The digital habits of Danes account for Copenhagen Airport’s drive to introduce new technologies to improve the journey and to make airport operations more efficient.
In a recent announcement about its recognition as Europe’s most efficient airport by analysts at the Air Transport Research Society (ATRS), Copenhagen Airport CEO Thomas Woldbye credited the Danish digital culture for setting a high bar.
“The fact that the Danes are so digital has meant that we’ve been able to develop digital possibilities better than many of our airport colleagues around Europe.”
Danes now primarily bank online or on their mobile devices. They rarely use cash and pay with NFC cards or use Mobile Pay even for small purchases. Mobile Pay is available as a payment option on many consumer retail websites.
Most consumer goods, over-the-counter pharmacy items, and groceries can be ordered online or via mobile app for swift home delivery. Danes stream films and music at home as they hygge.
Those daily digital habits carry-over to Danes’ expectations of travel bookings and the travel experience.
Online and mobile bookings are common, as are mobile check-in and self-service options for baggage tagging and baggage drop-off.
Danes expect to “scan” their way through airport queues and border controls and into airport lounges.
Copenhagen Airport uses sensors to accurately measure queue times and publishes these at security at various locations throughout the terminal allowing passengers to decide whether they have time for a coffee or whether they should rush to get to gates.
“We slog hard every day to run an efficient and attractive airport. We achieve it by working closely with the airlines to reduce the overall cost of flying to and from Copenhagen.
"And we do that by listening to the passengers’ wishes and needs, and making it easy and fast for travelers to pass through the airport.”
The airport has also invested in digital systems to improve its communications and logistics as passenger traffic grows.
Last year, CPH introduced a new Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM) system to help coordinate the “jigsaw puzzle” of its day-to-day operations.
Describing the importance of the program, Copenhagen Airport’s chief operating officer, Kristian Durhuus says:
“The aim of the complex A-CDM collaboration is actually very simple: fewer delayed departures and more on-time arrivals.
"That benefits not just passengers, but also the airlines and the ground handling companies that are responsible for undertaking airport processes such as check-in, boarding and baggage handling on behalf of the airlines."
And says Christian Poulsen, Copenhagen Airport’s technical director:
“With A-CDM we gather all the relevant information on every single flight in a shared cloud-based IT system. This means that the airline, air traffic control, the ground handlers and the airport have continuous access to the same updated information on all flights. This will make the planning and use of resources far better — for both arrivals and departures.”
That push for operational efficiency includes fostering innovation in staff by encouraging their ideas, Woldbye explains:
“Everyone is good at taking responsibility and coming up with suggestions and ideas. We’ve introduced a system in which all employees can quickly suggest a process or area where they think digital solutions could be used to advantage.
"We then look quickly at whether it’s something that can make our work easier. If it can, we can quickly roll it out across the airport.”
The airport is committed to investing around 20 billion DKK (US$3 billion) creating capacity for 40 million passengers and an additional 55,000 take-offs and landings per year.
This includes infrastructure spending like costs of construction of extended terminal and a cross-wind runway, with an allocation of DKK 500 million for “optimization projects” which will reduce the costs of doing business at the airport through greater efficiencies, including process and digital innovations.
“We want to be an attractive airport, so we’re investing not just in building new capacity, but also in optimizing processes, introducing new technology and making things smarter.
'We’re therefore ready to invest DKK 500 million over the next four years specifically to reduce the airlines’ operational costs at CPH."