Hamad International Airport (HIA) has received the ‘Best Passenger Experience Initiative’ silver award at the Future Travel Experience (FTE) Asia Awards 2019 recently, in recognition of the second phase of its Smart Airport Program. The 5th FTE Asia Awards ceremony took place at the FTE-APEX Asia EXPO 2019 in Singapore.

HIA Wins 'Silver' at FTE Asia Awards 2019 1The FTE awards celebrate airports and airlines that have displayed true industry leadership and delivered significant improvements in the travel experience at multiple touchpoints. It recognised HIA’s continued commitment to unlocking the power of technology to deliver the airport-of-the-future. Winners were selected by a panel of industry executives from around the world.

In line with the five-star airport’s digital transformation strategy, the Smart Airport Program deploys passenger-centric innovative technologies to provide fast, seamless and enjoyable travel experience for global travellers. The second phase of the programme takes a holistic approach to identity management and lays the foundations of a wide-scale deployment of biometric capability across both mandated and voluntary passenger touch points while addressing customer data privacy concerns in line with relevant local and international regulations.

The award-winning initiative, currently under trial, combines the passengers’ flight, passport and facial biometric information in a single electronic record at the self-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.

Abdulaziz Al Mass, VP for Communication and Marketing at HIA said that the airport stays at the forefront of technology to deploy sophisticated and innovative solutions that offer an unparallel travel experience.

Fuelling the passenger experience with choice and flexibility through smart technology, automation and self-service, we solidify our position as the airport-of-choice for global travellers.’

The successful completion of the first phase of HIA’s Smart Airport Program 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 passengers by offering total control of their journey from arrival to departure.

HIA recently revealed its plans for expansion with a spectacular 10,000 sqm indoor tropical garden, a 268 sqm water feature as well as 11,720 sqm of landscaped retail and dining concepts among other leisure attractions and facilities under one expansive terminal.

HIA is undertaking an ambitious expansion programme to enhance the capacity of the terminal, as well as set a new standard in the traveller experience globally. Redefining the airport experience and enhancing our multi-dimensional offerings, the new indoor garden area will allow passengers to benefit from the calming effects of nature, whereas the seamless integration of the expansion with the existing terminal will allow smooth passenger flow, improving the overall passenger experience at Hamad International Airport.’

According to FTE Founder Daniel Coleman, it has become clear that biometrics will be a key technology in transforming the airport experience of the future for passengers, and once more, HIA has been a first mover in working to apply a new technology that will empower passengers, and help advance the industry.

The HIA Smart Airport programme is an outstanding reference project for digital transformation, and fully deserves the recognition it received at the FTE Asia Awards.’

HIA is currently a candidate for the ‘Best Airport in the World 2020’ award by Skytrax which also classified it as a five-star airport in 2017, making it one among only five other airports in the world and the only one in the Middle East to achieve this prestigious status.

The results of the Skytrax World Airport Awards will be announced in March 2020. Passengers can vote for HIA by visiting the Official Skytrax World Airport Survey website at worldairportsurvey.com.