Strategic Opportunities Generating Growth for Global Airport Airside Operations
Digitalization and system integration driving overall operational efficiencies
Aircraft movements in 2019 totaled over 100 million globally. However, this figure dropped by more than 40% in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The crisis severely impacted the fiscal health of the overall aviation sector, with nearly all stakeholders such as airlines, airports, air traffic, and ground handlers facing significant monetary losses in 2020. The recovery phase of the aviation sector will depend on external factors such as the easing of lockdowns and travel restrictions, with optimistic estimations predicting overall global air travel recovery by the end of 2023. The pandemic has also adversely impacted airside operators. Nationwide lockdowns, varying movement control measures, and non-uniform health regulations across regions led to the decline in total operational aircraft compared to 2019. Stricter health regulations mandating additional safety protocols and low resource utilization also impact the aircraft turnover time for airlines. Domestic travel will lead recovery in various countries. This segment is dominated by narrow-body aircraft of low-cost carriers that rely on faster aircraft turnaround times. International and business travel will recover at a slower pace, leading to lower utilization of wide-body aircraft.
To achieve efficient airside workflows, relevant stakeholders like airlines, ground handlers, air traffic control, and airports must share critical data. A key challenge to attaining data collaboration is the lack of real-time quality data in a standard format. Data collaboration platforms equipped with analytical capabilities are increasingly adopted by other industries, airlines, and airports. Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM) frameworks are implemented across major airports, while Total Airport Management (TAM) is a niche next-generation solution that boosts the integration of multiple stakeholders’ systems in the airport. There is a growing trend among airports to shift some applications to the cloud infrastructure, providing greater operational scalability at optimal cost.
The potential ubiquity of commercial drone utilization also increases the potential for attacks. The drone risk and the vast number of potential cyberthreats due to an increasingly interconnected ecosystem have increased the focus on improving physical and digital security measures across the airside. Cybersecurity is a priority area in the aviation sector as airports adhere to various data regulations. Counter-drone measures will also strengthen as the adoption of drones for commercial and recreational applications increases.
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