Contactless travel drives digitisation of global airlines, says Ethiopian Airlines CEO at Dubai Expo 2020

Digitisation of the travel industry has become a necessity
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The desire for contactless travel as a COVID-19 precautionary measure has driven the digitisation of airlines worldwide, the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines said at the Travel and Connectivity Business Forum at Expo Dubai 2020.

Tewolde GebreMariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, said, "As we have all observed, COVID-19 has promoted the need for more digitisation, contactless travel and more digital solutions. There was some hesitation on the passenger side, on the consumer side, before COVID. But now, the momentum is mutual on both the airline side and the customer side. Contactless travel is now not only required by airlines and passengers, but also by all stakeholders because it promotes biosafety and biosecurity."

"Everyone wants to be safe. So, as much as possible, the industry is promoting full contactless travel, and I would say the industry is doing a good job. New solutions are coming in that promote contactless travel, not only between the airline and passengers, but also during immigration, with airport authorities, etc."

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Digitisation of the travel industry has become a necessity and makes business more efficient, less costly and more convenient and comfortable for customers, GebreMariam said.

As the pandemic continues to disrupt global travel, countries must react in a coordinated rather than fragmented manner in addressing the challenges that arise as a result, the Ethiopian Airlines CEO said, while predicting that biosecurity and digitisation will remain the airline industry's number one priority in 2022.

GebreMariam said, "Biosecurity and biosecurity will be a priority for the airline industry to ensure that passengers are safe at the airport, passengers are safe on flights and passengers remain safe throughout the travel chain in the entire ecosystem. But airlines know that they cannot achieve this call alone. They need stakeholders on board, particularly in various governments and airports, and all stakeholders around the airport.

The Travel & Connectivity Business Forum, held at the Dubai Exhibition Centre, Expo 2020 Dubai, is part of Expo's Travel & Connectivity Week. The themed week, which runs until 15 January and is the sixth of Expo's 10 Thematic Weeks of the People and Planet Programme, aims to address how digitalisation and connectivity can be harnessed to foster greater trade and integration between nations and citizens of the world.

Text, photos and video: Expo Dubai 2020.