Watch as Sergio Colella, President of Europe at SITA, discusses biometrics, traffic numbers and new technology as aviation battles back from Covid.

Sergio Colella, the President of Europe at SITA, has warned that the key area of aviation’s recovery from the global pandemic will be the management of health data.

In a video interview with Airports International, which you can watch above, he said that the effects of getting this wrong could have a detrimental effect on the passenger experience. “The key area is the management of the health data,” he said. “If we don’t do that well, we will face the risk of long queues and waiting times. We see that there are many different requirements from each country, such as paper and digital, and also if PCR tests aren’t managed properly there is a risk of fraud. We have a good level of preparation but automation will be key.”

Technology, he said, will play a pivotal role. “It’s about biometrics and mobility. Your face becomes your boarding pass, so the passenger experience is facilitated by that. Your smartphone becomes your remote control. You get all the information on your phone, such as your health passport, vaccination and tests. These elements increase satisfaction and trust.”

Colella also reported a rise in domestic traffic numbers. “The overall capacity is 56 per cent of the total capacity that we had at start of 2020, domestic travel is at 60 per cent, China and the Middle East are up significantly. We will continue to see long haul being impacted most, but airports need to be prepared for a possible surge in the number of passengers. However, we will not see the levels of 2019 for a little while, although we are expecting an increase in Europe for the summer season.”

While the summer will inevitably fuel any increase in air travel, Colella admitted that business travel is expected to lag behind. “We believe that will take longer to come back,” he said. “Covid has been an effective digital agent, and it has demonstrated that some business meetings can be held virtually. Also, all economies have been hit pretty significantly. Business travel is a cost that will be scrutinised, so this traffic will follow a slightly different path.”