Monthly Archives: July 2017

LHR Breaks Traffic Records | Airport NewsLondon’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) is delighted to announce it has broken its own records for monthly, daily and annual passenger numbers passing through its terminals.

For the first time in its long history, LHR experienced record passenger numbers in June – 259,917 passengers flew through LHR on June 30th, making it the busiest day it has ever had. 6.76 million travellers flew during the month of June, which in turn broke LHR’s annual record, taking that figure to 77 million.

Heathrow released further increases as follows:

  • Long haul passenger growth increased by 10%
  • Middle East and East Asia travellers increased by more 5%

It is not only passenger numbers that increased last month for LHR. Cargo also increased in June by 13% compared to the same period last year, and freight exchanges between the airport and the Latin American region grew by 38% on last years’ figures. The biggest cargo market for the airport is in North America, and this is still the largest market, with volume increasing by 15.8%, which prompted American Airlines to open a new facility for the transportation of pharmaceutical cargo.

LHR has also announced that airlines on the Middle East and East Asian routes are taking advantage of their slots to increase their loads on larger aircraft. This may spell further increases for Heathrow’s traffic for both passengers and freight cargo.

Self Service Bag Drop Trials Bristol Airport | Airports NewsPassengers flying with easyJet from Bristol Airport at the moment, are enjoying the new self-service bag drop kiosks on trial for the summer.

Twelve kiosks and four bag drop stations have been installed during the last month at the easyJet area of the airport, with airport personnel on hand to give assistance during the trial.

Phil Holder, Bristol Airport’s Head of Operations Support, is pleased to see that the trial is already making positive inroads into increasing efficiency and said, ‘The trial is already speeding up the process for passengers and the initial feedback has been very positive. We are always looking for ways to improve the passenger experience and this trial is an example of how the latest technology can enhance the airport journey.

The kiosks have been supplied by Rockwell Collins’ ARINC airports, and form a part of an initiative to improve passenger experience and increase efficiency within the airport. Passengers will scan their boarding passes to initiate baggage weigh facilities, before attaching printed bag tags, and proceeding to the bag drop desks.

EasyJet’s UK Country Manager, Ali Gayward said, ‘We recognise that our customers’ airport experience is a hugely important part of their overall journey and so we are delighted to be part of Bristol Airport’s self-service bag drop trial. As we approach the summer, our busiest time of the year, we want our customers to have a seamless journey through the airport, enabling their summer holidays to get off to the best of starts.

Paul Hickox, Head of Airport Systems Sales at Rockwell Collins recognises that airport experience for passengers is high on the list of requirements for a growing number of airports, regardless of size. He said, ‘There is no ‘one-size fits all’ bag-drop solution because different airlines have different passenger processing models. We were able to create the best solution for Bristol Airport because of our deep understanding of airports and bag drop technology. We look forward to seeing the new self-bag drop solution from Rockwell Collins have a positive impact for passengers as it has done in all other deployments in recent months.’

Bristol Airport passengers travelling with easyJet this summer will be greeted at the arrivals area by members of staff, who will first verify travellers with airline lists, before guiding them to the new self-bag drop kiosks.

Biometric Airport Technology | Airports NewsSince biometrics were introduced to the US airports market more than a decade ago, the uptake has still been pretty slow in adopting broad biometric measures.

Recently however, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been making sounds in favour of the introduction of greater levels of biometric technology across the country, particularly facial recognition.

How does facial biometric recognition work?

Facial biometric recognition technology can process information quickly – near real-time – and unobtrusively within the airport environment.

In simple terms, the way the system works places a camera within the airport, typically at passport control or other security area, and compares a live image of the travellers’ face with their travel documentation to determine an exact feature match. Using an automated biometric facial matching identification system, the process can be completed in seconds, speeding up the system of passenger processing significantly.

This increased efficiency is key to improving airport operations, particularly when integration with other airport systems can take place.

The trouble is that in the US, governments and departments cannot decide whether investment into biometric technology, both financial and resources, is for the public or the private sector. However, inroads are being built, as the CBP has announced the intention to use biometrics for foreign nationals leaving the US.

There is little doubt across the aviation industry, particularly within the commercial airlines sector, that biometric technology is the way forward for airport security and borders management. One of the key factors in favour of biometrics, aside from the efficiency factor, is the elimination of potential human error in checking travel documentation.

Travellers, according to the experts, could expect to be using their faces as boarding passes within the next three to five years, once infrastructural and operational challenges and investments can be shaken out within the industry. As passenger experience seems to be high on the agenda for the major players in the industry, biometric technology could be a real possibility.

Stansted Airport Community Events | Airports NewsAs a part of Stansted Airport’s bid to extend flight and passenger limits, it has announced plans to hold a series of community consultation events to gain valuable insights into the views of local residents.

A new website will also be launched to support and share information about the project, and for residents who cannot attend the live events to remain involved.

Further consultations between residents, community leaders and local businesses and Uttlesford District Council will follow the eight events, planned throughout the month of July in local towns and villages, and subsequent planning application submission by the airport.

Stansted is amongst the fastest-growing airports in the UK, and handles almost 25 million passengers annually. It has a current ‘cap’ on the annual number of passengers at 35 million, but the runway has capacity to deliver services for more than 44 million.

The CEO of Stansted Airport, Mr Andrew Cowan said, ‘By lifting the current planning caps, Stansted will be able to serve around 44 million passengers a year on its existing runway by 2030.  Making use of Stansted’s spare capacity will benefit not only the dynamic and fast growing east of England region, but also London and the UK.  It will support the creation of thousands of new jobs and billions of pounds in additional economic activity, and will ensure the UK succeeds as an outward-facing trading nation as we leave the EU.

Understanding that the issues surrounding airport environments cause concern for local residents has prompted the airport to bring the community closer. It is important to the airport that information-sharing and listening to local concerns remains a high priority throughout the planning processes.

Mr Cowan continued, ‘We know that growth is a sensitive and important issue for people living close to airports and we are committed to engaging, listening and sharing as much information as possible as we develop our plans.” He went on to say: “We take our responsibilities to the communities around the airport seriously, and as part of our growth plan we will focus on operating in cleaner, quieter and smarter ways.  Our airlines have invested heavily in quieter and cleaner fleets helping to reduce our noise footprint and we are committed to going further to minimise the impact of noise disturbance. We will remain focused on providing employment opportunities for local people, building on the fantastic education, jobs and training schemes we have in place.  The hugely successful Aerozone education centre and our commitment together with Harlow College to invest in a new technical college at the airport demonstrates our ambition to go further in this area. Last year alone, we helped 800 local people access jobs.