Airport 4.0 - Opportunities, Challenges and Risks of Digitization of Airports and Impact on Airline Management Practices

The fourth industrial revolution challenges the Air Transport industry, including airports and airlines, to adopt new standards to increase productivity and save resources through IoT platforms.  Engineers and technicians need new skills to make the transition and to transform airports into I4.0 facilities.  This VIP project exposes students to contemporary topics and future trends in airport digitization and related industries fostering the development of their leadership and entrepreneurial skills and enhancing their employability and potential for initiating startups.

Digital solutions for airport operations aim to enhance commercial and technical efficiency. Digital transformations have different stakeholders, such as airlines, ground handling, duty free shops, restaurants, and other service providers.  They span different platforms including websites, smart phones, GUIs, and digital screens, leveraging diverse technologies, such as biometric check-in, thermal scanners, and other smart phone applications.

Airport 4.0 systems encompass equipment and devices used throughout the passenger, baggage, and aircraft journey.  These devices are transformed into cyber-physical systems with capabilities to autonomously make decisions based on data collected via cloud-based IoT platforms. 

This VIP project serves as a comprehensive umbrella for many potential future-focused projects.  Initially, the project prioritizes the integration of digital technologies and process innovations to enhance the travel experience through digitization and data science, with a specific emphasis on passenger handling within airport terminals. 

Presently, airports are introducing technology to expedite processing, enhance safety, and improve efficiency for passengers across various stages of their journey. However, existing knowledge on innovation to enrich the passenger experience remains limited. The primary focus of this project is to advance knowledge in this area and equip our graduates with the requisite skills for navigating the transition to a digitalized world, thereby transforming airports into Industry 4.0 facilities. The project will continue to expand in various directions, with diverse focuses falling under the umbrella of Airport 4.0.

Digital initiatives encompass more than just the implementation or development of new technologies. Another key aspect of this project involves addressing the softer facets of the digitization process, including cultural, legal, security, and organizational considerations. Furthermore, the project is concerned with quantifying the economic impacts of digital initiatives and mitigating the associated risks.

Desired Disciplines

The project is multi disciplinary and needs students from different academic background to work on it.  In particular, students from the following disciplines and with the following skillset are needed:

Team Leader