SITA forges ahead with exciting research of off-airport traveller processing prototype with SUTD

Global IT aviation provider SITA is partnering the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) to create new offsite passenger processing solutions that would provide airline passengers with a fresh experience of checking themselves and their luggage in from almost any location – even before they arrive at the airport. 

By providing SUTD with access to its SITA Flex solution, SUTD researchers will now have the necessary technology to turn their current physical, digital, and experiential off-airport designs into workable prototypes. When fully integrated and completed, passenger processing procedures – passport scanning, luggage weighing, and printing of luggage tags and boarding passes – which are usually done at airports, will be available offsite using these prototypes.

In fact, tourists could experience a reimagined processing procedure right at their hotel room door, with their luggage being sent to the airport in advance. This will eliminate the need for them to leave their luggage with the hotel concierge should their flight depart hours after checking out of the hotel. They can simply carry on with their activities and head straight to the airport just an hour, instead of the usual two hours, before their flight departs – luggage free.

The SUTD-SITA off-airport processing project kicked off in March this year and will run for a year. As the hardware and service design requirements are ironed out and the solution takes shape, the off-airport concept will be tested for seamless integration and optimal performance with various SITA partners, including airlines, airports and ground handlers.

Singapore-based Sumesh Patel, SITA’s President for the Asia Pacific region, is upbeat about the tie-up. “This exciting partnership underscores our proactive stance when it comes to developing pioneering innovative solutions to take the air transport industry into the future. By exploring new off-airport solutions, we remain at the forefront of technology while actively meeting emerging market demands,” says Patel.

“SUTD’s designs break away from a traditional approach to off-airport touchpoints, and powering it will facilitate innovation and our ability to continually transform the passenger experience. It will also demonstrate the existing versatility of our solutions, which can be deployed both in- and off-airport and on non-SITA platforms,” explains Patel. “We will also advise on the most efficient way to reach and connect to the departure control systems of airlines, to bake in seamlessness from the start.”

The dynamic nature of the aviation industry, with its multiple moving pieces all working in sync to support the 7.8 billion passenger journeys projected by 2040, presents an ideal canvas for SUTD’s expertise.

SUTD President, Professor Chong Tow Chong, said: “We are designing the first fully integrated offsite solution to be powered by the SITA Flex solution. It will have the ability to scan passports, weigh luggage as well as print tags and boarding passes just like any in-airport check-in system but with a completely redesigned physical and digital experience – anywhere, anytime. This will reshape and elevate global air travel with greater convenience and efficiency. We look forward to validating our designs in trials with airport and airline operators, cruise centres as well as hoteliers in the months to come.”

SUTD’s work encompasses a wide range of disciplines, spanning from aviation to architecture and engineering. It has also pioneered advancements in design, education, and research, developing state-of-the-art technologies essential for seamlessly integrating digital innovations into our daily lives.



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