Airports must ‘urgently’ adopt digital and contactless solutions, ACI finds

By Kristiane Sherry |

ACI Asia-Pacific & Middle East says airports must 'urgently' adopt contactless and digital solutions.

ACI Asia-Pacific & Middle East says airports must ‘urgently’ adopt contactless and digital solutions.

Airport concession businesses are ‘urgently’ adopting digital and contactless solutions in the wake of the pandemic, but stakeholders must go further, insights from ACI show.

Presented at the Trinity Forum, which takes place in Hong Kong from 25-26 September, ACI Asia-Pacific & Middle East findings also pointed to a growing focus on cultural diversification in airport spaces. 

The Trinity Forum is created and owned by The Moodie Davitt Report which co-organises the event alongside ACI Asia-Pacific & Middle East and ACI World.

Airport operators were questioned on the current and future state of the industry. The findings showed the need for new business models as stakeholders adapt for market fluctuations and share risks.

Digital and contactless focus

A headline finding was the “urgent adaptation” to digital and contactless offerings. The move is part of a wider trend towards deeper technological integration for increased safety and efficiency.

Other growing uses of tech in airports include AI and digital advertising. 

Another key development was the emphasis on data analytics. Demographic information, travel patterns and purchase history are all being optimised so stakeholders can develop more customer-centred strategies and services. 

Data sharing is an ongoing but critical issue. “Developing data-sharing partnerships with airlines and retailers can go a long way towards augmenting commercial revenues,” the report said. 

In addition, the report found that “embracing local culture is no longer an option but a necessity” in airports.

Players around the world are increasingly incorporating local vendors for a vibrant passenger experience. According to ACI, this is contributing “significantly” to non-aeronautical revenues. 

There are “ample opportunities” to expand retail and F&B options in this space, and integrate technology and accessibility features. 

Sustainability a ‘new norm’

Airports are prioritising their ecological footprint more and more, with ‘going green’ seen as a new cornerstone. 

However the report found a need to adopt ESG considerations in decision-making, and to increase both waste management and renewable energy operations. 

Asia Pacific Travel Outlook session at the TFWA Asia Pacific Conference in Singapore.

ACI Asia-Pacific Director General Stefano Baronci described airport commercial revenues as a ‘critical lifeline;. Photo: TFWA Press Office.

“The insights from this extensive survey provide a critical framework for airport authorities and concessionaires, guiding them in their strategic planning and operational enhancements to navigate the evolving industry landscape,” said Mr. Stefano Baronci, Director General of ACI Asia-Pacific & Middle East, said, 

“Considering these illuminating insights, it becomes unequivocally clear that commercial revenues are not merely a supplementary strand of airport finance but a critical lifeline. 

“Their augmentation and astute management pave the unyielding pathways that help the aviation sector soar resiliently amidst the shifting skies of global economics and market trends.”

Last month, ACI Asia-Pacific & Middle East opened an office in Riyadh, coinciding with the launch of its 2022 Airport Connectivity Report.

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