Before the global pandemic, 2020 was slated to be a record-breaking year for air travel in many ways, not the least of which being passenger growth. In fact, at the close of 2019, IATA predicted that passenger demand would grow by 4.1 percent in 2020. Airports around the world were bracing themselves for a year of bustling terminals that would be bursting at the seams in some cases. El Dorado International Airport (BOG) is one of the airports that developed a plan to embrace technological innovation to support the passenger experience in response to what was expected to be an extremely demanding year in aviation.

Of course, that’s not how 2020 panned out for the aviation industry (and essentially every other industry). However, El Dorado International Airport, along with many others, didn’t halt their digital transformation plans. In fact, many of the improvements and goals the airport had been working towards in previous years were expedited due to necessary COVID-19 health and safety precautions. El Dorado, as well as many other airports, began a concerted effort towards enabling a touchless passenger journey, self-service options, biometrics, and streamlined passenger processing.

In light of the projected recovery of the aviation industry, we connected with El Dorado International Airport to see how they’re embracing modernization with the help of partners like Collins Aerospace to support a smoother post-COVID passenger journey.

In just four months, BOG replaced its previous supplier’s passenger processing solutions and later incorporated new solutions for self-service check-in, bag drop, and automated pre-security gates. This laid a foundation for biometrics and self-boarding gates – all of which resulted in smaller passenger queues, faster processing, and enhanced passenger and airline satisfaction.

As a result of effectively managed passenger flow and a strong push for a contactless passenger journey, BOG has been awarded a 5-Star COVID-19 Airport Safety Rating by the international air transport rating agency, Skytrax. The award recognizes the effectiveness of COVID-19 measures introduced by the airport to protect customers and staff against the spread of coronavirus.

“Our airport is the first one in South America to receive this rating, and one of only three in the world,” Luis Soto, technology lead for OPAIN (the concession holder for BOG) said. “We are very proud of this achievement, and hope it transmits a sense of confidence to passengers that our airport is focused on health and safety.”

Collins Aerospace solutions supporting the digital transformation throughout BOG include:

“We want to implement as much of this technology as possible,” Soto said. “We see these IT projects as being key milestones as we work to accelerate the airport’s recovery from the pandemic.”

The estimates of when global travel will be back to its peak are not yet clear, but airports like BOG have embraced the opportunity to digitally transform now to prepare for accommodating those passenger numbers once they bounce back as well as enabling a safe and healthy journey.

About Chelsea Barone

Chelsea is an editor for Connected Aviation Today, managing the day-to-day editorial activities. Chelsea writes for other federal government and technology industry publications. Her background lies in B2B and enterprise technology, specifically cloud computing, SaaS, travel IT, and mobile devices.