The company hopes that this “computer application for mobile phones” will be able to give information and direct people to the appropriate channels, depending on the issue.

The measure is part of the contingency plan prepared together with the Government to respond “to the exponential increase in the arrival of passengers in the summer period”, the Ministry of Internal Administration said in a statement.

“In terms of technology: ANA is developing a chatbot – a computer application for mobile phones – for information and assistance to passengers, with a view to better directing them to the appropriate channel”.

Chatbot is the name given to applications that use artificial intelligence methods – some more than others – that allow the automated handling of requests or questions raised by people. The use of chatbots is a growing trend in customer support services.

ANA believes that a chatbot can also help passengers at Portuguese airports, being one of two measures still in the implementation phase. The other is “to develop signage that will improve and simplify the various channels dedicated to the flow of passengers”.

Alongside these measures, the Ministry of Internal Administration has highlighted the reinforcement of human resources at airports, including inspectors from the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) and agents of the Public Security Police (PSP) and the use of technological doors for electronic passenger control is being extended.

These measures come at a time when the resumption of flights after Covid-19 is causing chaos at airports internationally, including in Portugal, especially at Humberto Delgado Airport, in Lisbon. This weekend, dozens of flights were cancelled, leaving thousands of people on the ground and causing long lines and delays, as passengers sought solutions to their constraints.