As part of an ongoing series of articles, our editorial team at Connected Aviation Today is kicking off 2018 by sitting down with industry executives in commercial aviation to get their perspective on what’s next for the industry. We’ve featured both 2017  milestones, how the industry has evolved over the past year, and what to expect in 2018.  This week, we talked with Christopher Forrest, Vice President of Airport Systems for Rockwell Collins.  Forrest shared with us four key airport trends that we can expect to see in 2018. Here is what he focused on:

Trend 1: Airports Go to the Clouds

“First, you will see more use of a true cloud infrastructure,” noted Forrest. “This might seem a bit confusing because many in the industry have said that they’ve been using the cloud, but what they’ve been using is really hosted services—and not a true cloud solution.  But this year, we will start seeing a broader adoption of true cloud computing applications using global cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure solutions.”

Forrest explained that it’s in passenger processing at airports where we’ll see more of this happening. “A true cloud infrastructure enables an easily scalable shared service model, where users pay for the applications they need, creating opportunities for smaller tier airports to provide the same type of  services to passengers traditionally found at larger airports.”

Trend 2: Self-Baggage Drop Expansion

“The second airport trend that I see is the continued move to automated self-baggage drop,” said Forrest.  “We originally saw this trend start in 2016 and it continued in 2017, mostly in Europe and Australia.  But in 2018, we will start to see a notable expansion of self-baggage drop, including in Asia and North America as well,” according to Forrest.

“In North America, specifically in the U.S., there are TSA requirements for ID checks that have impacted adoption. However, the increases in trials and adoption of biometric capabilities in airports around the world are slowly replacing traditional ID checks and will help move along the adoption of automated self-bag drop,” Forrest explained.  “By the end of 2018, we will see this expansion globally, but especially in Asia and the Americas.”

Trend 3: A Robust Self-Service Journey

“Along the lines of self-bag drop, I believe we’ll see a more comprehensive self-service journey throughout the airport,” said Forrest. “There have been a lot of trials in this area where vendors have done a ‘single point,’ meaning self-service is available at the kiosk when a passenger checks in, but not necessarily throughout the entire airport journey.  This will be the year that you’ll see end-to-end self-service throughout the airport, from check in to security to the gate, all of which will be enabled by biometrics. Trials in 2017 that will convert to operations in 2018.”

Trend 4: IATA Resolution 753 Compliance

Forrest concluded, “Finally, the other airport trend I see in the coming year is the impact of IATA Resolution 753, which has an implementation deadline of June 2018.  The resolution is designed to track a passenger’s bag throughout certain transition points of a passenger’s journey. IATA Resolution 753 creates a baggage management requirement where airlines have to know where the baggage is in their network, which puts more emphasis and responsibility on the airline.”

With this new requirement, “We will see  more investments from airlines and airports this year in baggage management systems to comply with IATA Resolution 753,” said Forrest.

To stay updated on the latest trends and best practices in connected aviation, follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter.