Tuesday, August 25, 2020

It’s Time for India to Take Back the Skies with the help of Technology

The COVID-19 pandemic has not just affected human lives but has taken a heavy toll on economies across the world. With a complete nationwide lockdown for about two months, businesses have also suffered huge losses. The aviation industry continues to be one of the most adversely impacted. It is only now that airlines in India have taken to the skies again providing some minimal relief to the industry. However, the damage to this sector will be long and complex and recovery will change the way we travel.

At this point, no one can predict what the future may bring. But we are beginning to develop scenarios about what shape the ‘new normal’ might take. In order to mitigate the effects, the aviation industry must transform the passenger experience to increase traveler safety, re-establish trust while balancing economic pressures from reduced customer demand. To successfully walk this tightrope and navigate a return to the skies for viable volumes of passengers, our airports and airlines need to assimilate new information from the government and health officials, adapt operations immediately and automate processes permanently.

One of the most striking revelations that has emerged from the crisis is the role and importance of technology. Industry leaders believe that technology will be fundamental in helping airlines and airports become compliant with new and fast-changing regulations and to restore the passenger’s confidence in flying. New preventive measures aimed at limiting risk at airports and onboard will require new approaches to passenger management. Indian airports that were reticent to adopting certain technologies are now transitioning towards it.

Digital technologies and automation will be critical in ensuring a smooth, efficient and safe flow of passengers while keeping in mind social distancing-friendly passenger experience. Now more than ever, the industry needs to work towards the vision of an entirely mobile-enabled journey. This will keep passengers informed and moving, making the journey increasingly ‘touchless’ with self-service technologies at every step right up to the biometric boarding system at the gate. Contactless, self-service technologies at every step will facilitate passenger flow, cutting queues while ensuring a social distancing-friendly passenger experience.

New kinds of digital identity will facilitate this smooth, touchless journey. This will allow passengers to breeze through the airport using digital IDs stored on their phone verified with facial recognition. Passengers will expect this to be both simple and safe.
25/08/20 Twinkle Goel/News Patrolling
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