ACSA seeking to improve its operations, customer experience through digitalisation

Cape Town International

Cape Town International

17th July 2023

By: Rebecca Campbell

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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The Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has highlighted its plans to digitalise its operations, to increase efficiency and improve the experience of the passengers using its airports. The State-owned company owns nine airports, namely OR Tambo International (Johannesburg), Cape Town International, King Shaka International (Durban), Bram Fischer International (Bloemfontein), Chief Dawid Stuurman International (Port Elizabeth), Upington International, King Phalo (East London), George, and Kimberley, airports.

“We are currently busy with a number of initiatives that will harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics to drive self-service functionality through various touchpoints at ACSA’s airports,” reported group chief information officer Mthokozisi Mncwabe. “For example, we are looking to introduce robotics to enhance the customer experience in line with a global trend that is seeing increased use of this technology for the delivery of retail food and beverage services at airports.”

Digitalisation and the adoption of AI have become a core strategic focus for the company. The implementation of this vision has four main elements, or pillars: establishing the digital infrastructure; improving the experience of passengers and customers; digital innovation to enrich the experience of front-end customers; and cyber security.

ACSA would like to introduce a biometrics-based border control system but this, of course, requires collaboration with the Department of Home Affairs. And the two agencies are indeed working together to complete such a project, focused on facial recognition or passenger passport bar-code-embedded biometric data.

“We are [also] looking to create a platform that will integrate all the various customer services that currently operate in silos,” he added. “We want to use this platform to bring them all together into one user interface. The idea is that multiple services, such as booking a flight, a car or a hotel will be aggregated and accessed through a single platform and user interface.”

Implementing this aspect of the digital strategy will require the adoption of AI, to allow data analysis for better personalisation of services, on the principle of “know you better, serve you better”. Although the group is talking with a number of service providers regarding the implementation of these concepts, it is already investing R150-million in a “flagship project” with Microsoft, to create more personalised experiences for its customers.

“Unfortunately, cybersecurity is always a game of catch-up as hackers are dedicated and committed to constantly finding and exploiting new vulnerabilities,” he cautioned. “The cyberthreat landscape continues to evolve in sophistication and frequency of attack, so it is impossible to always defend against malicious activity. However, at the very least, organisations must ensure that their security systems are robust and up to date in terms of the latest security patches. It is important to note that ACSA has significantly improved its cyber and information security maturity by focusing on people, processes and technology.”

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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