It has been nearly a year since the commercial aviation and airport industry faced a shutdown due to the global pandemic. Yet, with an eye on recovery, the industry has come together to create a safer, healthier, and more efficient travel experience. How? By leveraging the latest technologies and tools, and in doing so, is not only looking to make a recovery but to evolve into a stronger, more resilient industry.

Stephen Timm, President at Collins Aerospace and former RTCA board member, spoke recently about the RTCA’s impact and mission to meet the changing global environment and modernize the aviation ecosystem. Timm encouraged the government and industry to work together to speed up recovery, which is currently predicted to take three to five years.

“If public and private sectors work together… and take bold enough and broad enough measures, we can accelerate economic recovery for the industry and restart the global economy,” Timm said. While some of this is already happening, Timm believes that more can be done to accelerate this recovery and protect against future health threats that are emerging.

Timm points to the efforts of creating a contactless passenger journey by collaborating and developing solutions to leverage new and emerging technology solutions. “These solutions can not only mitigate current challenges but also prepare us for those challenges that lie ahead,” he said.

The contactless passenger journey will revolutionize the way we travel. This requires the airport industry to rethink the entire journey and consider how technology can be implemented to limit touchpoints. This starts with health check certifications before entering an airport, through mobile or biometric check-in, to bag drop and RFID tagging, to biometric token linking to passports at security, and facial recognition at the boarding gate. Mapping technology can help passengers navigate congested areas and find concessions or health checkpoints. This all flows into the flight itself, destination arrival, bag pick up, and more.

“Here is what is interesting. These solutions were not originally developed to combat COVID. They were designed to create more efficient travel experiences when traffic was at its peak,” Timm explained. “Now we are accelerating complementary technologies while adding in another lay for passenger protection and frontline employee [safety].”

With this foundation in place, which includes the contactless passenger journey and health passports, the industry will need to collaborate in a secure, cloud environment, to enable and verify credentials and data. Yet, the progress this far demonstrates that airports and airlines can accelerate past recovery to a stronger, healthier, more efficient industry.

Watch Timm’s entire video here:

About Shany Seawright

A senior executive at Strategic Communications Group and Managing Editor of Connected Aviation Today, as well as other publications, Seawright oversees the editorial direction of the publication and managed the editorial staff.