Automated Screening in Airports | Airport BlogAll over the globe, airport operators are seeking the seamless passenger experience for the traveller journey, from arrivals to departure.

Automation in airports is bringing this closer, particularly in the area of airport security.

It has been announced that the UK’s Department of Transport is looking to use automation technology for the screening of liquids, which currently are limited to just 100ml. This could mean the end of such limits in the UK, which currently has some of the strictest security measures in the world, according to a Department of Transport spokesperson.

The limit on carrying liquids onto aircraft was imposed in the summer of 2006, when a bomb plot was uncovered on a passenger flight. The chemicals were discovered in an ordinary drinks bottle, which at the time, would have been relatively simple to smuggle on board the aircraft.

The latest automated baggage screening technology uses 3D imagery, which can look at items in passenger baggage from all angles, and explosive detection technology, currently being trialled in the UK, could lead to the elimination of current liquids restrictions.

Reducing passenger security screening time

The time passengers spend in security lanes is already being reduced with the latest screening technology, and passengers are moving through these areas with greater efficiency than ever before, but, according to industry professionals, this can be improved even further with the latest in automation, enhancing passenger facilitation across the entire airport environment.

Some of the industry’s leaders, such as Rockwell Collins, have introduced solutions for passenger facilitation, including options for biometric identity management, boarding pass verification and automated border control. Using automation is universally accepted in the aviation industry as being the way forward for future travel, and passenger experience is high on the agenda.

If passengers no longer have to empty their hand luggage completely, remove liquids and other items to be screened separately, it is easy to see how this is going to speed up the process of security screening. There won’t be many passengers complaining about that!

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Manchester Airport Drop-off charges introduced | Airports NewsThe UK’s third-busiest airport at Manchester is introducing a new drop-off charge this month in a bid to address congestion, which is currently increasing significantly. The new fee will be £3 for five minutes or £4 for 10 minutes. It is hoped that the new fee structure will reduce the number of vehicles entering the busiest parts of the airport site.

COO of Manchester Airport, Tricia Williams said, ‘Manchester Airport has seen a significant increase in passenger volumes in the past five years and is heavily investing in further growth and improvements to the customer experience, most notably through our £1bn transformation programme.

Manchester Airport has said that it will use the proceeds from this new tariff to set up a public transport fund. This is in partnership with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Cheshire East Council and Transport for Greater Manchester, who will administer the fund.

A dedicated drop-off point has been created further away from the busiest terminal areas in readiness for the fee system launch, which will be serviced by a free shuttle to ferry passengers to their departure terminal. Support for measures to improve accessibility to the airport site will be considered, in addition to access to public transport.

Ms Williams also said, ‘We are committed to ensuring people can still be dropped off for free at the airport, which is why we have invested in the creation of a dedicated drop-off site and free shuttle service. The location of the site has been carefully chosen due to its proximity to all terminal and the motorway network. We have listened carefully to issues raised by passengers since announcing our plans and have been able to respond to many of the concerns raised. Staff will be on hand prior, during and after the go live date on Tuesday July 10 to assist any passengers who need guidance or help.

MPs Back Third Runway Project at Heathrow | Airports NewsThis week, UK MPs have debated and returned with a thumbs-up for the controversial third runway project at London’s Heathrow Airport.

In a vote in the House of Commons, 415 aye’s had it against 119 nay’s, and the majority of 296 votes will move the project closer to reality. However, MPs are already coming out in support of Sadiq Khan’s plan to mount a legal challenge to the decision.

Construction industry professionals have also cautiously applauded the result, noting that the debate has been ongoing for almost 20 years through successive governments, and that the next government could easily overturn the decision. Open criticism of the vote itself has been given, with a point made that ‘the whole process serves to demonstrate why politics alone cannot be allowed to dictate the fundamental needs of critical infrastructure in the UK.

There is strong support too, within the aviation industry. Luton Airport’s CEO, Mr Nick Barton said, ‘The House of Commons’ approval of the Heathrow third runway is a welcome sign of the government’s commitment to providing much needed aviation capacity in the South East.’ Karen Dee of the UK’s Airport Operators Association is also pleased with the result, saying ‘A global Britain requires connectivity to both established and emerging markets right across the country and thus needs both world-class hub and point-to-point capacity. Parliament has today recognised the importance of aviation connectivity and its approval of the Airports NPS for a north-west runway at Heathrow is an important step towards delivering that connectivity.’

Thoughts are now turning to the aviation industry in the near future, with Ms Dee voicing her concerns about the next steps, ‘It is now vital that the government delivers an Aviation Strategy which sets out a clear and positive framework for aviation growth across the UK.’

Executives at Heathrow Airport are understandably delighted with the vote result, and now plan to apply for development consent.

Automated Immigration | Airports NewsInteresting reading this week from Rockwell Collins, as we reviewed an article about how baggage systems must keep up with the latest advancements in automated immigration systems.

Rockwell Collins’ Tony Chapman spoke about some of the challenges faced by airport operators with the enhanced performance of systems such as the US’ Automated Passport Control, ‘APC allows travellers to use self-service kiosks to speed the immigration process,’ he said. ‘For airports, driving the pre-clearance process to other countries eliminates immigration queues on arrival to the U.S., as passengers have gone through the process before landing.

This means that baggage handling systems must be able to keep up with the latest expedited clearance solutions, or risk severe ground delays and queues as passengers wait for their luggage.

This challenge is added to an already-growing pile of challenges airport operators are facing. With strict regulations across the entire operational environment, airports already have to maintain compliance, meet bottom-line budgets and increase passenger experience.

The introduction of automated baggage handling solutions is aiming to create a seamless passenger journey through the airport environment, and Rockwell Collins do know what they are talking about.

Read the full article here to find out more.

Belfast City Airport win prestigious award | Airports NewsBelfast City Airport is delighted to announce that is has become the first UK airport to win the Gold Level CORE award at the recent Business in the Community Responsible Business Awards.

The CORE accreditation looks at corporate responsibility, both activity and in performance, and Belfast’s George Best Airport has won this year, following last year’s success as being named Northern Ireland’s Most Responsible Business.

Belfast City Airport has been judged on its contributions to people, planet and places, and the airport has felt this has been a key part of its endeavours.

Michelle Hatfield, corporate services director at Belfast City Airport, said, ‘Corporate Responsibility is central to our business and it is a real credit to our employees who have worked hard to ensure we are playing our part, as a major employer, in our local community.’

‘We are constantly striving to improve our standards and to be recognised with a Gold Level CORE award is a testament to the efforts of all our employees.’

The airport has a commitment to education, the environment and the local community and is involved with initiatives such as the Community Fund, supporting 120 local projects. Another contributory initiative is its role in the High Flyer’s apprenticeship scheme, an adopted school and other environmental projects.

Congratulations to the ten organisations that achieved CORE this year – the Standard is extremely high and you should all be very proud of your commitment to responsible business,’ said Kieran Harding, MD of Business in the Community. ‘CORE strategically supports companies to develop and improve their approach to corporate responsibility. By completing the Standard, companies gain a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, providing a baseline for next steps and further improvements.’

IATA Resolution 753 White Paper | Download your copy todayThere are just weeks left before IATA Resolution 753 comes into force, and around the aviation industry, there are still some who are not prepared for the most stringent regulations yet in the area of baggage handling.

It is hoped that the new baggage tracking regulations will dramatically reduce instances of baggage mishandling, yet will provide greater opportunities for reuniting baggage that does still get mishandled.

Rockwell Collins has produced a White Paper this month, which is available for free download here.

The paper outlines key points that airport operators may want to consider, such as:

  • The impact on airport operations
  • Challenges to face with implementation
  • Who is ultimately responsible
  • How to prepare operations to ensure compliance

Rockwell Collins is able to assist operators with solutions to help them remain fully compliant with IATA Resolution 753, while making sure that a cost-efficient solution is in place.

Baggage handling is an area of aviation travel that has suffered over recent years, and this has led IATA to review best practices and introduce a standard that is designed to track each piece of passenger baggage at multiple checkpoints throughout the journey.

Montreal Airport Green Airport Transport | Airports NewsCanada’s Aeroports de Montreal (ADM) has taken another important step in its bid to become more environmentally aware this month, as it received its first electric vehicle conversion as a part of the Quebec government initiative – Ride & Drive.

The new truck, which is 100% electric, will be used primarily by ground handling personnel in a maintenance role, as they inspect runways, and supervise outdoor maintenance and emergency tasks.

The reusable electric drive motor is said to have an incredible lifespan of a million kilometres and should lower greenhouse gasses by up to nine tonnes per year. This system is also expected to reduce vehicle operating costs for the airport by 80% and maintenance costs by half.

The environmentally-friendly airport has done much over the past year to improve its vehicle record, including an initiative to make airport taxis friendlier. Since November last year, 70% of taxis working out of the airport have a hybrid engine, which in itself has an estimated impact of reducing C02 by 8,700 tonnes.

There has also been an effort to encourage users of hybrid and fully-electric vehicles with the installation of additional charging stations at the airport site. By Autumn 2018, there is a plan in place to double the current figure of 28 stations. The airport has plans to introduce a bus service for passengers to and from the terminals, which will be eco-friendly.

Investment in the projects has been healthy, and the airport announced it has spent more than $2.8 million in just eco-friendly solutions just last year. The airport operators feel that this initiative is super-important, and is really making a difference.

Sustainable development has become an essential condition for the success of organizations and Aéroports de Montréal is committed to this new reality,’ said Martin Massé, ADM’s vice president of public affairs.

In this regard, ADM’s commitment is resulting in concrete actions. In 2017, we invested more than $2.8 million in environmental protection projects which, like this initiative, are making a difference in our day-to-day operations.