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Airport World reviews a handful of the technology-driven initiatives driving passenger facilitation improvements at airports across the globe.

World’s first passport-free pilot project between two countries

Passengers travelling between Amsterdam Schiphol and Toronto Pearson and Montréal-Trudeau airports on Air Canada and KLM flights will be able to enjoy paperless travel from 2020 following the launch of a pioneering new biometrics initiative by the Canadian and Dutch governments.

Backed by the World Economic Forum and launched with the help of technology partners Accenture, Vision-Box and Idemia, the ‘Known Traveller Digital Identity’ programme will allow passengers to verify their identities through encrypted information on their mobile phones instead of a passport when going through security, boarding aircraft and clearing immigration.

To take advantage of the new initiative, passengers must sign up to the programme and agree to share their information with border authorities, airlines, and other pilot partners ahead of their trips.

“This is an important step in the usage of leading-edge technologies at the service of the cross-border movement of people,” says Vision-Box’s CEO Miguel Leitmann. The Known Traveller Digital Identity is a key initiative in the domain of identity digitisation, beacon of modern travel.

“It will contribute to the establishment of standards for global interoperability and privacy-preserving identity management models that will bring significant opportunities for the aviation, travel and tourism industries.

“This is another key milestone of the delivery of the One iD framework, where our technology and orchestration platform contribute to the concrete expression of modern travel.”

The World Economic Forum’s head of mobility, Christoph Wolff, notes: “By 2030, international air travel is expected to rise to 1.8 billion passengers, up 50% from 2016. With the current systems, airports cannot keep up.

“This project offers a solution. By using interoperable digital identities and other KTDI [Know Traveller Digital Identity] technologies, passengers benefit from a holistic system for secure and seamless travel. It will shape the future of aviation and security.” 

Bogotá mission for Collins Aerospace

Collins Aerospace Systems is helping to improve the passenger processing experience and safeguard Bogotá’s El Dorado International Airport from cyber threats with a full suite of ARINC airport solutions.

Each solution will be supported by ongoing system monitoring by the Collins Aerospace Cybersecurity Operations Centre and an experienced cyber engineering team.

Among the new passenger processing systems being introduced at Bogotá– El Dorado during the multi-year agreement are MUSE agent-facing check-in: self-service check-in kiosks, and ARINC Baglink baggage messaging.

álvaro González, CEO of airport operator OPAIN, believes that the solutions will help ensure an positive experience for travellers at the Colombian gateway, which handled a record 32.7 million passengers in 2018.

“By implementing these solutions we are able to dramatically improve the efficiency of the airport without having to physically expand our building space,” he notes.

Christopher Forrest, vice president of global airport systems for Collins Aerospace, says: “El Dorado International Airport provides a critical service in Latin America, and with Collins Aerospace’s latest technology passengers will experience a more streamlined journey from the time they enter the airport to the time they board their plane.

“We are currently in the process of installing the new equipment and we plan to be operational this summer.” 


BorderXpress kiosks land at Keflavik

Iceland’s Keflavik International Airport has become the first Schengen member state gateway to deploy the BorderXpress Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks developed by Vancouver International Airport’s Innovative Travel Solutions (ITS) team.

Iceland’s capital city airport has introduced four kiosks as part of a six-month pilot programme to ensure that it is equipped to meet new security and data collection requirements outlined by the European Commission ahead of the introduction of new Entry/Exit System (EES) for Schengen Area airports.

Schengen comprises 26 European states that have officially abolished all passport and all other types of border control at their mutual borders.

“We recognise the complexity and challenges that many Schengen member states face with the implementation of new regulation for entry and exit border control and believe that Kiosk-based solutions, like BorderXpress, have a critical role to play in helping them effectively fulfil the requirements outlined by the European Commission, while also keeping pace with increasing demand for air travel,” says Craig Richmond, president and CEO of Vancouver Airport Authority.

“Isavia and the Icelandic Police have shown tremendous leadership in preparing for the new regulations and recognising the importance of future-proofing their airport with a customisable and adaptable solution like BorderXpress.”

The EES is a part of the Smart Border package introduced by the European Commission and has to be fully operational in all the Schengen countries by the end of 2021. The main purpose of the EES is to register data on entry, exit and refusal of entry of third country nationals crossing the external borders of all Schengen member states through a central system.

“As an airport operator ourselves, we have a unique understanding of the challenges airports in Europe are facing. Our demonstrated success as a trusted partner in over 43 airport and seaport locations globally ensures that we are positioned to guide airports and governments as they prepare for EES,” says ITS director, Chris Gilliland.

“We are confident that our pilot programme with Isavia at Keflavik Airport will further demonstrate the adaptability and effectiveness of BorderXpress, making a meaningful impact on travellers, border control authorities and the airport, alike.”

Isavia’s technical and infrastructure director, Gudmundur Dadi Runarsson, says: “We are always looking for ways to enhance and improve self-service automation for our passengers. By running a pilot for this new and innovative solution we want to gather information and prepare ourselves to make the process easier for everyone when the new regulations are implemented.

“These new kiosks will help to speed up the process for passengers, improve their experience and ensure an enjoyable journey through Keflavik Airport and will provide important information for the development and operation of our new border facility expected to come into use in 2022.” 


Bags of potential

Passengers on Qantas and Singapore Airlines flights from Wellington Airport are now able to check-in their luggage at seven new Auto Bag Drop units supplied by Sydney-based ICM Airport Technics.

Accordiong to ICM, the units have reduced check-in queues at other airports by up to 20 minutes and “vastly improved the accuracy of the check-in process.”

Wellington’s general manager for aeronautical operations, Ayolt Wiertsema, is confident that the new technology will streamline the check-in process for travellers. He says: “Last year, we installed self-check-in kiosks for Qantas and Singapore Airlines passengers. These units build on that and are part of our focus to give passengers more control over the check-in process.”

Richard Dinkelmann, CEO of ICM, says: “We’re excited to be expanding this world-class technology in New Zealand and confident that our products and solutions will deliver exceptional benefits to the airport, the airlines and passengers.”

Wellington Airport will be the second airport in New Zealand to install ICM’s Auto Bag Drop units, with Air New Zealand operating the units in Auckland Airport’s international terminal since 2015.


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