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How Covid-19 helped digital transformation in the airline industry

Covid-19 has accelerated digital transformation across the airline industry.Picture: Pexels.

Covid-19 has accelerated digital transformation across the airline industry.Picture: Pexels.

Published Dec 8, 2021


The Covid-19 pandemic may have had an impact on the operations of the airlines but it has also accelerated digital transformation across the industry, offering more opportunities for airlines to enhance their offerings, streamline operations and redefine their customer experience.

Here's how:

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A safer airport experience

Even though the airport sector has always been a leader in safety, particularly post 9/11, Covid-19 has stimulated even greater innovation as airports strive to improve passenger safety and security using digital tools, automation, and efficiency aids in the past year.

More airports are using air cleaning and filtration systems to reduce the spread of disease. For instance, airports such as Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) have stepped up their safety measures to protect the health of those who work at and use the airport.

HKIA has deployed 13 autonomous cleaning robots for floor and carpet cleaning, sterilisation of toilets and key operating areas in the terminal. Additionally, Singapore’ Changi Airport installed new air purifiers fitted with hospital-grade High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters to enhance the indoor air quality for passengers in its terminal buildings

The sector has also seen a growing number of temperature screening devices at airport entrances to minimise potential exposure. Cape Town International Airport has been using this thermal technology for over a year to instantly read passengers’ temperature as they pass in front of a camera. Whenever a person's temperature is higher than normal, an alarm sounds, potentially signalling an infection.

Digitised airline operations

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Airlines and airports are using biometric technologies to create a contactless, self-service passenger journey.

For example, Cathay Pacific recently introduced contactless boarding at Hong Kong International Airport to minimise contact during check-in and boarding, and safeguard passenger wellbeing. The airline’s e-Boarding system uses biometric technology to scan passengers' faces, making the entire boarding process completely contactless, touch-free, fast, and straightforward.

The future of air travel

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With the rise of digital innovations, the future of air travel will offer an enhanced travel experience and access to even more travel information. Airlines are introducing 24-hour live chat features and dedicated WhatsApp chat features to offer customer support as well as other destination-related info.