From sleep pods to facial recognition check-in and robot assistants, we round up the latest in airport technology from the Airport Show in Dubai.

Airports have often been seen as the bottleneck in smooth passenger experience. The introduction of smart kiosks has made a difference but we still see people fumbling around for passports.

Dubai’s emaratech is looking to change all that with the introduction of its smart corridor. Passengers can simply walk through and look at the camera while they’re on the move. The system is being trialled at Dubai Airport’s Terminal 3.


Etihad Airways’ CEO, Tony Douglas, unveiled a retrofit programme for the airline’s narrow-body fleet. It includes new personalised wireless streaming entertainment to smartphone and tablet devices.

Etihad is also introducing a new and improved economy dining concept as well as adding new seats which are wider than those on wide-body aircraft. The cabins will be rolled out from August this year.

Sleep pods

Fed up with hours of layovers at hub airports? Slovenian company AirPod will have its smart napping pod in service at a European airport soon.

The AirPod has a bed and workspace away from the hustle and bustle. It can’t come soon enough for the 400 million passengers who spend time each year waiting in airports.

Robot assistant

UBTECH was showing off its robot assistant that can guide you to your flight gate, help with enquiries and even dance.

Aircraft also need guidance, and technological innovation will aid the continued transformation of the sector.

Dubai Air Navigation Services (DANS) signed an MOU with Honeywell to help drive the implementation of cutting-edge technology in aviation through connecting airside and landside data and systems to enhance capabilities.

Going green

There’s a real push in the industry to reduce carbon emissions. ITW GSE is going cleaner and greener with its new battery-driven ground power unit, which is currently being tested at an airport.

The company says its 7400 eGPU reduces Co2 emissions by 90% and NOx emissions by 95%. It can also help solve the problem facing airports when peak loads go close to the power grid’s maximum capacity. The eGPU can recharge during quiet periods, and it reduces noise levels as well as saving on operating costs.

Fast AlphaCart

We also saw a model of a new baggage cart.

Fast Global Solutions’ Fast AlphaCart is lighter, so reduces fuel use and is available in customised colour options, with room for advertising space for additional revenues.

There were plenty of bright ideas at the show – especially at the CU Phosco stand, where the company was demonstrating new apron lights.

At 160,000 lumens, a pair of the twin module lamps can illuminate a whole A380 stand.  They save on energy consumption, weigh less than existing models and have a lifespan of 50,000 hours (13 years) – even in the harsh environment of the Middle East.

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