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04 July 2018

3 ways ground handlers can facilitate the growing demand for air travel

BY: Abhishek Krishna (AMBA 2016)

It’s no secret that global travel is growing at an exponential rate. Both in terms of passenger and freight volume.

Tourism economics based on IATA data suggests the demand for air travel will double over the next 20 years, with passenger growth shifting East and South. Emerging markets in APAC and LATAM are expected to reach 2066m and 412m respectively, by 2036.

Not even rising fuel prices can halt this growth. As we’ve seen over the past 12 months, despite increases in the cost of fuel, global growth in passenger traffic has continued to rise steadily.

The following are three ways the ground handling industry can manage and facilitate this growth, as put forward in the recent IATA IGHC Conference, held in Doha, Qatar.

  1. Harmonize global standards to improve safety
  2. Improve collaboration between stakeholders
  3. Develop new talent within the industry

At Amadeus, we support these priorities. Our ground handling technology strategy is aligned with all three.

Enhancing safety and reducing the risk of error

We work closely with our strategic partner IATA on flight safety initiatives to harmonize existing standards with respect to aircraft data management and processing.

Our Altéa Departure Control Flight Management Solution for ground handlers provides automation which helps to increase safety and to significantly reduce potential errors due to human intervention. We also promote a safety culture of openness, blamelessness and always placing passenger safety first.

This is the foundation on which we work.

Collaboration is essential in managing growth

We understand that collaboration is essential in today’s ground handling environment. Also, that collaboration is a key pre-requisite for improving safety and operational efficiency. This is why we keep an open and constant dialogue with our customers and vendors.

We are partners and we work together to solve business problems which are being faced by the ground handling industry. We work with our customers on innovative and disruptive solutions, while operating alongside vendors in order to leverage each other’s unique strengths and abilities.

Airport partners need to have a Common Situational Awareness (CSA) with a complete view and understanding of the current and future situation for airside and landside operations. Our Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM) portal uses real-time information that empowers airport actors with rapid decision-making capabilities.

Investment in research and development

At Amadeus, we have invested over €4 billion in research and development over the past decade. This has allowed us to introduce innovations such as off-airport check-in and bag-drop through our ACUS Mobile solution, which offers greater flexibility in what can take place offsite and beyond the airport. With OACIS, one of the first “pop-up” off-airport check-in providers, our ACUS mobile solution is giving rise to a whole set of new business opportunities for ground handlers.

We are also investing in and developing solutions which utilize advanced processing for the increasing use of digital identity management, automation, and robotics. We understand that ground handling is a low margin business and our products do create new business opportunities. Through the use of real-time data, we can facilitate interactive decision making, linking everything together with a trusted single source of truth.

Looking toward the future, many airports do not have sufficient capacity to support the dramatic growth forecast. We need smarter ways to handle the rapid rise in the number of passengers and freight, to manage the passenger experience as a whole, and to improve both operational efficiency and safety.

This can only be achieved through emerging concepts in technology, such as:

  • Digital identity management and biometrics for a more secure and seamless passenger experience
  • Autonomous Vehicles (AV) to improve efficiency and safety in ground operations
  • Automation through machine learning for smart analytics used by ground handlers to facilitate smart decision making
  • Augmented Reality (AR) for improved training and operational efficiency on the air-side
  • Environmentally friendly and green tech

This is to name only a few of the technologies that will impact and advance the ground handling industry.

We have an innovation-focused division, which helps us to nurture new ideas and to find new solutions. Comprised of subject-matter experts on multiple emerging technologies, this division is on the cutting edge of technology.

Working together to improve outcomes for all stakeholders

Together, with enhanced safety, simplified collaboration and the right investments on both innovation and talent, we can work toward managing the expected growth within the travel industry. We can create better and more profitable systems for all stakeholders, and ultimately provide a better travel experience for passengers.


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