The shortlists for the FTE Airline and Airport Pioneer Awards 2022 have been unveiled. Three airlines and three airports will be crowned the winners for their outstanding efforts to transform the passenger experience and define the future of the industry, by tapping into new areas such as the metaverse, NFTs, parallel reality, new cabin designs and new sustainable energy resources. The presentation ceremony will take place during the FTE Global 2022 networking reception in Las Vegas on Thursday 8 September. You can register to attend here
FTE Airport Pioneer Awards nominees:
Miami International Airport – biometric boarding at all gates
Miami International Airport (MIA) has been nominated for its efforts to implement biometric boarding at over 130 gates throughout the airport. Installation is expected to be fully completed in 2023. When finished, the project will be the largest implementation of biometric technology at any U.S. airport. Using SITA’s Smart Path solution, which leverages NEC’s biometric identity platform, passengers will simply step up to a camera at the boarding gate and their picture is used to confirm their identities and their authorisation to travel within seconds. MIA is now the busiest U.S. airport for international travel and biometric boarding is one of the major steps the airport is taking to pave the way for additional growth in the years to come.
Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC) – metaverse airport
Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC) has been nominated for the development of the first metaverse airport. The virtual airport, hosted on the Roblox global metaverse platform, has been designed to help passengers plan their travel post-COVID-19 and be well informed on how to check-in more efficiently using Incheon Airport’s smart check-in processes including self check-in, self bag drop, off-airport check-in, and OneID Smart Pass.
Edmonton International Airport – hydrogen infrastructure in Canada
Edmonton International Airport (EIA) has been nominated for its recent partnership with ZeroAvia to develop the hydrogen infrastructure required for delivering zero-emission flights and decarbonising ground operations. EIA will work with ZeroAvia to develop hydrogen infrastructure at both the main airport and Villeneuve Airport. The partnership targets exploring the use of hydrogen for decarbonisation of aircraft operations, and also the wider airport ecosystem. The collaboration will see EIA and ZeroAvia first conduct a pilot programme which will fuel a demonstrator aircraft and other operations with the deployed hydrogen ecosystem. The next step will entail working towards establishing some of the world’s first commercial routes. The partnership expands on an already impressive set of sustainability initiatives at EIA, including the construction of the world’s largest solar farm at an airport set to begin construction in late 2022.
Vancouver Airport Authority – digital twin platform
Vancouver Airport Authority (YVR) became the first airport to launch a digital twin platform. The digital twin aims to improve the passenger experience and lead innovation outside the airport’s core aviation business, becoming the region’s “Gateway to the New Economy”. The digital twin platform is a virtual, real-time interactive representation of YVR’s terminal and airfield. It’s a digital tool that visualises data, facilitating training, optimisation, future planning, simulation, testing, and more. By integrating sensors, along with historical and real-time data into the platform, the digital twin can present key information through 2D or 3D visualisation, enabling data-driven decision-making and collaboration.
iGA Istanbul Airport – AR and metaverse experience
iGA Istanbul Airport has been nominated for its artificial intelligence and metaverse exploration efforts. Aiming to transform the time spent at Istanbul Airport, iGA introduced a new service featuring Augmented Reality (AR) technology, providing passengers with information about the airport’s retail outlets by accompanying them around the International Terminal shopping area. The AR technology allows users to see objects virtually and in 3D providing an interactive real-world environment. The airport has created a virtual character, called CİGA, which accompanies the passengers on their route, providing information about the stores and offers passengers special deals and discount codes at member stores. The airport is also tapping into the metaverse by creating a metaverse environment, which is a replica of its “Youth Lounge”.
FTE Airline Pioneer Awards nominees:
Delta Air Lines – PARALLEL REALITY technology
Delta Air Lines has been nominated for its pioneering PARALLEL REALITY experience, which is now live for departing and connecting Delta customers at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. The PARALLEL REALITY display allows up to 100 customers to each see their personalised flight information on a single digital screen – at the same time. Each customer who opts in can see only their flight information. This cutting-edge technology helps create a more streamlined and personalised airport experience for customers, allowing them to navigate the airport with ease and eliminating the need to search for their specific flight among rows on a departure board.
Qatar Airways – QVerse and world’s first MetaHuman Cabin Crew
Qatar Airways’ QVerse, a novel virtual reality (VR) experience for visitors to the airline’s website, is a worthy nominee in the FTE Airline Pioneer Awards. The experience allows users to virtually tour and navigate the Premium check-in area at Hamad International Airport (HIA), the cabin interior of the airline’s aircraft, including the award-winning Business Class, Qsuite, and the Economy Class cabin, by using their own personal electronic devices. The carrier also became the first global airline to introduce a MetaHuman cabin crew offering a digital interactive customer experience. The experience was developed using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, the world’s most advanced real-time 3D creation tool, and MetaHuman Creator, a cloud-based app for creating high-fidelity digital humans. The 3D human model named ‘Sama’ offers an interactive customer experience through engagement with the user, taking them on a virtual journey of discovery, while presenting the unique features in both the Business and Economy Class cabins.
Alaska Airlines – first U.S. airline to launch electronic bag tag programme
Alaska Airlines is poised to become the first U.S. airline to launch an electronic bag tag programme later this year. The innovative electronic bag tags will allow guests to skip the step of printing traditional bag tags upon arrival at the airport. Instead, guests will be able to activate the devices from anywhere – their home, office or car – up to 24-hours before their flight using the Alaska Airlines mobile app. The activation is done by simply touching the phone used for check-in to the electronic bag tag, which has an antenna that powers and reads the information transmitted from the phone. The e-paper bag tag’s screen will then display the guest’s flight information. The programme will modernise the check-in process and provide a more sustainable option for travellers.
Air Europa – world’s first NFT flight ticket series
Air Europa has been nominated for becoming the first airline to adopt blockchain technology for inventory management and distribution. The airline launched a partnership with block-chain distribution company TravelX to release the world’s first NFT flight ticket series, called NFTickets. With purchase, owners will receive access to a special Air Europa flight to Miami Beach on 29 November 2022, as well as perks and events ahead of the premier art show of the Americas taking place in Miami Beach this December. The first Air Europa NFTicket collectible artwork sold for over $1 million.
Air New Zealand – new B787 Dreamliner cabin innovations
Air New Zealand has made it to the shortlist with the introduction of its new B787 Dreamliners, due to arrive in 2024, designed to give customers more choice and provide the best sleep in the sky regardless of the cabin customers choose to fly in. Dubbed the “cabin of possibility”, the new experience has been driven by innovation from nose to tail. For Economy customers, the Skynest concept, first announced in 2020, will be a world-first. The new Dreamliners will also offer a new Business Premier Luxe suite and a new Business Premier seat. The airline has also added a Sky Pantry to the Premium Economy and Economy cabins, so customers can stretch their legs, grab a bite to eat and hydrate at their leisure throughout their journey. Sustainability has been at the heart of the design process. Using modern fabrics, rather than leather, has saved around one kilogram in weight per Business Premier and Premium Economy seat, reducing overall carbon emissions. In Premium cabins, the airline will also switch to serviceware that is 20% lighter, helping to reduce carbon emissions, and in Economy, the new serviceware will reduce plastic dishes used inflight by 28 million every year.Register for FTE Global 2022 today >>