About 90 attendees followed the invitation from GATE alliance to the Fraport Forum to join the dialogue of the airport industry. In addition to a fascinating keynote and a lively panel-discussion, the event offered time and opportunity to gather new impulses and establish new contacts in a relaxed atmosphere.
Where the airports lead the passenger and vice versa
The alliance’s president, Dieter A. Heinz used his opening speech to point out the needs and demands passengers have towards an airport. Combined with future technologies and the airports’ economic interests this results in the suspenseful question, where this journey will – literally – lead us?
A first insight into a terminal building of the future was given by Dr. Ulrich Kipper, Senior Vice President Infrastructure Management at Fraport AG. Preparations for the construction of the new Terminal 3 have already been started and are partly based on newest findings about airport visitor-flow and how to control it. The resulting consumption-oriented concept will be supplemented by intuitive guidance-systems, a flexible Check-in area, light and air conditioning concepts for added comfort and app-based service offerings. An animated movie provided a first view around the new building and was an ideal starting point for the following panel-discussion.
The lively discussion about passenger and airport requirements was once again moderated by Aimée-Desirée Bauer. The panel was joined by Roland H. Schwarz (Vice President Airport Infrastructure – Airport Facilities & Area Services, Fraport AG), Marco Atzberger from the EHI Retail Institut, frequent flyer Martin Marschner (Leiter Aviation, Drees und Sommer GmbH) and Prof. Peter Sachsenmeier (Management, IMAG Information Management AG) who brought in a research perspective from his work with innovative intelligent light-systems. The group discussed contrasts on different levels: Business- versus leisure traveller, land- versus air-side, shopping versus wellness and fast dispatch versus longer dwelling times.
The audience participated with numerous questions, ideas and wishes concerning the airports’ future offering for the passenger. These ranged from dedicated nap-areas on the air-side for business travellers to adventure and education opportunities for children.
In the end the panel agreed that the passenger has to be in the focus evermore. Using state-of-the-art technology allows to meet increasingly individual needs, a trend that will continue in the coming years. Ultimately it also applies to the airports: the happier the customer, the better the operating results. In Frankfurt many of those new ways are incorporated in the new Terminal 3, but the door is still open for more in the future.
Publication in the August / September 2015 issue of the airport magazine www.airportsinternational.com