Open for business: The latest news and views from ACI’s World Business Partners
Aiding the development of Zanzibar’s gateway to the world
Global air and travel services provider, dnata, has launched operations at Zanzibar Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (ZNZ) with its partners Emirates Leisure Retail and SEGAP – a joint venture between airport infrastructure and operations specialist Egis – and private equity fund manager African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM).
The three companies, which have already invested over $10 million at the airport and created some 500 new jobs, say that they will work with Zanzibar Airports Authority (ZZA) to deliver “world-class services for airlines and passengers” at ZNZ’s newly-built international terminal.
The partnership is expected to “significantly contribute” to the government’s target of boosting its trade and tourism sectors.
For its part, dnata will provide its globally renowned, quality ground, passenger and cargo handling services to airline customers at ZNZ, which it says will ensure the safe and timely operations of flights and a good travel experience for passengers.
In addition, dnata has launched meet & greet and lounge services through its airport hospitality brand, marhaba, to help passengers further enhance their experience and enjoy a smooth airport journey from check-in to boarding.
Emirates Leisure Retail has partnered with MMI as master concessionaire for all food and beverage, duty free and commercial outlets at T3. In collaboration with Eight Inc, the companies have created the innovative and immersive travel experience, ZOMA, designed to create a sense of place and extend the holiday feeling for passengers.
In the ZOMA Zones each store is inspired by the scents, feelings and flavours of the island. In addition to these outlets, ELR and MMI carefully selected and curated the best retailers from the island to spotlight some of the best that Zanzibar offers.
SEGAP has entered into a 10-year technical partnership with Zanzibar Airports Authority (ZAA) to manage and operate Zanzibar and Pemba airports.
The consortium states that it will act as a long-term partner to help position Zanzibar as a leading tourism destination, improve airport performance across all fields (including passenger experience, operation, profitability, etc) and enhance airport infrastructure and services. It will also act as one project team for Zanzibar Airports Authority, covering different airport management and operation aspects.
Steve Allen, CEO of dnata Group and chairman of Emirates Leisure Retail and MMI, said: “We’re delighted to celebrate the launch of our airport services and retail offering with our partners at Zanzibar’s new, advanced airport terminal.
“We are confident that our investment, alongside our commitment to safety, quality and service excellence, will provide a major positive impact on Zanzibar’s transport, tourism and trade industries. This in turn will deliver significant benefits for the local community and businesses.
“We will continue our efforts to consistently deliver world-class services, earn the trust and loyalty of airline customers and travellers, and be an employer of choice in Zanzibar.”
Egis’ aviation director for Africa, Olivier Baric, noted: “We are delighted to continue our key role in ZAA’s strategic development in co-operation with the airport’s stakeholders, after a successful year of co-operation, where we have contributed to operational improvements to support the growth of tourism in Zanzibar.
“Together, and over the next 12 months, we will continue with our endeavours to support the modernisation of facilities, processes and staff needed for Zanzibar to achieve high quality, safety and security services in order for Zanzibar to be recognised as having an international airport that is an outstanding gateway to a destination that has everything to attract visitors, from world-class beaches to a UNESCO World Heritage site.”
ADB SAFEGATE unveils new AiPRON solution
ADB SAFEGATE, a global leader in automating the aircraft docking and turn process, has launched the Intelligent AiPRON, which it describes as an “innovative platform for managing airport apron operations in the face of today’s challenges”.
It says that AiPRON’s holistic, intelligent approach utilises machine learning technologies to provide better predictability of operations and brings the elasticity required to ensure a consistent level of safety, productivity, efficiency, and passenger experience despite sudden market changes.
“ADB SAFEGATE is continually innovating to provide new ways for airports and airlines to optimise operations that will ultimately automate the entire docking and turnaround process,” comments vice president for gates, Thorben Burghardt.
“With Intelligent AiPRON we are taking the natural next step by integrating all the systems and processes important to apron operations into a single ecosystem that uses the latest technologies to optimise taxiing, docking and pushback procedures and improve the efficiency and elasticity of ground handling operations as a whole.
“The new platform seamlessly integrates with our Safedock advanced visual docking guidance systems (A-VDGS) and AiPRON Manager solutions installed on more than 12,000 gates around the world, allowing airports and airlines to further capitalise on existing investments.”
In other news ADB SAFEGATE has completed a lighting and runway upgrade at Münster Osnabrück Airport in Germany, while its Australian division has won the largest airfield lighting contract in its history and, as a result, is set to deliver its latest Airfield 4.0 technology to Western Sydney International (WSI) Airport.
The greenfield airport, which is also Australia’s largest aviation project in many years, is due to open in late 2026. “We are excited to be part of Australia’s largest aviation industry project,” enthused ADB SAFEGATE’s vice president for Australia & New Zealand, Christiaan Schenk.
New leadership team for Transoft Solutions
Transoft Solutions, developers of productivity-enhancing software and services for the civil, transportation and aviation industry, has appointed Daniel Shihundu as its new CEO, replacing company co-founder, Milton Carrasco, who has decided to a step back after three decades as CEO and chair of the Board.
In his new role, Shihundu will be responsible for providing leadership, guidance and mentorship throughout the organisation, developing company strategies and goals, overseeing the execution of Transoft’s operational plans and budgets aligned to the strategic plans, executing mergers and acquisitions, and sustaining the company’s culture through the articulation and embodiment its vision, mission and values.
Transoft Solutions was born in 1991 when Carrasco launched its first product, AutoTURN, which was borne from his master’s thesis ‘Computerized Vehicle-Turning Simulation: An Interactive Application’.
“I have every confidence that Daniel will be successful in carrying the torch as Transoft’s CEO and ensuring the company’s continued growth and success, given his years of embracing the Transoft culture, his sound leadership and methodical approach. I look forward to seeing Transoft continue to evolve and grow under his leadership,” said Carrasco.
URW unveils new arrivals at Chicago’s Terminal 5
The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA), in partnership with Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) Airports, has unveiled an Evolve by Hudson store in the newly-expanded Terminal 5 at O’Hare International Airport and confirmed that it will joined by Chick-fil-A and Protein Bar & Kitchen outlets this summer.
Locally-owned Hyde Park Hospitality and its partner Phillips Concessions, 100% Airport Certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (ACDBE), will own and operate the Chick-fil-A restaurant. While the also locally based Protein Bar & Kitchen will run the O’Hare location along with ACDBE partners DC Garrett Group and Chicagoan Miguel Cruz of BT Express.
The concessions’ locations are a part of the largest set of concessions agreements at O’Hare in more than 30 years, which were proposed by mayor, Lori Lightfoot, and approved by the City Council in May last year.
“Our continued investment at O’Hare is creating thousands of jobs, new opportunities for diverse businesses and an unparalleled traveller experience,” said CDA commissioner Jamie Rhee. “The expanded Terminal 5 is bringing new and exciting dining and retail to the airport and building an even stronger representation of local and minority business owners.”
URW’s senior vice president of airport operations, Brian Petrow, said: “The growth and opportunities we’re creating at Terminal 5 are exciting. We are thrilled to partner with the CDA to create a more diverse, dynamic experience for our customers.”
The restaurant openings are part of the $1.3 billion revamp of Terminal 5 that added 350,000 square feet and 10 gates and modernised the existing space. Delta Air Lines moved from Terminal 2 into Terminal 5 in October 2022.
Smiths Detection to upgrade checkpoint security at New Zealand’s airports
Smiths Detection has been awarded a contract to supply New Zealand’s Aviation Security Service (AvSec) with advanced checkpoint security technology for its five major international airports.
The agreement will result in the supply of 35 of its HI-SCAN 6040 CTiX computed tomography (CT) X-ray machines across Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown and Wellington airports.
Smiths Detection notes that the HI-SCAN 6040 CTiX meets international regulatory requirements in both the USA and EU and will ensure “the highest level of security while improving the experience for both passengers and operators”.
The carry-on baggage scanner can speed up security screening by allowing passengers to leave laptops and liquids in their cabin baggage, as well as deliver cost savings to airports as it is the most energy efficient checkpoint CT X-ray on the market.
In addition, Smiths Detection will also supply its iLane.evo smart automatic tray return system solution – which delivers a steady flow of trays, removing bottlenecks and providing a seamless checkpoint journey – and its iCMORE Weapons algorithm that supports security operators by identifying knives, guns, gun parts or ammunition concealed in bags.
Each piece of equipment is part of Smiths Detection’s integrated checkpoint and uses leading-edge technology designed to help increase security, improve passenger experience, and enhance operational efficiency.
“We’re delighted to be continuing our long-standing relationship with New Zealand AvSec. Through the roll-out of this technology, passengers flying out of New Zealand’s international airports will have a smoother and more efficient checkpoint experience,” enthused Smiths Detection’s North & South Asia market head, Aurelien Guilbert.
AI adds new dimension to HappyorNot terminals
HappyOrNot has added another dimension to its offering by enhancing its customer feedback terminals with artificial intelligence designed to capture more demographic information about users.
The new terminals use a built-in camera system and AI software to unlock and connect in-moment anonymous feedback data with respondent(s) demographic information.
The demographic analysis works by converting and mapping facial features into numerous data points to form a vector. The anonymised vector is then analysed by the AI to estimate the feedback provider’s age and gender – with up to a 95% accuracy rate.
HappyorNot is quick to point out that unlike facial recognition tools, its updated Smiley Touch terminal does not identify the individual, instead its only purpose is to analyse a silhouetted vector, which is specifically designed to hide the respondent’s identity.
“We know that when it comes to customer loyalty, all it takes is one good or bad experience. Yet, providing a personalised service can be challenging when you have a broad range of customers,” says Miika Mäkitalo, CEO of HappyOrNot.
“Our priority has always been to make customer feedback more digestible, and this latest version will go a long way in providing another layer of context for businesses. This new capability is brilliant for our customers, and I’m very pleased that we are the first in the market to deliver this innovation.”
Queenstown selects Elenium’s bag drop and check-in technology
Elenium has been selected by Queenstown Airport to provide it with new bag drop and check-in kiosks as part of a multi-million dollar upgrade of the terminal designed to make it more accessible and user-friendly.
The scope of its solution will cover six new bag-drop units and a further nine self-service kiosks by June this year, which will provide a full and fast check-in process. This is in addition to the 15 kiosks that were installed in 2019, along with full management and monitoring software that will ensure operational issues can be addressed proactively.
“We are pleased to partner with Elenium again on a technology solution to enhance customer experience at Queenstown Airport and support staff working here,” said Queenstown Airport’s head of infrastructure delivery, Jo Learmonth.
“We want to get passengers checked in as quickly and easily as possible and this investment will help us to achieve that.”
Elenium CEO and co-founder, Aaron Hornlimann, believes the upgrade shows Queenstown Airport’s commitment to modernisation and improving the customer experience.
He said: “Nobody likes waiting in queues to check in or drop bags. Queenstown Airport has shown that self-service technologies can not only help at peak times, but they can provide a better passenger experience, encouraging those visitors to come back.”
TH Airport Consulting
Membership Region: Africa
Type of Business: Consulting & Management
TH Airport Consulting offers service excellence for planning and the optimisation of airports with a focus on Passenger Experience, Terminal & Master Planning, Airport Processes & Security as well as Airport Strategy development.
CASPER AIRPORT SOLUTIONS
Membership Region: North America
Type of Business: IT & Communications
Casper is an innovative IT company specialised in the development of real-time location-based monitoring and analysis tools. Casper delivers airport noise and flight tracking systems, A-CDM situational awareness solutions and interactive community involvement websites.
ROSENBAUER INTERNATIONAL AG
Membership Region: Africa
Type of Business: Security
Rosenbauer is a world leading manufacturer of firefighting and disaster protection technology. The company develops and produces vehicles, fire fighting systems and equipment for customers all over the world including airports, unicipalities and industry. All the main standards are covered by products manufactured in Europe, the USA and Asia.