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Technology will only get us so far, and so collaboration is key

Posted: 4 March 2020 | | 1 comment

Richard Hartshorn, Aviation Technical Director at Atkins, explores how technology will only impact an airport’s operation to a certain extent; the real benefits lie in the enhanced collaboration of an airport’s stakeholders.

Technology will only get us so far

With passenger demand set to double over the next 20 years, and many airports already experiencing peak congestion, using existing assets more efficiently is an area of immediate focus. When industry leaders discuss how we will achieve this, the response is almost always that technology will solve it.

My view is that enhanced collaboration of an airport’s stakeholders is actually the answer. Technology will only make airport businesses efficient to a certain degree; it is how the businesses work together that is often overlooked.

Collaboration within the industry

The airport is a unique operational environment: It requires many different organisations to work together. At large hub airports, this involves hundreds of companies. Heathrow, for example, states that over 400 organisations are involved in its operations. How well stakeholders operate and collaborate in this airport ecosystem will determine the passengers’ experience. Where businesses at an airport demonstrate a silo behaviour with a lack of planning and information sharing, the passenger experience will be inconsistent and ultimately frustrating. At airports delivering consistently strong passenger service levels, it is often evidenced by more mature levels of B2B integrated working. The critical element here isn’t technology, it is how organisations work together – technology should just be an enabler to make this easier. High-quality stakeholder management is key to delivering the collaboration needed for a seamless passenger experience. This requires us to listen and gather requirements on what each business and department needs. 











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This content is provided to you for free thanks to the kind support of our sponsor: Atkins

One response to “Technology will only get us so far, and so collaboration is key”

  1. Deb Helton says:

    Your main point is spot on. I believe in full integration of technology, operators, and stakeholders in the airport enterprise – to properly serve customers. Really embracing the truth, data without humans to add context will only take us so far, is key to full integration. Integration is the foundation of the profession of Emergency Management. I’ve been an Emergency Manager for 23 years – built the Emergency Management Program for DFW, welcoming the data / IT experts to the table. Getting all people to the middle is true balance and service.

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