Many passengers dread the security screening process in airports. Although most of us are not carrying prohibited items, that feeling of being screened give us a sense of guilt anyway.
Baggage handling systems in airports have inevitably improved in the past five years and screening using the latest technology has undoubtedly speeded up the entire check-in process. Systems such as ExpressDrop have given passengers greater control of their journey times using self-service kiosks and bag drop desks to have baggage weighed, measured and tagged before leaving the terminal to continue through the screening process.
Some of the world’s top security experts have said that the greatest threats to airport security can come from inside the terminal, with personnel having greater access to vulnerable areas. It is thought that the Metrojet incident was likely caused by the placement of a bomb by a baggage handler, which begs the question are these self-service, automated systems going to improve security by effectively reducing the amount of handling baggage goes through by ‘real’ hands?
Undoubtedly, airport security screening must step up to look as closely at the airport staff as it does at the passengers, particularly now, as the entire world feels vulnerable to attack.
Malaysian AirAsia has launched the first automated self-service baggage drop system in the country at Senai International Airport.
The system, which includes self-tagging, check-in and baggage drop, is fully automated and gives AirAsia passengers complete control of the check-in process, saving time and simplifying passenger processing for the airline.
Automated self-service check-in is revolutionising passenger experience all over the world, offering a streamlined experience for both passengers and airports. Airlines are able to manage costs more efficiently with a self-service system, as more passengers book and check-in online and arrive at the airport with pre-printed boarding passes. The system at Senai allows passengers to use the kiosks at the airport to print bag tags before using a handheld scanner to process both this and their boarding passes without any intervention from airline personnel.
Other providers of self-service kiosks, such as Rockwell Collins’ ARINC BagDrop system enables cost sharing amongst airlines with a multiple airline bag drop facility, removing the necessity for dedicated airline baggage drop points and saving valuable space within the terminal.
A £1 billion investment plan has been announced for Gatwick Airport as it marks its five-year milestone of independent ownership.
The airport has seen improvements to its South Terminal and the next investment plans are for the North Terminal, where £36 million will be spent on a brand new check-in area, featuring what is hailed to be the world’s largest self-service bag drop zone. 60 bag drop units will be expected to virtually eliminate queueing and will free up valuable terminal space while helping airlines with cost-sharing opportunities in a multi-airline bag drop facility.
A new security area will benefit from £30 million and is expected to open in 2016. Gatwick anticipate that the streamlined process of passenger screening will enable them to handle 5,000 passengers per hour with new features such as reconfigured lanes and floor wayfinding; systems that have been rigorously tested during the ‘Generation 2’ trials.
Queues are also expected to be reduced by the introduction of 15 new e-gates, effectively speeding up the passenger processing system and greatly enhancing the experience for travellers.
Stewart Wingate, CEO at London Gatwick is delighted with the new plans and said, “It’s been an incredible five years and this is just the start. Gatwick is changing for the better and the fresh £1 billion investment is a clear signal that we intend to become London’s airport of choice.”
Palm Beach Airport baggage handling system is 25 years old and needs to be upgraded. According to airport officials, it is growing increasingly difficult to keep up with maintenance issues with the 10-year old explosive detection system.
To ensure enhanced safety is in place for the monitoring and handling of airport baggage, the system must undergo a complete modernisation program and Jerry Allen, deputy director of Palm Beach Country’s airports department, know what he wants, following research that has been ongoing for almost 10 years. “We have had this baggage system for 25 years, and things change in our industry,” said Allen, “What this is going to do is allow us to drop a bag off at any gate and still get it to the appropriate airline.”
Airports across the world are embracing the latest technological advancements in baggage handling systems. With biometric scanning and electronic tagging and tracking, sophisticated, modern systems involve almost no human intervention to operate to maximum efficiency, which gives airport personnel a greater flexibility. Mr Allen said “It operates more efficiently, so those employees can be doing other things.”
To pay for the new automated system, the airport plans to use $32.4 million in federal and state grants, leaving $9.6 million to be realised from passenger facility charges at $4.50 per passenger.
Officials from the airport sought permission from the county to spend the $42 million earlier this week and are awaiting an outcome.
In a project that will see Alaskan baggage handling improved by 2016, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) has awarded a contract for upgrades and modifications to the baggage system in North Terminal, to Logan Teleflex, part of the Daifuku Webb Holding Company.
The project is expected to include recapitalisation of the current explosive detection system and upgrades to the physical baggage handling system currently serving Concourse C. In addition, significant expansion of the checked baggage resolution area will be carried out and alterations to the structural, architectural, mechanical and electrical building systems in a multi-million dollar deal.
Brian Stewart, general manager of Daifuku’s global airport baggage handling, said, “Our established partnership and collaborative efforts with ANC are aimed to provide a better experience for travellers. Our company continues to produce dependable baggage handling solutions that ultimately make travelling easier for passengers flying in and out of ANC.”
It has been revealed that Guam Airport will receive a new $26million automated baggage handling system that will greatly enhance the experience for passengers travelling through the airport and free up valuable terminal space. The system is looking at a completion date of 2016.
The announcement was made at a presentation on Thursday, attended by officials and key airport stakeholders. Funded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the high priority project due to the current use of TSA baggage screening pods were installed and operated within the ticketing lobby, causing delays and congestion. The grant has been secured during a justifiable case for the optimisation of the TSA screening system.
“The Airport is one of Guam’s most critical facilities. It’s the first place our visitors see and it’s the last place we have to leave a lasting impression with them. Safety, reliability and efficiency have got to be our top priorities and I’m proud of the work our Airport family is making,” said Governor Eddie Baza Calvo. “This new system is further proof that our federal partners have faith in our ability to move these projects forward and the credibility to be transparent with critical federal funds. All of the GovGuam family is committed to fixing problems of the past and making sure there is room to grow in the future. This is the kind of progress Guamanians deserve.”
To upgrade and replace the system, it is expected to take approximately 22 months. The new system will speed up operations with the latest automated baggage handling system processing up to 680 per hour, per machine, opposed to an average of 200 bags per hour using the current, outdated model.