The early stages of the pandemic created a unique challenge for airports — how to put together protocols that would bring back passenger confidence in aviation as the safest form of travel. The challenge was to reassure passengers on hygiene and safety to help them overcome fear of travel.
To ensure the highest level of safety, airports underwent a massive transformation in operations. Contactless passenger processing was introduced in Indian airports within a very short timeframe, and is now the norm across major airports. It has minimised the need to touch surfaces and eliminated the exchange of documents with airport, airline or security personnel.
Temperature screening and round-the-clock sanitisation have become the order of the day. Encouraging a safe distance, providing access to sanitisers and reminders to wear face masks are preventing exposure to the virus. Other measures include natural ventilation and regular cleaning of vents.
To reduce the spread of the virus through luggage, airports implemented new sanitisation technologies such as UV treatment for trolleys, trays and Ultra Low Volume sanitising for outbound baggage.
Digital transformation has been extended to retail and F&B, allowing passengers to browse, select, transact and pay on airport apps/ website. Staff at F&B and stores are equipped with masks and gloves.
A survey by BIAL to understand passenger perception and expectations from air travel amid the pandemic revealed that 90 per cent of passengers considered air travel safer than others. It also revealed that early negative perceptions about travel due to the fear of Covid-19 have changed.
Passenger expectations from airports are high. As airport operators, we have come together and worked closely with the entire aviation ecosystem to infuse confidence among passengers that aviation is indeed the safest form of travel.