Technology & innovation key to accommodate rising passenger numbers: ATM panel

‘Middle East passenger numbers to reach 429 million this year’
2024-05-10
/
/ New Delhi
Technology & innovation key to accommodate rising passenger numbers: ATM panel
Technology & innovation key to accommodate rising passenger numbers: ATM panel

Research from IATA shows that international passenger traffic increased by 20 pc in March 2024

Representatives from IATA, Cirium, Riyadh Air and Aviation X Lab participated in an aviation-focused panel discussion which highlighted that digital and data-driven strategies, along with collaboration from startups, will be critical to the innovation-focused future of aviation.
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As passenger numbers in the Middle East are predicted to reach 429 million this year, representing a 5.4 pc increase on 2019 figures, a panel of aviation experts convened at Arabian Travel Market (ATM) discussed during the ongoing show how the market is changing, outlining their predictions for the future of air travel.

In a press statement, ATM 2024 organisers say that the session, Looking Skyward for Innovation: How Technology is Disrupting Aviation, was moderated by travel expert Mark Frary and included panellists from Cirium, IATA, AviationXLab and Riyadh Air.

Research from IATA shows that international passenger traffic increased by 20 pc in March 2024 compared with the same month last year.

Kashif Khalid

Kashif Khalid

According to Kashif Khalid, Regional Director, Africa and Middle East, IATA, innovation is essential for enabling the industry to accommodate this significant growth in air traffic. “Without innovation, the future will be very challenging. We cannot continue building bigger infrastructure with the level of passengers we anticipate, so we have to look at how we manage passengers and cargo differently through digital solutions and innovation. On the ground, the industry is working on several innovations, not only to make aviation more sustainable but also to use infrastructure more efficiently. One of these solutions is One ID, where we digitalise tokens for passengers, which enables us to facilitate passengers seamlessly. How we use the traditional infrastructure of airports is going to change dramatically,” says Khalid.

The statement says that IATA One ID is a digital identity initiative that aims to streamline and enhance passenger travel. The system consolidates a variety of travel documents, such as passports, tickets, and boarding passes, into a single digital token, eliminating the need for multiple physical documents. By providing a unified and efficient identity management solution, IATA One ID enhances security, simplifies check-in processes, and facilitates seamless travel across airports.

Kevin Hightower

Kevin Hightower

During the panel discussion, Kevin Hightower, Vice President of Product, Cirium, stated that data sharing is the key to increasing efficiency in the aviation space and helping the industry accommodate increased demand. “That which is measured can be improved. As we share more data across boundaries, we will start to see the benefits today. Where a decision used to take hours, technologies such as Generative AI enable us to make decisions in seconds,” says Hightower.

The organisers say that Riyadh Air, Saudi’s new national carrier, will launch in 2025 and will be the first digitally native airline, according to Abe Dev, Vice President, Digital and Innovation, Riyadh Air.

“Technologies such as AI and cloud computing have matured in the last few years, and so have customer expectations, so we have a unique opportunity to deliver a technology-enabled guest experience that has never been seen before,” he says.

Amna Al Redha

Amna Al Redha

Dev also outlined that Riyadh Air would provide a solid platform for startups to collaborate with the airline, providing further opportunities for innovation. Aviation X Lab, part of Emirates Group, is an aviation-specific incubator based in the UAE, which is already making a significant impact in this area.

Focusing on sustainability, safety, passenger experience and operational efficiency, Aviation X Lab aims to transform the future of air travel through cutting-edge technologies and collaborative partnerships. “When we look at the travel experience, we look at the passenger journey holistically and try to map out the various touchpoints where technology and innovation can bring advancements,” says Amna Al Redha, Manager, Aviation X Lab.

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