chairs and other accessible touchless features such as waynding apps, pet relief areas access, and touchless/intelligent li call buttons are examples of measures aimed at removing barriers. Reacting Specically to the COVID-19 Pandemic: â¢ On accessibility, the IATA Passenger Accessibility Process Task Force (PAPTF) draed the IATA Guidance on Accessible Air Travel in Response to COVID-19 to give coordinated guidance to airline members. â¢ ACI-NA established several working groups to focus on specic topics of interest in response to the pandemic. As such, two working groups that directly relate to the touchless journey
6 Toward a Touchless Airport Journey include the Virtual Queue Working Group and the Touchless Working Group. e Virtual Queue Working Group was formed to determine a set of business cases and associated requirements that airports could use as a guide if they wanted to implement a virtual queue. e Touchless Working Group is tasked with collaborating to discuss potential touchless solutions and the associated business cases. Industry Directives An enhanced passenger journey is oen associated with an exchange of information. is infor- mation can be delivered upstream or o-airport and is protected by data privacy regulations. Digital Identity: Privacy regulations, such as General Data Protection Regulation and data protection provisions, are key considerations and constraints in the implementation of identity management platforms. Mobile Processing: e CBP released the CBP One mobile app in 2020, which allows travelers the ability to apply for an I-94 (arrival/departure record), view an existing I-94, and check wait times from their mobile device. e new app eliminates the need to ll out a paper I-94 form. CBSA introduced a mobile app to prell customs questions ahead of accessing PIK kiosks. Reacting Specically to the COVID-19 Pandemic: CBSA expanded the use of its mobile app, ArriveCAN, to enable passengers to share their quarantine plans, test results, and vaccine certicates. Trend Area 3: Providing Cleaner and More Modern Airport Facilities is trend encompasses solutions such as touchless restroom xtures, robotic oor cleaners, improved air ltration and ventilation, monolithic oor and wall surfaces that clearly show when they are clean, wider restroom entrance hallways, and wider open common areas that provide more natural light. What COVID-19 Changed ese solutions naturally support a touchless approach, which led airports to repackage them as âtouchlessâ and put eort into making sure their customers knew they existed. For some airports, urgency for existing initiatives increased, such as autonomous cleaning robots and ultraviolet (UV-C) light for disinfection. Not only did the pandemic force airports to make progress, but it also eased the introduction of these sorts of solutions to an industry that may have been hesitant about the possibility of bad press for âreplacing cleaning sta with technology.â New solutions in this trend area include the following: â¢ More frequent and visible cleaning procedures (whereas, before the pandemic, the goal was to clean when the buildings were less occupied). â¢ Monitoring solutions that count the number of people using restrooms to indicate when the restrooms will likely need to be cleaned. â¢ Alternative elevator approaches (e.g., wave-to-call buttons). â¢ Alternatives to touching screens, such as interaction with kiosks through the mobile phone. â¢ Automatic escalator handrail cleaning solutions or antimicrobial coatings for xed handrails. Collective Industry Initiatives e collective industry focus in this area has been more of one in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic in the following examples: â¢ ACIâs Airport Health Accreditation program is based on guidance from the International Civil Aviation Organizationâs (ICAO) Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) Take-o
Setting the Stage 7Â Â guidance and ACIâs report Aviation Operations during COVID-19 â Business Restart and Recovery, which are consistent with Collaborative Arrangement for the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation (CAPSCA) recommendations for states. â¢ e Global Biorisk Advisory Council STAR facility accreditation from the International Sanitary Supply Association is based on a demonstration of outbreak prevention, response, and recovery. Industry Directives Directives on safety and health requirements are at the core of aviation. e pandemic has created a rapidly changing environment where directives are constantly updated to reect the latest research and data. Reacting Specically to the COVID-19 Pandemic: ICAOâs CART, ACIâs Airport Industry Recovery Advisory Panel, and the U.S. Department of Transportation (Runway to Recovery) led the development of best practices, recommended guidelines, and associated audit programs. e use of existing and emerging touchless technology is one of the pillars of the proposed guidelines. All three of these trends have carried into and through the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be important to observe which of these newer or modied solutions will stand the test of time and simply become part of how the industry operates. What It Means to Go Touchless Moving toward a touchless airport journey encompasses reducing the three touchpoint types illustrated in FigureÂ 2. Interactions with People Interactions with Surfaces Congestion of People Figure 2. Touchpoint types. Any solution that can (a) eliminate the need for a touchpoint or (b) mitigate the duration or extent of a touchpoint is considered a touchless solution. For example, SEA has implemented a virtual queue solution called the SEA Spot Saver program. is program allows passengers to prebook an appointment in advance on the website or at the airport using a QR code. e appointment allows the passenger to have a specic time to go through security, which helps reduce the time spent in congested security queues. Best Practices and Lessons Learned When implementing touchless solutions, airport operators should consider the following best practices and lessons learned: Connect with Airport Strategy or Technology Direction Implementing touchless solutions should be closely linked to the airportâs overall strategy on passenger facilitation and technology implementation. Understand the Importance of Strong Leadership The complexities of implementing change combined with the financial challenges currently facing the industry require strong leadership by airports. Leadership should outline a clear corporate strategy that will be supported by internal and external stakeholders alike. In the context of COVID-19, adaptability and flexibility will be the keys to ensure the seamless implementation of new and evolving travel and health requirements.
8 Toward a Touchless Airport Journey For more detail, see AppendixÂ A âHelping the Passenger,â which provides mitigation strategies for travelers who need additional assistance. See AppendixÂ B âCommunicate with the Passenger,â which discusses signage best practices. What Factors to Consider Airport operators should consider the following factors when implementing touchless solutions: Communicate with the Passenger The success of touchless initiatives is largely dependent on passenger (and staff) buy-in. Measures that require a significant shift in passenger behaviors should be introduced with a clear communication plan to promote adoption. While COVID-19 provided a significant argument for change, this opportunity may lapse as we exit the pandemic and health measures are progressively phased-out. Leverage Additional Resources in the Community and Beyond Since the airport is an extension of the community, a key to the success of touchless solutions is to ensure that they are also consistent with practices beyond the airport. For example, resources from advocacy groups should be used to ensure that passengers with disabilities, reduced mobility, or service animals can experience a similar or enhanced level of service as that experienced by passengers without disabilities, reduced mobility, or service animals. Understand the Importance of Data Qualitative and quantitative data provide important feedback on the issues to be resolved and the efficiency of touchless solutions. The use of data is also key to managing demand and maintaining appropriate occupancy levels at each touchpoint by adjusting resourcing in real time where possible. Collaborate with Your Stakeholders The airport journey involves various stakeholders, each looking at implementing touchless solutions. Collaboration is essential to promote the use of consistent and holistic touchless solutions rather than a succession of standalone products. Focus on Helping the Passenger Most airports interviewed highlighted the importance of looking at touchless solutions from the perspectives of passengers or staff members rather than through a technical lens. The use of personas by airports emphasizes the need to help different types of passengers along their journeys. Helping travelers with disabilities is especially important. Cost The cost of the solution will be key in terms of the capital costs for the solution itself and the enabling works that might be required to support it or operating costs to maintain this solution. On the other hand, benefits such as reduced operating costs, delayed capital costs, or additional revenues should be tallied to provide a full picture of the effects of touchless â line. Support and Maintenance Requirements Throughout the implementation, the airport should address the ongoing maintenance of the touchless product or service and the associated need for support through internal resourcing or external contracting.
Setting the Stage 9Â Â Alternative Solutions The implementation of touchless solutions should focus on the effect on the passenger journey rather than on the solution itself. As such, alternative solutions using different enabling technologies and with different costs, benefits, and constraints should be assessed. Readiness Readiness for implementation should be assessed against the airportâs existing layout and systems to identify any gaps. Solutions should also consider regulatory barriers that may prevent the full leverage of some technologies based on local or international regulations. The Value of Touchless Solutions e assessment of touchless solutions should consider various factors including the following qualitative and quantitative value propositions: Health and Safety Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the priority of taking measures to ensure the health of passengers and employees is more front and center than before. Touchless solutions should demonstrate that they enhance the health and safety of passengers. Customer Experience Touchless solutions should maintain, but ideally enhance, the passenger experience at the airport. Revenue Generation As mentioned, when assessing cost-benefit, the potential for revenue generation should be investigated as part of the implementation of touchless solutions. While this may be driven by new touchless commercial opportunities, this could also be because of increased dwell time in commercial areas due to reduced wait time induced by touchless solutions in other areas such as check-in and the security checkpoint. Operational Efficiency The investments in touchless solutions may also yield operational benefits that should be assessed and quantified where possible to support a cost-benefit assessment when comparing options. Customer Accessibility Touchless solutions should be equitable and accessible to all. Where adaptation is required, touchless solutions should demonstrate that they maintain or improve access for all passengers, rather than create additional segregation. Space Optimization Many touchless solutions are aimed at optimizing spatial requirements by eliminating queues and touchpoints. The extent of space savings or delayed expansion requirements should be quantified to support a thorough cost-benefit assessment. Continue to ChapterÂ 2 to view solutions that align with these value propositions.