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Emirates Biometric Path | Airlines NewsPassengers using Emirates Airlines in Dubai will soon enjoy a ‘biometric path’ according to recent promises from the airline, who have installed the latest biometrics technology in Terminal 3 at DXB.

The passenger journey from check-in to The Emirates Lounge at Dubai International will soon be guided by a single biometric profile using facial recognition and iris scanning technology. This will mean that passengers will then be able to proceed through all the necessary check-in and security processes without further documentation or hold-ups. Premium passengers will still be able to use accelerated check-in in the Emirates Lounge in Concourse B.

The Smart Tunnel has been launched by Emirates in collaboration with the General Directorate of Residence and Foreign Affairs in Dubai and is a world-first initiative. Passengers walk through the tunnel with no intervention from airport officials and are cleared biometrically. The current trials will continue to run internally, and wider testing will be announced once the initial trials are complete.

Emirates’ brand promise of ‘Fly Better’ will be further strengthened by the rollout of the biometric trials within T3 and the airline looks forward to analysing the new data and inviting consumer feedback.

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A-FIDS _ Flight Information Display System | Increasing passenger experienceAccording to the latest analysis from the Airports Council International (ACI), global passenger satisfaction levels are on the rise again. Comparing Q3 of 2018 to 2017, ACI noted that levels increased to 4.21 from 4.17, and have remained stable since the start of this year.

The survey revealed that passengers are scoring airports higher in all categories from security to wayfinding, proving that investment in the latest technologies for Flight Information Display Systems, for example, has been worth it. Even the smallest global airports are receiving praise for their efforts.

Some industry professionals are not surprised at all by the revealing insights. As airline and airports competition increases, passenger satisfaction becomes ever-more important. When airports rise to the challenge of increasing passenger experience, (and airports around the world have been) they begin to consider all operational aspects, such as queuing, which has been successfully reduced by the introduction of CUTE systems and self-service applications.

As systems and solutions begin communicating, integration becomes more important, as does scalability when airport operators consider how to address critical flow times and exceptional circumstances. The world’s most innovative systems and solutions are often highly integrable, which makes day-to-day operations simpler and more streamlined – opening the door to automation.

The highest increase noted in the recent analysis was in the facilities category. This includes airport eateries and shopping, which are increasingly important for travellers, especially those that are no longer waiting in long queues.

When airports consider the planning aspects of facilities, and have greater capacity with streamlined services and processes, they can make better use of airport resources and terminal space. As passenger demand increases for higher levels of service and facilities, these types of reports and subsequent analysis can really help airports to serve as a model for passenger expectation.

Consumer aviation survey shows drop in satisfaction for flight passengers | Aviation NewsAs airports around the world appear to be placing more and more importance on passenger experience and satisfaction, it is interesting to read that the latest Aviation Consumer Survey results from the CAA show that there is a clear drop in just that. But where are passengers less satisfied?

This, the fifth wave of the UK Aviation Consumer Survey, investigates the current behaviour and attitudes of flight passengers to air travel. The survey looks at every aspect of the passenger journey, from arrival at the originating airport to arrival at the destination airport.

3,500 consumers took part in this survey, selected from a cross-section of UK citizens aged 18+, nationally representative of the population.

The results are used by the Civil Aviation Authority to ascertain the most current and rising aviation issues according to consumers, and to assist in decision-making, regulatory requirements, policy and strategic positioning to improve systems and services.

What to the latest results highlight about passenger satisfaction?

The latest results show that satisfaction amongst flight travellers has been dropping consistently over a two-year period (2016-18). The decreases are slight, but significant, with 90% in the first quarter survey of 2016 to 83% in 2018. However, the decreases in passenger satisfaction are not happening on the ground.

Systems and technologies are streamlining airports of all sizes all over the world, and this is paying off in terms of passenger satisfaction. The reduction in queuing and lengthy security screening processing times have both contributed. Airports in particular have been showing an increasing interest in improving passenger experience, and the latest in self-service technologies have placed greater control of the passenger journey directly into the hands of flight travellers.

The greatest dissatisfactions are happening in the air, during flights and during problematic times, when around half of respondents are worried that any complaints they do have, may be falling on deaf ears.

Speaking about the recent drop in satisfaction, the CAA Director, Tim Johnson said, ‘Delays and disruption can be caused by a range of different factors. Some of these are within the control of airlines, and some are not. Whatever the cause, these delays can be frustrating for passengers. We expect airlines to always provide prompt and accurate information and if passengers are entitled to further care and compensation, this should be provided without delay.

The in-flight experience is making passengers less satisfied, according to survey results. Over two years, the number has fallen from 81% (2016) to 77% (2018), and while still a reasonable satisfaction measurement, it shows a significant drop since 2016.

Where are the least satisfied flight passengers?

An interesting highlight of the survey is that there are regional changes. It seems that flight passengers are more satisfied the further north of the UK they are.

East Midlands travellers are the least happy, at just 76%, with Wales close behind at 78%, where passengers in the north east are 89% happy, on average.

It is widely felt that airports are working hard towards making the ground experience as seamless as possible to improve passenger experience and satisfaction. Infrastructural changes, master systems integration and implementation of the latest innovations in self-service kiosks, biometrics and common use airport systems are all helping to improve not only satisfaction, but also airport operational management.

It is now time for airlines to follow suit and take passenger experience and satisfaction to another level.

passenger-processingVirgin Atlantic has spoken out in a call to the UK government to take action to reduce immigration waiting lines, asking that its passengers receive the ‘welcome visitors deserve.’ The US airline spoke out following reports that waiting times for passenger processing through immigration had reached up to two and a half hours.

The airline say they have been ‘doing their bit,’ providing additional staffing and refreshments for queueing passengers, but they understand that their passengers are left ‘frustrated before they’ve even started their trip’ and are calling the wait times ‘unacceptable’.

Virgin Atlantic has experienced significant increases of up to 20% in traveller numbers to the UK, possibly due to increased opportunities to benefit from Sterling exchange rates, and events such as the Royal Wedding, but it operates 23 flights per day into London Heathrow and its meet and greet service is doing little to help ease and improve passenger experience.

The latest figures show that Heathrow’s UK Border Force sometimes falls far short of its commitment under its Service Level Agreement (SLA) to pass 95% of its non-EEA passengers within 45 minutes. There was just one day during July 2018 when this SLA was met.

With airports in other countries performing to a greater extent, there is a growing concern that this news about ‘unacceptable’ immigration processing times across the UK are poorly timed, particularly with uncertainty already surrounding the first half of 2019 as the UK prepares to leave the EU.

Although all aviation industry participants understand the importance of security and immigration in today’s current climate, questions are being raised and pressure placed on the UK government to streamline immigration processes as quickly as possible.

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.

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.

WestJet Launch New Service from Halifax to London Gatwick | Airports NewsIt was announced a few days ago that WestJet, Canadian low-cost airline, has launched a new daily non-stop direct service from Halifax-Stanfield International Airport and the UK’s London Gatwick.

The new service will run initially until 26 October 2018 and will be served by the B737-8 MAX – the latest addition to the airlines’ fleet.

The new service marks an important link to the UK and connections to Europe, and according to the Minister of Business and Tourism for Nova Scotia, Mr Geoff MacLellan, will help to ‘further connect our people, cultures and business, making it even easier for UK tourists to visit.

The airline hopes that the new service will strengthen its commitment to develop new links to European markets, and believes that the Boeing MAX demonstrates its commitment to using fuel-efficient, guest-friendly aircraft as a part of its future.

Tom Coyle, WestJet’s interim executive vice-president said, ‘This service also demonstrates our commitment to support efforts on the part of Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada to enhance trade and tourism, and grow the economies of both Canada and the United Kingdom.’

Not only this, but also a major milestone for the airline will be another inaugural flight, planned for 31 May 2018, which will leave Halifax land in Paris, marking the first time the airline will land on mainland European soil. Exciting times ahead for WestJet, and we wish them every success.

Find out more about WestJet on its official website here.