Western Sydney Airport (WSA) and its surrounding region is at risk of becoming obsolete without the use of ICT and digital technologies to enhance user experience, according to a new report from Arcadis.

The report, Western Sydney Airport: creating a smart, citizen-centric airport, discusses how WSA provides a unique opportunity to create a seamless, citizen-focused airport using emerging technologies and infrastructure. Getting the planning and design right will ensure that WSA becomes the centrepiece of an interconnected smart city region, according to the report.

“As a capital intensive, nationally significant investment, WSA has the significant benefit of being a greenfield airport,” says Greg Harrison, business leader advisory and sustainability Asia Pacific, Arcadis.

“[However] the risk of not doing it right is that we create a bland, uncompetitive airport that quickly becomes outdated, disconnected and passenger unfriendly. A lot of people have been talking about the aerotropolis but the conversation really needs to now move onto delivering a customer-focused technology roadmap and how we can create a seamless and interconnected smart airport region.

“Can WSA harness and fully exploit the power of new technologies in an era of hyper-personalisation to deliver an interactive, inspiring and personalised experience?”

Examples cited in the report include the baggage drop-off system in Hong Kong, where travellers can check-in their baggage at the train station and then pick it up at their final trip destination.

“WSA has the opportunity to set the benchmark for smart airport regions around the world. Not only in terms of the application of digital technology but also getting the sustainability equation right,” says Harrison.