[London: 20 July 2018]: A new report commissioned by Aberdeen Standard Investment’s AIPUT fund (Airport Industrial and Property Unit Trust) has highlighted the scale of progress and future potential for the adoption of automated transport and logistics technology at the UK’s airports, including London’s Heathrow, which recently received the formal support of Parliament for its third runway plans. AIPUT currently holds 2 million sq ft of buildings at Heathrow, dedicated to supporting the airport’s freight and logistics service providers.
The report, produced jointly by specialist UK aviation real estate consultancy, ChappellKing and Dornier Consulting International GmbH, explores the potential efficiency gains from automation across a plethora of airport-related functions such as cargo-handling and logistics operations, as well as passenger transportation both to and within airports.
Commenting on the report, AIPUT Fund Manager, Nick Smith, said: “Autonomous technology promises enormous benefits to airports and the service companies that support them, transforming the way airports work and improving efficiency and safety, both for passengers and other airport users. At Gatwick, for example, 90% of the airport’s airside vehicles are stationary at any one time, which is both hugely inefficient and demands a vast amount of space. A much smaller pool of electric-powered autonomous vehicles would drastically cut costs, free up land, reduce emissions, and improve safety. In Düsseldorf, a newly-developed robotic car parking system has demonstrated a 60% reduction in required parking space compared to human drivers.”
“Airports and airport real estate providers need to be ready for the introduction of automated technology as soon as operational and safety regulations permit. AIPUT intends to stay ahead of the curve by embracing automation, working with our tenants and partners to build autonomous technology into our site masterplans; which we believe will adapt and future-proof our UK estate assets, ensuring that our clients’ buildings and facilities will be able to accommodate and benefit fully from the rapid development of autonomous technology.”