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Reaching New Heights

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VoicenData Bureau
New Update

The revolution in ICTs has profound implications for economic and social development. It has pervaded every aspect of human life, whether health, education, economics, governance, entertainment, among others. The most important benefit associated with the access to new technologies is the increase in the supply of information. ICTs have cut across the geographic boundaries of nations and states. Efforts are underway to integrate ICTs to all sectors and developmental activities.

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The mission of international air transportation will become more important, and all airports around the world will have a significant role to play. Furthermore, it is predicted that air transportation demand in the world will double over the next 15 years. In the meantime, since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, the environment surrounding the aviation industry has become very severe and has caused adverse impact to the entire aviation industry. Security at airports has been reinforced in all aspects, significantly deteriorated on-time performance, caused mass congestion at the airport, and caused a drastic increase in aviation management and operational costs.

Owing to these issues, the aviation industry in recent years has seen a need to improve both convenience to passengers and security measures, and at the same time improve on-time performance in the most economical manner. The fast development of information communication technologies (ICT) and the expansion of the internet have changed the aviation industry structures around the world. New technologies have been adopted in the aviation industry in Europe and America for more than 30 years, and the trend is likely to continue into the future.

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Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have an especially significant role to play here, for it is only with the strategic, widespread, intensive, and innovative use of ICT in future airport development policies and programs that the ambitious agenda of passenger convenience and airport security becomes much more possible to achieve.



The Market

India is the 9th largest aviation market in the world as per a report, Indian Aerospace Industry Analysis, published by research firm RNCOS. The Indian Aviation sector grew around 13.6% y-o-y in FY10, which was amongst the highest globally. Further, the government's open sky policy has attracted many overseas players to enter the market and the industry is growing in terms of both players and the number of aircrafts.

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On the basis of strong market fundamentals, it is anticipated that the civil aviation market will register more than 16% CAGR during 2010-13. Furthermore, India is poised to be among the top five aviation nations in the world in the next 10 years. Recent estimates suggest that domestic air traffic will touch 160-180 mn passengers a year, in the next 10 years and the international traffic will exceed 80 mn passengers a year. The above figures indicate a huge demand of ICT tools and processes in the industry.

The government is planning for technology upgradations in data network and data consolidation, city-side technology, immigration, customs, access control and security surveillance and airspace and airport operations, including proposing to make it mandatory to have Category II instrument landing system at all airports across the country to tackle fog-related problems. In this regard, AAI has upgraded the landing system from CAT III A to CAT III B at major airports in the country.

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Aviation Security Needs

Post the 9/11 terrorist attack on the US, airport and passenger security have become the prime concern for every country. In air travel there is an increasing need for accurate and efficient verification of passenger identity. Technologies which allow for stronger access control and strengthened document integrity will be welcome by most airports.

In May 2003, the use of contactless technology was endorsed as the next generation of data storage for passports by the Air Transport Committee of the ICAO Council (ICAO, 2003a). In recent years, there has been a steady increase in the testing and piloting of biometrics. The primary purpose of biometrics is to allow for identity verification (also called authentication) or 'confirming identity' (ICAO, 2003b), where a one-to-one match is intended to establish the validity of a claimed identity by comparing a verification template to an enrolment template.

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The stability and uniqueness of the fingerprint are well established. The largest application of fingerprint technology is in automated fingerprint identification systems (AFISs) used by police forces in over 30 countries. Iris identification technology involves the acquisition, analysis, and comparison of the unique details contained in the intricate patterns of the furrows and ridges of the iris. This non-intrusive technology offers a high reliability rate for one-to-one verification. Facial recognition technology utilizes distinctive features of the human face in order to perform a biometrics match. Even though two individuals may look alike, the unique physiological patterns of their facial features will be different.



Future Measures

In India many of the ICT implementations have already been done. But there is a need of improvement or we can say the country is lacking in few new technologies that can be implemented in order to improve the customer satisfaction. First of all, there is need of a unified system for providing customer services. Unified Authority for all functions including airline activities inside the terminal building through networking and virtual private networks for the manifold functions through a single window with opportunities for faster and efficient passenger handling.

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Customer Relation Management (CRM) applications with speech-enabled technology with integrated voice and data for information and value added services such as flight information, news, weather reports, stock quotes, traffic reports and sports results which will not only enhance customer satisfaction but will also create a new source of revenue.

The Integrated CCTV systems must also display passenger arrival; queue up at ticket counters, security checkpoints. These details can be captured, documented and database made, which will be useful for future planning, flight departure program etc. Biometric passenger profiles system can facilitate quick check in, faster security check and passenger traffic analysis of frequent flyers and their personalized airport services.

These systems have already been implemented in London and Singapore. This will improve the quality of service and customer satisfaction. More than that, the congestion of passengers in terminal lounges will be managed well by dynamic creation of space within the existing infrastructure. This will help in handling more passengers without additional investment on infrastructure building.

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