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Incheon Airport vows to go digital for more convenient services

By Kim Hae-yeon

Published : Dec. 20, 2023 - 15:46

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Travelers are seen in the Incheon Airport international boarding area, Nov. 14. (Newsis) Travelers are seen in the Incheon Airport international boarding area, Nov. 14. (Newsis)

The Incheon International Airport Corporation has unveiled its vision for the upcoming year, aiming to further digitalize the airport's systems and services for the convenience of passengers.

"We have designated 2024 as Incheon Airport's year of digital transformation," Incheon International Airport Corp. CEO Lee Hag-jae said during a press conference held at the airport, on Wednesday. "Our objective is to integrate cutting-edge technology into airport services at both the micro and macro levels to provide passengers with differentiated services."

Specifically, the corporation announced plans to enhance aviation security through big data-based predictions, expand off-airport check-ins and implement smart security search sites, all contributing to an overall transition to a "digital airport." The airport will also collaborate with duty-free shops to introduce smart duty-free services during the second half of 2024, allowing passengers to pick up pre-purchased items directly from the store instead of having to visit departure pick-up desks.

This year, the corporation led two pilot digital projects. The smart pass, implemented in July, enables passengers to move through departure and boarding areas without showing their passport or boarding pass. A self-driving shuttle was also demonstrated in November.

The airport's digital transformation for next year will focus on meeting four key elements: sustainability, operational efficiency, productivity and passenger experience. With these priorities in mind, the airport plans to strengthen 24-hour public transport connectivity by diversifying rail transportation, including securing GTX-D routes and expanding late-night bus operations.

The CEO underscored that digital transformation is a continuous, interconnected process rather than a one-time project, and the airport is committed to advancing in this direction.

Meanwhile, Incheon Airport has collaborated with Lotte Global Logistics to introduce an "easy-drop" service, set to launch on Dec. 29. The service enables passengers to check in their baggage in advance at key locations in Seoul -- beginning with a hotel in Hongdae -- for a time-saving travel experience.

In terms of operations, Incheon Airport reported a 97.3 percent on-year increase in aircraft operations this year, accommodating approximately 56 million passengers -- a 213.1 percent on-year surge, in line with the global easing of pandemic travel restrictions.