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Airports to have robot baggage handlers one day?

Airports could soon have robot baggage handlers.

Experts claim digitalization at airports is on the rise and could lead to more automated services at the check in desks and behind the scenes every time you head abroad.

They wrote in the report from consultancy Roland Berger: "Aviation has been at the forefront in adopting new technology. A new transformation is underway driven by digitalization. Airports are key drivers in the industry - Often they do more than other players in the value B chain. Digital opportunities exist along the entire passenger value chain, from mobility to boosting non-aviation revenues. Multi-modal mobility concepts, digitisation of shopping through mobile payments and the use of e-stores, flow monitoring via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are only a few examples for innovations.

"Airports need to operationalise these opportunities. A new way of thinking and acting is needed. Tools like Design Thinking, Rapid Prototyping and Hackathons are instruments from the start-up industry that can be used by airports, too. Airports are key drivers in this changing industry, taking a stronger position and doing often more than other players in the value chain. Airports have a clear advantage for digital investments due to own land-based infrastructure. They have an existing direct relationship with retailers, passengers and airlines - Central role in aviation value chain. They also have the financial strength for investments and are digital first movers due to pressure from online retail."

And the consultancy believe opportunities to digitalize will be made "along the entire travel value chain" and gives the potential to improve efficiency and increase the airport's revenue.

The reported concluded: "The global passenger growth in aviation will continue, particularly in Asia. Passengers of the future will be more digital and more demanding. This creates opportunities along the entire travel value chain. Digitalization yields potential both on for additional revenues and cost efficiency. Initiatives need to be planned and thoroughly challenged for return on investment. New paradigm of continuous innovation and shorter investment cycles is needed."

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