Covid-19 to drive investments in airport tech

Rohma Sadaqat /Dubai Filed on May 25, 2021
Visitors stand in front of the Dubai aviation Engineering project in Airport Show, the world's largest annual airport industry B2B platform at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). — Photo by Shihab

Research has shown that biometrics are steadily gaining steam, with 64 per cent of airports due to roll out self-boarding gates using biometric and ID documentation by 2023.

Moving through an airport during a pandemic has to be fast, seamless, and with as little interaction as possible between staff and various terminals, experts said at the 20th edition of the Airport Show in Dubai.

This can be achieved by investing in the right technologies that not only improve the passenger experience, but also their safety at the airport. Towards this end, various companies at the event were showcasing the latest in technologies ranging from smart border control and biometrics to temperature and climate control.

Amir Emam, sales director for the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa region at Honeywell Airports Business, highlighted how governments across the world have been investing in improving airport infrastructure to tackle the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“There have been a lot of changes that have happened since the Covid-19 pandemic hit,” he said. “There has been a greater focus on the digitalisation of processes, taking a more collaborative approach, and operational efficiency. These are all things that were in the works before, but the pandemic really put a lot more focus on it. We have also seen a greater focus and acceleration on things such as sanitization, mobile technology, 5G and other high-speed connectivity, so that airports not only survive through this pandemic, but are also ready for what is going to come in the future.”

He also added that the Middle East, and the UAE specifically, is fortunate to be in an area where innovation has been key, and the leadership visionary.

Emaratech, a leading online technology solutions and consulting company in the Arab world, was showcasing its smart airport solutions at the exhibition, which include smart gates and biometrics that airports are using to improve security checks, whilst significantly reducing immigration time. Providing high-tech solutions for airports since 2006, emaratech has installed its smart gates at Dubai’s Terminal 3 since 2013. The company foresees a future where passengers will be able to fly and navigate an airport completely paperless thanks to a combination of smart gates and biometrics.

“Hopefully, 2021 will be a better year for the aviation and airport industry. The new standard for services at the airport will be seamless and contactless. The aviation industry will regain the lost momentum soon, especially in Dubai which is always ready to overcome all type of challenges,” said Thani Alzaffin, group CEO of emaratech.

Research has shown that biometrics are steadily gaining steam, with 64 per cent of airports due to roll out self-boarding gates using biometric and ID documentation by 2023. Self-service technology, predictive analysis, artificial intelligence, real-time information, and data-sharing are also among the digital concepts airports are deploying now to achieve a seamless passenger experience. The global airport construction market is projected to reach $1.4 trillion by 2025 and the market for ‘smart’ airports is to reach the $23 billion mark by 2025.

Also in the spotlight was Vector, a smart mobile climate control solution that can be used in industrial workspaces, warehouses, distribution centers, sports venues, and even patios. Vector maintains a safe, cool and breathable environment while mitigating heat, airborne viruses, dust, mold, slip and fall accidents, and other health concerns. The system is cost-efficient and reduces carbon emissions, without overheating, making it an ideal choice for a region like the GCC which has to brace for extreme heat during the summer months.

Safety inside an airport is as important as safety outside the airport, especially on the runway, say the experts at Raven Black Security Systems. The company was at the exhibition to showcase its latest tech in wildlife management, specifically the Raven Black M-3 Desert Edition, which is a stationary unit that protects airfields from birds and other wildlife. The system produces a special nonlinear parametric acoustic effect, which provides a protective corridor along the runway to prevent bird strikes. —


Rohma Sadaqat

I am a reporter and sub-editor on the Business desk at Khaleej Times. I mainly cover and write articles on the UAE's retail, hospitality, travel, and tourism sectors.Originally from Lahore, I have been living in the UAE for more than 20 years. I graduated with a BA in Mass Communication, with a concentration in Journalism, and a double minor in History and International Studies from the American University of Sharjah.If you see me out and about on assignment in Dubai, feel free to stop me, say hello, and we can chat about the latest kitten videos on YouTube.

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