As airline passenger numbers have surged past pre-pandemic levels, airports around the world have expanded and improved their security measures, dedicating resources to ensure smoother processes and close gaps.
The entire aviation industry has played a crucial role in maintaining airport security, as evolving threats continue to shape the current and future framework of airport security globally. By 2030, the use of data, new technologies and processes is expected to alleviate much of the stress that passengers currently endure at checkpoints.
Airport security is continually improved through broader collaborative relationships with governments, aviation regulators and airport operators. Risk assessments are being conducted in advance and detection technologies are becoming more discreet and decentralized, occurring primarily at boarding gates or along airport corridors rather than in a central location.
Experts believe that the foundation for aviation security in 2030 is already laid, but there are still issues to be resolved and standards to be determined for successful product design. Facial recognition and biometrics are expected to become integral parts of aviation security infrastructure. Improvements and expansions to airport security are crucial to accommodate the smoother movement of approximately seven billion air passengers by 2030.
According to officials of the Airports Council International (ACI-World).
Technologies are adapting to newer and emerging security environments, and crucial data is shared throughout the passenger journey to address threats such as cybercrime and explosive devices, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The world’s leading experts and officials will discuss the present and future of aviation and airport security during their participation at the upcoming Airport Show in Dubai in May. Its objective is to recommend measures to fill gaps and improve systems and procedures. The 23rd edition of airport showalong with its shared events Air Traffic Control (ATC) Forum, Middle East Airport Security and Global Airport Leaders Forum (GALF), will take place over three days from May 14 to 16. The highly anticipated event will bring together the world’s leading service providers and airport suppliers, as well as aviation leaders and regional decision makers to showcase the latest innovations and technologies. This year’s theme, Sustainability and Innovation, reflects the airport industry’s focus on adopting cutting-edge technology and greener initiatives to drive growth and efficiency.
Thani Alzaffin, CEO of Emaratech Group, stated that as airports face increasing passenger volumes, changing regulations and the need to improve competitiveness, his company is at the forefront of addressing these challenges. With innovative IT solutions and advanced technologies, they enable airports to strengthen security, efficiency and protective measures. Its next-generation solutions, such as biometric identification and artificial intelligence, contribute significantly to modernizing airport security.
In the field of smart travel, the company has played an important role in pioneering advances, particularly in collaboration with the General Directorate of Residence and Foreign Affairs-Dubai (GDRFA-Dubai), Emirates Airlinesand Dubai airports. It provides for a customer-centric experience achieved through an integrated and highly secure process that seamlessly encompasses all airport touchpoints.
He said the future of travel largely depends on the transformative power of biometric technology and contactless passenger experiences. These innovations are designed to reshape the air travel landscape, offering numerous benefits to all stakeholders, especially when these seamless processes are introduced across countries. From the perspective of airports and aviation authorities, the new experience is immensely promising.
According to industry experts, airport security is a complex and crucial aspect of the Middle East region’s aviation infrastructure. Given the geopolitical situation and heightened security concerns, airports have been prioritizing strict security measures covering passenger and baggage screening, access control, surveillance systems and collaboration. Middle East airports are at the forefront of implementing advanced technologies such as biometric scanning, explosive detection systems and artificial intelligence-based surveillance to improve security. In addition, strict regulations apply and airports and airlines comply with international safety standards.
The global airport security market size is expected to reach $26 billion by 2030, according to a research report published by Spherical insights consulting. He says the Middle East airport security market faces unique security challenges mainly due to the complex geopolitical factors prevailing in the region. These challenges significantly impact the way airports approach and implement security measures given their proximity to active conflict zones.
Middle East airports are employing a combination of methods, including physical inspections and advanced technology. Passengers are screened using metal detectors, full-body scanners and explosive trace detection machines. Additionally, carry-on luggage and personal items undergo x-ray scans to identify prohibited or potentially dangerous items. In some cases, passengers may also undergo secondary screening based on behavioral profiling or random selection, ensuring a thorough assessment of potential risks.
Airports in the Middle East use state-of-the-art baggage screening systems that use X-rays and computed tomography (CT) scans to create detailed images of the contents of checked baggage. These technologies help security personnel identify any suspicious or prohibited items, including explosives, weapons or contraband. Automated systems also flag anomalies for later inspection. Trained staff meticulously examine marked items, ensuring nothing poses a security threat before allowing luggage to board the plane.
They are at the forefront of adopting advanced security technologies to improve security. Biometric systems such as facial recognition and iris scanning are increasingly used for identity verification and access control, streamlining passenger journeys while ensuring security. Additionally, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) algorithms are implemented to analyze passenger behavior and detect anomalies that may indicate potential threats.
Explosive Detection Systems (EDS) are widely used to identify explosive materials in checked baggage. These systems use sophisticated algorithms to analyze X-ray images and detect traces of explosives, providing an additional layer of security.
Additionally, Middle East airports are investing in surveillance technologies, including high-definition CCTV cameras and video analytics, to monitor the activities of passengers and staff on airport premises. Real-time intelligence sharing has enabled airports to proactively respond to potential threats and adjust security measures accordingly.
The region’s airports also benefit from access to cutting-edge equipment and systems that improve inspection processes and security outcomes. They have aligned their security protocols with internationally recognized guidelines, ensuring consistency and compatibility with airports around the world. Biometric systems, including facial recognition, iris scanning and fingerprint recognition, are being widely adopted at airports in the Middle East.
These technologies provide secure and efficient methods for verifying passenger identity at various touchpoints, such as check-in, security checkpoints and boarding gates. Passengers can move seamlessly through the airport, reducing waiting times and improving overall comfort, while ensuring the highest levels of security.
Speaking of travel trends until 2050, a Oliver Wyman The analysis says that by 2040 more than 19 billion passengers will pass through global airports each year, and the global commercial aviation fleet will expand by 33 percent, to more than 36,000 aircraft by 2033. It noted:
“Airports will be the main drivers of change across the industry, while they themselves transform in the process. After all, airports are where air travel begins and ends. In the future, the passenger experience will be personalized, on-demand, contactless and efficient. “The digitization of airports will enable a personalized end-to-end journey through the airport and create new commercial and retail revenue opportunities.”
The transformation of passenger processing will drive a significant change in the internal design of airport terminals, where the future demarcation line between the air zone and the land zone is expected to be very different from the current one.
“Reducing check-in counters and security queues will provide new opportunities for retail and relaxation spaces in the terminals. By 2030, the expectation is that the integration of new technologies will allow airports to provide passengers with personalized and on-demand services to improve their airport experience.”
the survey added.
For passengers, contactless digital travel ID cards can replace paper passports by 2040, the year in which the travel hub will have an open airport architecture, with a physical and software design interface that will allow security and contactless billing, he said. By 2050, processes within airports will be fully autonomous, increasing the speed and quality of activities from security to immigration and boarding.
Thanks to the coordinated efforts of governments and regulatory bodies, there is a possibility of having an internationally recognized digital identity for all passengers by 2050. By that year, it can be assumed that robots and automation will have taken over most of the functions current at airports. Queue-free terminals will be a reality by 2050, with personalized and pre-planned processes creating a seamless journey from home to destination and back. Passengers will use their travel and airport devices or apps to control every aspect of their trip and experience. Remote processing and single processing modules that may be available during airport transit time will simplify boarding and security procedures.
News source: Emirates News Agency