By Stephen Saunders, Advisor, NEXTT
ACI and IATA have launched a joint initiative known as NEXTT – New Experience in Travel Technologies. NEXTT is about creating a common vision for the future of air transport encompassing the complete journey from home to end destination. The focus is on three emerging themes: off-airport activities; advance processing technology; and interactive decision making. Each of these concepts is considered for cargo, baggage, passengers and aircraft.
Airports and private companies alike are already embracing the notions of NEXTT specifically around off-airport processes including a case study from member Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA).
ACI and IATA encourage and invite you to help shape the future of air travel through the NEXTT vision. There are several ways to get involved including a series of webinars hosted by the International Airport Review which explore the emerging themes of NEXTT. Workshops will also be conducted to allow industry and non-industry experts to share their expertise and creative ideas in reshaping the travel experience. Please share your experiences and case studies by emailing NEXTT@aci.aero. Join the conversation on Twitter #NEXTTjourney and on the LinkedIn group providing access to latest updates and a medium for continued collaboration amongst contributors at large.
While HKIA has advantage of scale, connecting 73 million passengers1 with 220 destinations globally, the continual enrichment of passenger experience with such a huge audience is no trivial task.
HKIA has been in fact one of the few offairport check-in solution heavyweights in the world since 1998. Upon the commissioning of HKIA, 20 years ago, in-town check-in facilities have been available at two stations of the Airport Express Line, namely Hong Kong and Kowloon stations, which are at city centers and are connected with the airport in 24 minutes. Passengers can check in and drop bags at these stations, providing seamless “rail-to-air” connection. The establishment of SkyPier, in 2003, further introduced upstream check-in services from key ports of the Pearl River Delta of mainland China which HKIA brings the off-airport processes of ACI’s NEXTT Initiative to life. Passengers traversing to the airport by rail, land and sea have the convenient option to check in and drop baggage at an increasing number of locations throughout the Hong Kong region. 24 Security 1 Annual passenger throughput of HKIA in 2017. considerably expanded HKIA’s catchment area and, at the same time, provided passengers with a unique and unprecedented “sea-to-air” connection experience.
Riding on the previous waves of success, HKIA now has solid plans to introduce “Off-airport Check-in and Baggage Acceptance Services” (OACI). The aim of OACI is to expand the network of check-in locations in Hong Kong to enhance “land-to-air” connectivity which adds convenience to passengers departing from HKIA. The commencement of the Hong KongZhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) is an example of this commitment and is expected to feed a new stream of passengers from mainland China to HKIA.
The bridge enables a fable-like land connection whereby the entire western Pearl River Delta will fall within a reachable three-hour commuting radius of Hong Kong. For the convenience of passengers, OACI will be provided at the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities (HKBCF) of HZMB, providing both conventional and self-service check-in options for travellers depending on passengers’ personal preferences. One core value of OACI that will appeal to local residents as well as business travellers and tourists is that once passengers drop off their baggage, in the morning for instance, they can then enjoy the rest of their day in the city hassle-free and simply proceed to HKIA for departure in the evening. The OACI facility at HKBCF is initially expected to operate 18 hours a day. Real-time flight information displays and customer service staff are provided on site. Passengers who have purchased tickets from Hong Kong’s participating air carriers will be able to enjoy the service. In future phases, conventional check-in systems and counters would make way for the common self bag drop system and counters.
Beyond HKBCF, HKIA plans to extend the OACI network of locations to other major transportation hubs, theme parks, exhibition centers, hotels and more, to provide further convenience and choices to passengers.
AirPortr, the world’s first fully integrated home baggage check-in service was founded in 2014 by entrepreneur Randel Darby. AirPortr is leading a movement to change the way people travel to, and through, the airport.
Aligning with ACI’s NEXTT initiative, AirPortr allows passengers to check their baggage from anywhere, leaving the stress of airport queues behind. Courteous and fully vetted drivers will come to you, collect your baggage and handle the bag drop process at the airport, giving passengers peace of mind and a hassle-free airport experience. CASE STUDIES AirPortr Allows London Passengers the Ability to Check Bags from Anywhere in the City 26 Security The service was successfully launched in 2016 in partnership with British Airways. More recently, American Airlines, Finnair and easyJet have joined the growing digital platform. Passengers choose from a one- or three-hour window for a fully vetted driver to collect their baggage from any location within London and the surrounding areas. The AirPortr driver then checks these in on the passenger’s behalf, allowing them to travel bag-free to the airport, skip the queues and head straight to security, where they will collect their baggage at the baggage carousel.
AirPortr Executive Vice President Paul Mewett says: “At AirPortr, we are committed to revolutionizing the way airport systems operate and improving passenger satisfaction through bagless and stress-free travel. This is perfectly aligned with the NEXTT vision to bring suitable operations off-airport, benefitting not only passengers, but also airports and airlines by streamlining their baggage processes. With powerful and innovative technology, AirPortr successfully promotes a modal shift towards public transport to the airport and demonstrates the peak of innovation within the current private sector.”