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#BizTrends2022: 6 tech trends that will shake up the aviation sector

2022 will be a year of fast and slow, bumpy and smooth as countries begin to welcome back travellers and start to rapidly rebuild destinations post-pandemic. It's no secret that digital transformation is in full swing: the pandemic has triggered a surge of technological advancements ranging from vaccine passports to contactless technologies that will influence the aviation and travel industry into 2022 and beyond.
CIO of Comair, Avsharn Bachoo
CIO of Comair, Avsharn Bachoo

1. Vaccine passport: ticket to the world

The pace of vaccine rollouts, testing requirements and quarantines vary across the world and will directly influence travel patterns. While the aviation and travel industry has no control over these factors, it is certain that countries will require proof of vaccination upon entry.

To support this process, airlines will likely include digital vaccine passports within their consumer-facing apps. These passports will help travellers convey proof of their vaccines or covid tests to governments, borderline authorities or to the airlines themselves.

2. If you want to go far, go together: the rise of the super app

The growth of the super app will strongly influence the aviation industry. A super app is a mobile-first marketplace of products, services and offerings, integrating in-house and third-party solutions to provide travellers with a seamless experience.

Travel isn’t just flying - it includes your hotel, car hire, extra baggage, as well as flexible payment options such as crypto or loyalty points. 2022 will see advanced integration of airline APIs into partner super apps, a trend that will only accelerate as we move past the pandemic.

3. Can’t touch this: going contactless

Contactless travel experience in airports has already been in progress for several years, but the pandemic has rapidly accelerated adoption.

2022 will expedite the end-to-end contactless experience throughout the entire journey ­– from check-in and security processes to the way that travellers pay for ancillary services at the airport terminal, as well as the way they board the plane and interact with inflight entertainment systems onboard.

4. Anywhere, anytime, anyplace

It has become common for travellers to find out just hours before their flights that plans have changed due to travel restrictions, flight cancellations or sudden illnesses.

Airlines will offer far more flexibility to amendments and refunds where travellers can confidently book travel without being penalised if things go awry.

Airlines will further communicate with their customers in real-time through personalised support such as chatbots in their mobile apps.

Travellers will seek expert guidance for every step of their trip, for instance, where and when to avoid crowds or where mandates are in place for restaurants in their destination city.

5. Bleisure the future of business travel

Bleisure is simply the practice of combining business and leisure travel into one trip. It’s a nomadic hybrid behaviour that is growing in popularity as the pandemic has allowed people to work from home and has now completely blurred the boundaries between work and play, professional and personal, career and downtime.

6. Into the metaverse and beyond

The metaverse is here – but what is it and what does it mean for this industry? Simply put, it's a digital space where people, using their avatars, can socialise by meeting, dancing or attending live virtual concerts. They can buy virtual possessions like outfits, cars or houses, and can even travel to different virtual destinations with their virtual airline tickets. 2022 will see consumer trends and business opportunities emerge as the metaverse takes shape.

Blended virtual and physical experiences are already revolutionising the travel industry. Digital-twin destinations and augmented travel experiences are paving the way for the next travel frontier, one that is intuitive, immersive and engaging. With these blurred reality experiences, you can start your visit to your dream destination like the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty or the pyramids of Giza with a virtual history lesson, concluded with the actual physical experience. These technologies help travellers research a destination more thoroughly, providing confidence with trip planning.

After almost two years of uncertainty, travellers are starting to dream again as they see light on the horizon. There remains limitless opportunity to empower travellers and drive true exploration through technology.

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