How airports use tech innovations to improve the passenger experience

May 26, 2023
Airports have an opportunity to reimagine their approach through innovation, Kurush Minocher reports for AviationPros.

TORONTO - For passengers, airports are waypoints on a journey to somewhere else. But for the people who work at them, airports are communities – small cities in their own right. Where I work, the airport authority is just one of more than 400 employers. Our airlines, subcontractors, government agencies and commercial partners provide more than 95 percent of the jobs at Toronto Pearson. It’s one of Canada’s largest employment zones, Kurush Minocher reports for AviationPros.

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The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

26 May 2023 - Minocher selects a trio of tech trends that airports are embracing, including artificial intelligence (AI), digital baggage, and data sharing.

"Not everyone is happy to see AI making inroads at the airport," Minocher writes. "While computers are ubiquitous in airline cockpits, the idea of robot pilots still makes many passengers queasy. Others are suspicious of facial recognition at check-in and security – Air Canada recently faced backlash on social media simply for introducing a biometric option at boarding – available only to traveller’s who choose to use it. But this, too, is increasingly in use, including at U.S. airports. To be sure, safety and personal privacy are issues that need to be rigorously addressed. But as long as they continue to be dealt with smartly and sensitively, public opinion will continue to evolve."

Minocher says that the Greater Toronto Airports Authority uses AI for predictive maintenance on our baggage-handling system, allowing us to replace parts before they break down and cause delays.

"We're also enhancing our security processes by becoming the first airport in the world to use HEXWAVE, a contactless, walkthrough security portal that detects concealed weapons in real time," Minocher writes. "And along with airports like Seattle, John F. Kennedy International, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International and London Gatwick, we recently partnered with Assaia, an AI company whose software uses cameras and AI to track the physical preparation of aircraft at gates to relay updated data about baggage and departure times to airline operators and passengers."

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Jamie Whitney, Senior Editor
Military + Aerospace Electronics

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