Demand for air travel continues to increase exponentially, while relative costs are decreasing per passenger, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual Report 2019. Aviation practitioners historically develop master plans for implementing future infrastructure based on forecasted demand using past outcomes from operations, enplanements and throughputs. A recent Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) study noted U.S. airports are “terminally challenged” to make inadequate airport infrastructure meet rising demands. Because of this reality, the air transport industry is working at a fast pace to improve facilities.
Aviation planners, designers, constructors and operators are learning innovative ways to more efficiently and sustainably plan, design, construct, operate and maintain vital airport infrastructure. At the same time, airport owners are stretching their capital budgets as far as possible, while new trends like transportation network companies (TNCs) erode a large portion of nonaeronautical revenue. Technology is key to alleviating this stress by reducing operating costs and improving the passenger experience.
A few significant technologies provide an antidote to airports facing this issue. These solutions offer new, cost-effective ways to meet increasing passenger demand.