Having become the first airport in India to receive Baggage Improvement Programme certification from IATA in August this year, Bangalore International Airport is now seeking to expand its self-service capabilities.
Ever since its opening in May 2008, the airport has shown a willingness to embrace self-service, as is highlighted by its utilisation of Common Use Self-Service (CUSS), and even though the uptake of self-service among passengers in India has lagged behind many other countries, Sridhar.C.K, Senior Manager – Terminal Operations, Bangalore International Airport Limited, explained that the expansion of self-service is very much a priority.
“We are open to any new technology at Bangalore Airport if it really enhances the passenger experience,” he said. “There are a lot of plans for the expansion of self-service. We are having discussions with the airlines, in fact.” Among the capabilities being explored, he explained, are self-service bag drop and self-tagging.
As passenger numbers continue to increase sharply in India, passenger expectations are also on the rise. “Demand is high and it’s increasing very fast,” Sridhar continued. “Most people from India have started moving away from the country for business. They have experienced many airports, the new technology out there and the passenger experiences out there, so obviously we are also getting plugged in to this kind of experience. We will be looking into that and we’ll be initiating those kind of passenger touch points.”
A vital way of ensuring a high level of service to the passenger is to “decongest the airport” and one avenue that is being explored is to add more CUSS kiosks to the existing 18 to move more passengers away from the check-in counters to further reduce queues and increase efficiency. As well as allowing passengers to print off their own boarding pass at the kiosk, Sridhar explained that self-printing of bag tags may also be offered in the near term, while also outlining that “we are open for mobile check-in”.
Although self-service in the airport environment in India and the wider region has, up until now, been modest in comparison to other parts of the world, Bangalore International Airport’s willingness to embrace it, along with the more open-minded, modern passenger, suggests that the foundations are indeed being laid for a self-service revolution in India.