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Cranfield researches airport experience


Research Council of Norway has awarded NOK 2m NOK (just under £1m) in funding to Cranfield University’s Centre for Air Transport Management to investigate means of improving the customer experience at Norwegian airports.

The team will assess the impact of digital technologies on the passenger journey to improve the customer experience and the efficiency and effectiveness of the airports systems.  They will evaluate the door-to-door passenger journey combining different modes of ground transport and define the needs and ‘pain points’ of passengers.  The project will also look at the costs and benefits of technology implementation, and formulate decision-making processes and digital solutions to ensure more resilient airport systems.  Finally, it will identify regulatory and ethical issues and promote the ethical implementation of digital aviation technology.

The project group, led by Kristiania University College in partnership with Cranfield University, Molde University College and Avinor (the state-owned limited company that operates most of the civil airports in Norway), will receive a total of NOK 7m.  The Cranfield team, led by Dr Pere Suau-Sanchez, senior lecturer, and lecturer Dr Thomas Budd, will focus on developing measurements of digital capabilities, creating passenger surveys and focus groups and analysing the value of technology implementation to improve the well-being of passengers.  They will also develop scenarios to assess how digital technology can support in an emergency or disruption situation.

The digitalisation of transport research has traditionally provided a quantitative perspective that is systems orientated, but this project will add the key qualitative dimensions of management, organisation and passenger welfare.  It will help passengers to make time savings in their door-to-door multi-modal journeys by making use of smart technology and help airports to design terminal facilities that reduce passenger stress.

Professor Graham Braithwaite, Cranfield’s director of transport systems, commented on the award: “This is great news for the Centre for Air Transport Management.  Cranfield is internationally recognised for aviation teaching and research; it is absolutely at the heart of what we do as an institution.  The application of digital technologies into aviation is a major focus for the global aviation agenda”.

The results of the project will devise clear processes to help passengers take advantage of social media and digital technologies in case of disruptions, which is particularly relevant for weather events or industrial action.

Picture: Research Council of Norway is funding research at Cranfield University aimed at improving customer experience at the country’s airports.  (Avinor)

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