Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, international air travel was expected to grow to 1.8B arrivals per year by 20301. While the pandemic has undoubtedly caused an unprecedented short-term shock to the industry, growth over the long-term is still likely to occur, albeit potentially in different ways.
The pandemic has not only raised obvious health considerations that must be accounted for as part of cross-border security, but governments, airports and airlines must also consider how air travel will need to adapt to broader demographic shifts and the strain they will place on existing travel infrastructures.
Within the next decade, much of the global population will comprise of post-digital generations; those who have engaged with online technology since childhood, and actively leverage it in various ways to manage their lives. Airports and airlines will primarily be tasked with undergoing a digital transformation to improve the passenger experience for digital natives, while reducing costs. Governments, in turn, will need to adopt reliable technologies to facilitate legitimate border crossings, while identifying unlawful movements and reducing the spread of harmful pathogens.
Among the significant technologyled trends shaping the future of air travel, Digital ID enables a low-touch airport experience, improves security oversight, accelerates passenger processing and reduces resources required to manage the journey of these post-digital travellers.
1World Tourism Barometer – UNWTO (January 2017)