As the travel industry rebounds, Qatar’s Hamad International Airport (HIA) has been steadfastly focused on passenger well-being, particularly in the area of airport operations to maintain confidence in air travel.
Realising the distress and uncertainty travel can cause passengers during the pandemic, Qatar’s airport has implemented changes that acknowledge the emotional needs of its passengers and create a safe and reliable airport experience.
The award-winning airport, guided by the vision of its leadership, has implemented game-changing and passenger-centric contactless technologies to renovate its airport experience.
Upon departing from HIA, passengers are empowered to control their journey with HIA’s touchless self-service passenger experience at check-in and bag-drop touchpoints. The measures reduce surface contact through infrared enabled touchless screens. The screens are operated with mid-air technology that detects finger gestures above the screen. Physical touchpoints, such as check-in, immigration and information desks, have also been modified with acrylic barriers to offer safe and comfortable staff and passenger interactions.
HIA’s touchless innovations have been embedded in nearly all passenger touchpoints. These innovations include the trialling of disinfecting tunnels for baggage trolleys which ensure the trolleys are fully sanitised between each use, offering passengers greater peace of mind at every step of their journey.
Additionally, HIA’s passenger-facing elevators are now contactless which can be operated by just hovering a hand over the desired controls. Automation is also integrated into the airport’s escalators, which have been retrofitted with automated handrail UV disinfection.
The airport’s use of disinfectant robots is another example of HIA’s dedication to deploying emerging technologies that minimise the need for direct contact with surfaces for disinfection. The fully autonomous disinfectant robots emit concentrated UV light, which is effective in eliminating the majority of infectious microorganisms. These robots are positioned in high passenger traffic areas of the terminal to safeguard the airport environment.
In addition, HIA’s portable, safe, and effective Smart Screening Helmets enable contactless temperature measurement using advanced technologies, such as infrared thermal imaging, artificial intelligence and augmented reality displays.
The airport’s safe and contactless experience extends beyond what meets the eye. HIA has integrated ground-breaking C2 technology into the airport’s security screening system. The technology allows transferring passengers to move through security checkpoints securely and efficiently, without having to remove electronic devices from their bags, thereby reducing physical contact with baggage trays and security personnel.
The risk of infection from the airport’s external environment is also minimised with UV-C disinfectant lights that have been retrofitted into HIA’s cabin baggage scanners. HIA is one of the first airports to optimise its cabin baggage scanners, having developed a pioneering prototype of X-ray screening that was retrofitted into the scanners’ trail return systems in record time. The technology was introduced to give passengers comfort knowing that their baggage is thoroughly disinfected.
Qatar’s airport has solidified its leading position in pioneering technological innovations since its foundation, and the COVID-19 pandemic has been no exception. Beyond adopting advanced technologies as a response to the pandemic, HIA has been running a COVID-19 safety awareness campaign throughout the terminal, reminding its passengers about the precautionary measures to be followed to keep themselves and fellow passengers safe. It has also launched a dedicated webpage with a comprehensive list of all the COVID-19 safety measures implemented at HIA for the safety and well-being of its passengers.
HIA’s successful implementation of advanced passenger-centric solutions during the pandemic, both centre- and back-stage, has contributed to a holistic airport experience, continues to provide autonomy to its passengers, and has brought the airport of the future to reality for its global audience.