Incheon Airport implements ‘COVID-19 Free Airport’ strategy and plans for traffic recovery

Under the vision and strategy of Incheon International Airport, the Smart Airport Group leads the introduction, development and operation of innovative processes and services, and ICT-related projects.

Jungy Han, Manager, Smart Airport Group, Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC), explains that constant efforts are made to deliver a “better airport” for passengers and employees. “The primary role of the Smart Airport Team is to establish and manage the strategy and projects of the smart airport in Incheon Airport. We guide and promote other divisions of IIAC, and moderate the difference between the strategy and projects based on new technologies the other divisions are developing. We are also in charge of developing and operating big data platforms, robots, self-driving cars, etc.”

Artificial intelligence and robotics are among the many technologies that are being used by the Smart Airport Team to improve the passenger experience at Incheon Airport.

A key priority for all airports is responding to the COVID-19 crisis. “As Incheon International Airport is the gateway of Korea, after seeing the initial spike of COVID-19 in February, we thought it is most important to focus on early diagnosis and prevention of the spread of the virus,” Han explains. “As IIAC announced the ‘COVID-19 Free Airport’ strategy, we focused on thorough three-step quarantine, providing the most robust disinfection, sterilisation, and sanitisation, with close cooperation with the government and other related agencies, including the KCDC (Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention), and airlines.”

Along with reduced airport operation, IIAC is supporting its business partners – including the airlines, ground handlers, duty free operators, and F&B operators – with discounts on charges and the provision of incentives. “Upon the stabilisation of the crisis, we plan to focus on passenger traffic recovery and generating new traffic demand as well,” Han adds.

Artificial intelligence, robotics, big data and biometrics

The Smart Airport Team is working to enhance the service offered to Passengers with Reduced Mobility (PRMs) using robotics technology and automated vehicles. Meanwhile, a big data platform is being developed to increase technology-driven operational efficiency. Han explains that there are also plans to establish an artificial intelligence (AI) air traffic control platform, which will bring “a brand-new way of working to ATC officers”.

“My colleagues on the ‘Fast Travel Team’ are in charge of innovating passenger handling processes. Led by the ‘One-ID’ project based on biometrics, we are constantly focusing on implementing RFID and improving common use systems.”

Looking ahead, Han believes that AI and biometrics will be crucial in the aviation industry. “There are so many expanded possibilities in airport operation for technology growth. For example, there are already many developments and studies done around big data, but there are so few who optimise its outcome. In my opinion, the one who makes the creative application of technologies will lead the whole aviation industry.”

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