Rethinking the post-pandemic air travel experience

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aaron stokes cZ2DO2nDSxc unsplash

With travel at an all-time low, with decreased revenue and airport staff being retrenched in many airports, how can such organisations deal with the increased manpower requirements to handle extra processes surrounding Covid-19?

To answer this question and help airports recover in the post-Covid-19 world, Surbana Jurong (SJ) Aviation has drawn upon its extensive passenger terminal planning experience to offer Pandemic Strategic Advisory to guide airports with infrastructural planning and design modifications.

As the world battles with the resurgence of Covid-19 infections, passenger confidence is still low – despite the rollout of vaccination plans in many countries. “This service is meant for airports in the interim period,” said David Theuma, Principal Project Manager for SJ Aviation. 

“The interim period is between now and when an acceptable level of the world population would have been inoculated against Covid-19. This can be the whole of 2021 but even spill into 2022. We are looking at how airport infrastructure will have to change in the next 12 to 18 months to prepare for the recovery and scale-up of air travel.”

In terms of realities that airports must operate under in the post-pandemic world, David expects this to include impacts to passenger terminal capacity, modified passenger and logistic flows, as well as a further increase in the deployment of contactless technology. Operations will also have to be consolidated, possibly freeing up space for processes such as testing of passengers.

He also expects that airports will need to rely heavily on real-time tracking of passenger numbers within passenger terminal buildings, and less on historical data or conventional behavioural assumptions.

In the ongoing efforts, travel will need to become more predictable and governments will have to help with the creation of bilateral travel bubbles. “There will also be a need for countries to consolidate a universal system that records how and when passengers have been tested and vaccinated such as an e-health passport which will allow a passenger to share name, passport number and test / vaccination records.”

Countries that are proactive in addressing these issues may result in being perceived as being more “travel-friendly”, as opposed to countries that do not, he said.

SJ Aviation has already undertaken pandemic related services on an international airport in the region and has helped with revised terminal capacity assessments, terminal and operation consolidation, revised passenger flows, allocation of space for testing, operational readiness assessments, recommendations on digitisation strategy and cargo / logistics revised planning.

For further information on the subject, please contact the SJ Aviation Team or David Theuma at [email protected] / +65 8227 4326.

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