|Event||Airport Show 2019|
|Organiser||Reed Exhibitions FZ LLC|
|Press Release Date||30.04.2019|
Technology has made the life of airport passengers much easier and digital transformation by using blockchain, and artificial intelligence (AI) will further enhance the passengers’ experience to the next level.
This was echoed by industry experts at Global Airport Leaders’ Forum (GALF), which is co-located with the 19th edition of the Airport Show.
In his keynote address at GALF, Frost & Sullivan Director Commercial Aviation Diogenis Papiomytis talked about the digital transformation of the airports. Papiomytis put the spotlight on the journey of a non-digital airport into the digital airport.
He said, “Digital transformation is the most important programme running at an airport, led by information technology (IT) and operations.” He added that through digital transformation, airports are enhancing their business models as well as passengers’ experience.
Giving examples of a recent survey, he mentioned that digital transformation means different things for different people. For some airports, it’s all about technology and IT, and for others, it’s completely transforming the business model.
Traffic will double in the next 20 years, and most of the airports don’t have the capacity to deal with this growth. Therefore, technology is the best choice to increase the capacity, he said.
‘Higher AI and Block Chain in Aviation’ was another important topic discussed by technology experts at the GALF.
They highlighted that apart from making transactions secure, blockchain has a wide scope of implementations in the aviation industry. Blockchain for aviation is capable of easing many functions like securing passenger data, managing airport inventories and encrypting vital aviation operations, they added.
Nikiforos Chatzopoulos, Global Aviation Practice Leader, Center of Competence – IBM, said, “People need to understand blockchain in order to see how they can apply it.” He added that blockchain and AI together would revolutionise the operational sector by streamlining the whole process in the airport ecosystem where a lot of stakeholders work together.
Another panel discussion touched upon a very important topic of retail revenues for the airport. Non-aeronautical revenues continue to be a vital component of an airport’s bottom line. This source of revenue tends to generate higher net profit margins, whilst providing airports with more diversification of income streams which then serve as an additional cushion during economic downturns.
Ramesh Cidambi, Chief Operating Officer at Dubai Duty Free, said, “Dubai Duty Free started operations 35 years ago with a mission statement to provide first class services to passengers using the airport and to promote the City of Dubai and the Dubai airport itself. Over the last 35 years, we grew the business from $20 million in 1984 to $2 billion.”
Cidambi added, “We strongly believe the growth in the aviation business will continue in the foreseeable future. But the growth requires airports to be ready to handle the passenger numbers and the growth increasingly putting pressure on airports to generate more and more revenues on the nautical side and non-aeronautical side.”