How SFO Airport's Digital Revolution Transformed Air Travel

SFO Airport's Iyad Hindiyeh on Enhancing Travel Experiences With Digital Innovation
Iyad Hindiyeh, chief digital transformation officer (CDTO), San Francisco International Airport

Post the COVID-19 pandemic, air travel surged, prompting a demand for enhanced airport services. In February 2022, the San Francisco International Airport or SFO relaunched its TaxiVQ app. The in-house developed app enables taxi drivers to reserve a spot in a virtual queue at SFO. The airport is increasingly employing digital technologies to enhance passenger experiences from departure to arrival.

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"We would like to look at [the experience] from keyboard-to-door versus curb-to-gate. This shows the amount of digitalization that is required to be able to provide such a service," said Iyad Hindiyeh, chief digital transformation officer (CDTO), SFO.

Nearly every aspect of the airport journey is now digitized, from flight bookings to on-site hotel reservations, ground transportation, lounge access and shopping. Baggage handling and aircraft guidance systems for approach and takeoff are also being digitized, Hindiyeh said.

"We are the first U.S. airport to introduce the individual carrier system or ICS for baggage handling. It ensures that the bags remain in a single transport tote from drop off to cargo load in," he said.

The ICS has reduced system time for arrival bags to as low as four and a half minutes, significantly reducing bag jams. The ICS also received TSA approval for a much-improved checked baggage resolution area or CBRA operation and has eliminated Level 3 re-screening.

In this video interview with ISMG, Hindiyeh also discussed:

  • Post-pandemic digital trends in air travel;
  • TaxiVQ app and other digital innovations at SFO airport;
  • Enhancing cybersecurity at airports.

Hindiyeh is an aviation expert with more than two decades of experience in the industry. Previously, he served organizations such as SITA, IATA, Smartworld, Amadeus, and Pangiam Technologies.

About the Author

Brian Pereira

Brian Pereira

Sr. Director - Editorial, ISMG

Pereira has nearly three decades of journalism experience. He is the former editor of CHIP, InformationWeek and CISO MAG. He has also written for The Times of India and The Indian Express.

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