Finavia Recruit 200 Test Passengers at Helsinki Airport | Airports NewsIt has been announced that as a part of Finavia’s opening of the new south wing at Helsinki Airport, it will be recruiting 200 volunteer test passengers to test operations and facilities before opening.

The development program, estimated to be costing in the region of one billion euros, will create additional operational and passenger-oriented facilities within the new terminal.

The test day, scheduled currently for the first week of July, will be open for the test passengers to experience the new facilities, such as disabled access, new doors, moving walkways and departure gates access. The test group may also be offered the chance to look behind-the-scenes in a unique day, designed to offer insights to Finavia about passenger experience.

The director of Finavia, Ville Haapasaari, said, ‘The test day is arranged to ensure a smooth, pleasant travel experience, which is the cornerstone of all of our services. Test passengers will have a unique day at the airport and have the possibility to look behind the scenes. The feedback we will receive from the test passengers is valuable, because we can then take passengers’ wishes and needs into consideration in finishing off the south wing.

belfast-airport-3iIt has been announced this week that 3i, the international investment management company, has taken ownership of Belfast City Airport in a deal that was originally announced at the end of last year.

3i are acting as fund managers for the deal, which is a part of a larger project for the acquisition of assets owned by the EISER Global Infrastructure Fund, including the airport.

Before the deal could go ahead, approval was required from the European Commission under the guidance of terms set out in the EU Merger Regulation. Approval has now been realised, and the deal for the Belfast City Airport finalised.

The identity of the new owners has not yet been made public.

George Bush Airport Refurbishment | Airports NewsGeorge Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) has announced the completion of its multi-million-dollar refurbishment project for its retail areas.

The project, which began in late 2015, has improved facilities, including new dining options, for passengers and visitors to the airport in a bid to create a ‘5-star experience.’

With the steady growth of international travel at Bush Airport, the need to provide world-class options — offering both globally recognized brands and local brands in both retail and dining — is more important than ever,” commented Mario Diaz, Houston’s aviation director.

The project was undertaken following research in the form of passenger surveys, to determine what the average traveller is looking for. As a result, the extensive refurbishment includes an amazing 30 restaurants to give a wide variety of dining experiences, including local concepts with the Cadillac Mexican Kitchen, The Breakfast Klub and Hugo’s Cocina, nine new coffee shops and 43 retail units with some big brands – Hugo Boss, Chanel, MAC, Swarovski and The Body Shop.

Airport Security News | Passenger Processing and SecurityPassengers flying internationally from airports all over Australia and New Zealand, today faced hours of delays after a global passenger processing system experienced a failure.

In some of Australia’s biggest airports, personnel had to perform passenger check-in manually for three hours before the system came back online.

The Advance Passenger Processing System, known as APP, handles mandatory reporting of passenger data for all international flights, according to Australia’s Dept. of Immigration and Border Protection.

Similar systems are in use in other global regions, such as the U.S.’s Advance Passenger Information System, also widely in use in Europe, according to provider.

The systems are designed to meet mandatory regulations for the secure collection, storage and electronic transfer of international passenger information. Such information is sent in advance of flight departure to government and border agencies for security screening.

It has been confirmed that all systems were back up and running after three hours of outage, and appears to have been a global issue.

cabin-services-worldwideThe European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has released a Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) to offer new certification specifications for airport design, in a bid to make operations for large aircraft simpler at existing airports.

The new proposals are centred around the improvements and technological advancements in modern aircraft guidance systems.

EASA aims to increase airport capacity across the region without compromising safety and security aspects, with a particular focus on currently congested airports and aerodromes, and in a bid to reduce operational and infrastructure costs.

EASA also hopes that the proposed amendments to CS will deliver environmental benefits via an increased efficiency of land use and fewer construction materials being used.

The Notice of Proposed Amendment will be open to the public for comment until the end of May 2017.

Finnair Test Facial Recognition System | Airports NewsAs biometric airport security systems soar in popularity around the world’s airports, Finnair announces the introduction of a comprehensive test of facial recognition technology at Helsinki Airport.

The testing of the latest layer to the check-in process for 1,000 passengers, has been running since the beginning of this month, and is expected to last until 23rd May 2017. The test group has been selected from frequent flyers using Helsinki Airport.

Face recognition technology could simplify and speed up the departure process from the customer’s point of view, and eliminate the need for a boarding pass,” said Sari Nevanlinna, Finnair’s Head of Ground Experience and Ancillary. “This test will give us information on the usability of face recognition technology for our processes, and the impact it has on the customer experience.

To take part in the ground-breaking testing for Finnair, passengers will be invited to upload an image of their face to the software platform. Then they will use a dedicated check-in desk to confirm that the facial recognition has proved successful.

Prague Airport Steps Up Security | Airports NewsThis week, Prague Vaclav Havel Airport announced its intention to introduce enhanced explosive checks for all checked-in baggage. The airport plans to use swab tests for explosive trace elements, and has created a CCTV-monitored area, and a trained team to carry out testing.

The airport promises that passengers will not be affected by the additional checks, which it says is not a new procedure, but used during current security controls at Prague Airport and across the globe.

Milan Spacek, a member of the airports board of Directors, says, ‘To keep up with the safest airports in Europe, it is necessary to continue improving the safety measures and react to situations at hand. The number of serviced passengers at Václav Havel Airport Prague continues to grow and it is thus also necessary to react to these operational changes with the implementation of more efficient safety procedures.

The team at Prague Airport security will perform the ten-minute checks on baggage by opening the luggage and taking a swab of the contents. Passengers will be informed if their bag is examined, and the entire process will be carried out under CCTV surveillance.

The airport team is also encouraging passengers to use TSA-approved locks, which can be opened using a master key, to avoid damage to padlocks or other luggage fasteners.