New age airports must be agile, smart, and sustainable, as well as revenue efficient
In September 2014, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) had announced that it would be building 50 low-cost, no-frills airports all over the country. This is in tandem with its Policy on Airports that clearly lays down that “The quality of airport infrastructure, which is a vital component of the overall transportation network, contributes directly to a country’s international competitiveness and the flow of foreign investment.” To emphasize the importance of upgrading the airport infrastructure in the country, it clearly depicts that “while cargo carried by air in India weighs less than 1% of the total cargo exported, it accounts for 35% of the total value of exports. Better cargo handling facilities lead to enhanced levels of importation, especially of capital goods and high-value items. Likewise, 97% of the country’s foreign tourists arrive by air and tourism is the nation’s second largest foreign exchange earner.” This is only one aspect of revenue generation and associated infrastructure, design, and execution considerations around airports.
A major shift in the design policy and considerations have been noticed in the various new, energy efficient, and green airports that have come up in the various tier 2 cities of India. The larger and more important ones have undergone major renovation for improved effectiveness – mostly they required to accommodate a higher number of passengers but they also focused on user perceptions, and worked with innovative materials and designs to bring in a feeling of abundance of space, comfort, and artistry.
Evolution of Smart Airports
In a study on Airport Evolution titled Smart Airports: Transforming Passenger Experience To Thrive in the New Economy in July 2009, Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) projected two significant characteristics of new age, sustainable, airports that convert passenger comfort to revenue generation.
According to the report, these agile airports adapt well to a changing environment and fast-paced operational tempo. It says, “Technology-enabled collaboration is highly evolved throughout these airports and is implemented across business units and functional silos. Business entities and ecosystem partners share information quickly and seamlessly, enabling agile airports to respond rapidly to environmental and
• Agile Airports: