Hamad International Airport begins second phase of its Smart Airport programme


The second phase of Hamad International Airport’s Smart Airport programme will see a major digital transformation of the passenger journey through facial biometric recognition across all key passenger touchpoints.

Hamad International Airport (HIA) has launched the second phase of its innovative Smart Airport programme, which will see a major digital transformation of the passenger journey through facial biometric recognition across all key passenger touchpoints.

The system, which is currently under trial, is a central piece of the airport’s digital strategy and combines passengers’ flight, passport and facial biometric information in a single electronic record at the self-service check-in kiosk or mobile app.

Subsequently, only the passenger’s face is required for verification at the self-service bag-drop, automated security gate and the automated boarding gate, making the experience fast and seamless. Knowledge of exactly where the passengers are in their journey at the airport will also help further improve the on-time performance at HIA.

According to the airport, the successful completion of the first major phase of HIA’s Smart Airport programme has proven to be extremely popular, with up to 40% of Qatar Airways’ passengers preferring to self-check-in, and a further 20% opting for self-bag-drop. The swift process vastly improves customer experience and allows more passengers to be managed without physical expansion of the check-in facilities. It also empowers HIA’s passengers by offering total control of their journey from arrival to departure.

Engr. Badr Mohammed Al Meer, Chief Operating Officer at HIA, stated: “In line with our vision and strategic plan, we continue to invest in customer-centric innovative technology to provide fast, seamless and enjoyable travel experience to be the airport of choice for our discerning customers. Our approach to identity management is unique and holistic, in that we foresee wide-scale deployment of biometric capability across both mandated and voluntary passenger touchpoints while addressing customer data privacy concerns in line with relevant local and international regulations.”

HIA’s Smart Airport programme is helping optimise operational processes and utilisation of resources and assets at the airport. For instance, the Service Delivery Measurement system enables real-time monitoring of passenger wait times, thus allowing tactical decisions to recover service levels by deploying additional resources when the wait time exceeds targets. The performance trends also help inform design decisions for future terminal capacity and passenger flows, a benefit to HIA as it begins the next phase of its expansion plan this year.

Another example is the airport’s ongoing implementation of an Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM) platform. Once fully operational, this platform will enable more effective collaboration between all airport stakeholders to optimise flight turnaround processes, further improving HIA’s efficiency and on-time performance.