A major initiative is underway to transform Hamad International Airport (HIA) into a "smart airport", enabling passengers to have a speedier and hassle-free experience.
HIA said it had "commenced the testing phase of its program" to transform into a 'smart airport' by integrating best of breed technologies that would offer passengers more control and independence over their journey.
HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani, along with HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti, attended a trial session at HIA. The new technologies at the airport were demonstrated to them by Badr Mohammed al-Meer, HIA chief operating officer.
"From check-in to boarding, every step of the journey will be self-service enabled to significantly improve efficiency and reduce waiting time, facilitating fast and seamless passenger experience," a release issued by HIA said.
"Combined with the airport's complimentary Wi-Fi and the iBeacon enabled mobile app that offers way-finding and context relevant information, HIA's passengers will truly enjoy an immersive travel experience," it said.
Al-Meer said that HIA "continuously and proactively focuses on its people, processes, technology and partnerships with key stakeholders" to provide a world-class service, as recognized by the industry.
"The latest passenger processing and security technologies are either already deployed or being trialed to maintain and boost our position as one of the best airports in the world," al-Meer said.
HIA became one of the first airports to support "Home-Printed Bag Tags" (HPBT) and already provides self-service check-in. It will soon be introducing its next generation common-use self-service check-in and self-service bag drop services, which will enable passengers to check-in themselves, print their boarding pass and baggage tags, tag their bags and simply drop them off at the custom designed bag-drop system.
"These services will be continuously enhanced to offer our valued customers options such as excess baggage payment, ability to purchase upgrades and access to lounge services, in partnership with airlines," the HIA release said.
Currently, HIA has some 63 automated border control e-gates that allow enrolled nationals and permanent residents to swiftly pass through departure and arrival immigration process based on biometric and travel document verification. The airport is actively working with the government agencies concerned to extend these benefits to the large number of visitors to Qatar.
The airport is among a few in the world that are championing smart security and has ongoing trials using latest technology to optimize the security checks by speeding up the process and minimizing inconvenience to the passengers.
HIA has also successfully completed trials for self-boarding gates to expedite passenger processing.
Strategically, HIA has initiated dialogue with government authorities and other airport stakeholders to co-create a vision for the next-generation single-token based travel at the airport that would provide the ultimate experience by eliminating the need for the passengers to present the same documentation at multiple touch points.
"These technological advancements at key passenger touch points will take passenger experience at HIA to greater heights," al-Meer said.
"They will also allow the airport to be better connected to its passengers and provide need-based assistance. Several aspects of the program have already been implemented and the remaining is being trialed with phased completion planned in the near future."