Airport Show
13 - 15 May 2025

Remarkable Technologies to Change the Future of Aviation

Innovative technology development has been the first stage in the airport sector's recovery.

The global aviation industry has undoubtedly suffered operational challenges amidst the pandemic. COVID-19 has resulted in a significant fall in airport travel as border closures and international travel restrictions were implemented to counter its spread. Airports Council International (ACI) World has stated in their report that a decline of 58.4% in global passenger figures has happened in the first half of 2020.

The momentum towards recovery has started due to new resolutions and emerging aviation technologies. The reopening of borders and innovation of new advancements have slowly lifted the pressure in the airport industry. Travel demand started to increase, sparking airport leaders’ initiatives and investments on various technological solutions, specifically on data and algorithm optimisation and operational process update.

In this article

The rise of biometrics and contactless technology

The Biometrics Institute has released its 20-year Anniversary Report which had emphasized the role of biometrics in the aviation industry.

Biometric technology is one of the pillars towards the modernisation of airports and it plays a role on the following:

  •   Passenger Journey

Because more human contact could spread the virus, the pandemic has increased the need for contactless technologies. Thus, to ensure health and safety and to promote an easier air travel, biometrics have been implemented on several airports.

Dubai International Airport Emirates passengers’ usage of iris scanner to verify their identity upon UAE arrival or departure is one of the biometrics applications. Not only providing a touchless service, but the technology also made air travel easier and quicker. As per Emirates’ biometric privacy statement, they will manage the passengers’ path in addition to their collected personal data from prior flights with them. They also emphasized that they are implementing an appropriate “technical and organisational security measures” for the privacy of collected information.

  •   Security Implementation

Biometrics can be a great source of security information. Once significant data has been collected, a biometric-based aviation information can be used by the security team to screen the passengers accurately at boarding gates. Interconnected with privacy protocols, this technology will establish a safer air travel.

Centralised air traffic control (ATC) center development

With various interlinked IoT tools, a centralised air traffic control would ease pressure in aviation operations. The Operations Control Center (OCC) is vital in storing and disseminating information, thus making it the coordination hub of operations. According to Sheffield, some of the OCC responsibilities would be:

  • Flight Control - controlling of aircraft altitude and direction
  • Maintenance Control - monitoring of the immediate, short term, medium term, and long term maintenance
  • Security Command Center - strengthening and evaluating aviation security
  • System reroutes - determining a different path for air travel in case of any disruptions
  • Equipment Control - one of the primary control system necessary in controlling aircraft safety in air travel
  • Meteorology - oversight of the weather for efficiency and safety
  • Radio - primary communication device in aviation

The creation of a centralized dashboard for departure and arrival, air traffic, aviation operations, and passenger information would optimise flights and develop more efficiency on labor management.

IoT utilization

Internet of Things (IoT) can transform and optimise passenger experience and aviation operations. And yet, the rise of Smart Airports is only a glimpse of the future.

According to Wipro, these Smart Airports uitilise “automation and digital technologies” which connects 30-plus complex IT systems in typical airports, thus, making it integrated. As an example, Dubai Airport and Shenzen Airport have implemented various smart solutions such as facial recognition and AI.

Some of the benefits of utilising IoT on airports are the following:

  • Safer Airports - interconnected security system that could strengthen flight security
  • Improved Passenger Experience - better passenger journey because of improved airport operations, facilitated by digitalisation
  • Optimised Aviation Operation - integrated control centre to oversee and assist airport operations
  • Revenue Improvement – process optimization leads to a better passenger experience, which increases revenue
  • Sustainability

Innovative technologies that decrease operational waste

Aside from biometrics, centralised control centers and IoT, more technological developments will surface for the airports in the future. Digitalisation and new advancement development are two of the remarkable pillars to achieve a successful aviation future. And despite the challenges that the aviation sector has encountered, they have somehow pave ways to deal with the new normal, resulting to the creation of these remarkable technologies.

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