Smart Airport: A Look into the Future

Smart Airport

Smart Airport: What is it?

Airports with smart technologies rely on things like Internet of Things (IoT) devices, GPS, and other sensors to improve their services. These technology-laden airports also plan and operate using digital tools.

Moreover, they optimize passenger flows and airport staff activities within the airport, thereby supporting operational staff.

Automation technologies such as smart security gates, unmanned immigration systems, real-time CCTV facilities, and RFID/NFC baggage tracking systems are available at airports.

In addition to automated alerts for exceptions or approvals, self-service capabilities for passengers and staff to use on-demand, and a user profile-specific marketing strategy, these airports provide a number of other benefits.

Technology and Smart Airports

  • Digital cameras and Bluetooth technologies enable monitoring of passenger lines at security checkpoints, check-ins, and parking lots.
  • It uses geolocation to reduce passenger congestion with guidance applications for passenger navigation.
  • There is a tracking system for luggage during the entire trip.
  • Social networking sites influence the buying patterns of airport travelers. It serves as a platform for media and opinion-forming around airlines, food, shopping, travel, etc.
  • Intelligent systems and sensing devices enable the processing of baggage without contact. In addition, sensor technologies, connectivity, mobile devices, and automation allow check-ins, security, and payment. Further, smart parking systems and self-service make traveling a breeze.
  • Self-service applications/portals enable end-users to access information on their own devices.
  • Integrating airport analytics across disintegrated systems is crucial for slicing and dicing the data. In addition, to analyze the past performance of the smart airports and predict their future performance.

Smart Airports: The Benefits for the Travelers

Passport Control and Boarding

Getting travelers’ identities verified is of utmost importance to airports and airlines. A new technology, facial recognition, is rapidly gaining popularity due to its promise of improving accuracy and speed. The use of facial recognition for check-in, passport control, and boarding could be possible when fully implemented. It can reduce each step to a couple of seconds and even do away with boarding passes.

Tracking Luggage

Besides the luggage belt, waiting near it is another big travel hassle: wondering if the bag will arrive. There are also options that airports can use to reduce uncertainty, such as smart luggage. Beacons can provide passengers with bag locations based on baggage handling process data.

Experience on Board

A person’s benefits do not end when they leave the airport. Even those who do not fly in business class can benefit from technology. It is also possible to increase flight connections. In addition to notifications about connecting flights, travelers could receive alerts about boarding gates and departure times on their phones. Inbound connecting passengers would also receive notice so the airlines can determine if they need to wait.

A Promising Future

Personalized customer experiences have helped smart airports gain prominence by leveraging new innovative technologies. As airport IT spending increases, this market is expected to expand as these solutions ease airport infrastructure and employee burdens.

There are dramatic increases in traffic, diversity, and choice of airlines in emerging countries. In addition, the growing penetration of smartphones and tablets in global smart airports has a major impact on the outlook.

Astute Analytica report on the global smart airport market indicates that the global market value is forecast to reach US$ 54,862.1 Mn by 2027, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.9% over the forecast period of 2021-2027.

Current Prospect

Today, airports increasingly rely on digital technologies like self-service kiosks, baggage tracking, and flight information via social media platforms such as Twitter. Through advanced technology, airports provide enhanced customer experiences. Airports provide a number of technology-based options for their passengers that will facilitate the personalization of their existing services.

There is a high use of smartphones by people to search for information regarding flights. Mobile-based flight discovery services are well-known. Customer service updates and baggage instructions at airports will also be crucial to resolving most travel-related issues. In the future, beacons and kiosks will also play a significant role in providing personalized experiences for passengers.

The Existing Smart Airports

Globally, airports use smart technology to control passports, track wait times, and track down late passengers.


Miami International Airport’s app, launched in 2016, is more than just a map of the terminals. Personalized airport guides are available to each passenger. Over 500 Bluetooth beacons installed around the airport provide data that the app uses to customize content based on where the passenger is at any given moment.

After scanning their boarding passes, users receive step-by-step, blue-dot directions to their gates. In addition, with estimated transit times, flight updates, and suggestions for nearby shopping and dining.

The airport in Miami is among the first to use beacon technology, with Dallas/Fort Worth, Hong Kong, Copenhagen, etc., looking into following suit.

London City

In 2015, London City Airport became the first airport in the world to experiment with smart technologies. The first task was to measure the total trip time of passengers, beginning when they arrive at the airport to when they board.

The airport uses sensors and cameras to identify passenger density in important areas like check-in and security. Additionally, it identifies distances between gates, check-in desks, and entrances.


A major focus of the Hamad International Airport in Doha has been to reduce the amount of time spent in lines. Service Delivery Management System (SDM) was introduced in 2017 to improve the efficiency of key activities related to passengers.

Check-in, security, and self-check-in terminals use beacons to collect data. Airport authorities can use this information to see how long it takes for each phase, from arrival to boarding a plane. In this way, the airport can determine where improvements could be made, including waiting times for transfers.


The main objective of Dubai International Airport’s “smart” journey has been to improve passport control efficiency. The plan is for passengers to walk through a smart tunnel instead of standing in line and communicating with agents.

The tunnel will use artificial intelligence and biometrics to identify passengers as they walk through the tunnel, announced in April 2018. Individuals won’t have to show their passports or anything else.


Singapore’s Changi Airport consistently ranks as one of the world’s best airports for innovation, quality, and efficiency. Now it’s tackling one of the biggest annoyances for travelers and airlines: late passengers causing flight delays.

In addition, Changi tests facial recognition technology to find passengers who are about to board a flight. Additionally, it will search for passengers at the terminals if they’ve lost track of time.


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