As airline passenger numbers continue to increase around the world, airports are making sound investments in apps to assist passengers with self-service and automated solutions to make the processes of check-in, security and baggage handling easier. Airports are realising that these investments are already paying off in increased passenger experience and in the increased efficiency for the airport operator.
Common-use check-in and bag drop desks have been operating in global airports successfully, and with an estimated 80% of passengers now checking-in online using smart devices and their desktops, the introduction of apps has further streamlined the entire process of checking-in. Airports are also able to provide additional travel information to passengers via these innovative applications, which is another way travellers are gaining even greater control of their journey, increasing passenger satisfaction significantly.
Large airport services providers, such as Rockwell Collins, deliver technological advancements that enable airport operators to achieve greater efficiency across the airport environment, with solutions such as automated check-in kiosks, bag drop facilities and more common-use applications that can be accessed directly from smart devices. The addition of ARINC ExpressDrop has given airports the opportunity to address off-site baggage handling, further adding to efficiency, and helping to reduce waiting and queueing times.
As air travel continues to increase by an average of 5% every year, self-service passenger processing innovations seem an obvious path for airport operators to take.
Rockwell Collins are having a busy month this month with the unveiling of yet another new product. Developed to further streamline and enhance the passenger processing system in airports, ARINC vMUSE mobile enables ground handling and airline agents to use a tablet-based application to check-in passengers from anywhere in the airport.
The possibilities for the new passenger processing system are far-reaching, particularly for off-airport check-in, which is a sector of the industry that is fast growing in popularity for both passengers and airports. The flexibility offered to passengers, with off-airport bag drop points and now the ARINC vMUSE mobile system from Rockwell Collins is revolutionising the entire air travel experience; completely changing the traditional airport queue and waiting system that many passengers dread.
The industry is getting a good look at the new product this week at the Passenger Terminal Expo 2015, where demonstrations of the system’s capabilities are being carried out.
ARINC vMUSE mobile will allow each airline to access its own check-in application with the same security and reliability of traditional CUPPS, but without the additional technical resources, software configurations or installation time, thus reducing the costs, but giving the full CUPPS advantages.
Self Service bag drop solutions offer improvements to passenger processing and minimise ground delays. Halifax Stanfield International Airport is the first in North America to offer self-service baggage drop for all their passengers, working closely with their airline partners.
“This new, fully automated, self-serve baggage drop system uses the latest technology to simplify the check-in process for airline passengers,” says Joyce Carter, Halifax International Airport Authority (HIAA), President & CEO. “With airline customer service agents available to assist passengers if necessary, this improved level of service speeds up the check-in process and makes it possible for passengers to avoid line ups at counters.”
The airport followed the lead of airports across the world, when looking for ways to streamline these vital processes and ensure that ground delays were kept to a minimum during peak flow seasons.
“We welcome any airport improvements that enrich the travel experience for our guests,” says Jon Quinton, Station Manager for WestJet in Halifax. “This new system helps travellers move through the check-in process more quickly, and frees up our team members to get out from behind the counters and assist those guests who need a little extra attention.”
The new baggage handling system formed a part of a larger project to modernise the terminal space within the International airport. The domestic and international check-in halls in addition to U.S. preclearance have been renovated to create additional space, with future growth in mind. A stylish new exterior has changed the face of the airport and are a part of a 10-year plan to meet the needs of current and future passengers.
There is little doubt, if we look at the affect that self-service bag drop has upon the world’s busiest airports, that the new system will streamline passenger processing and increase operational productivity for Halifax Stanfield.
Montreal Trudeau Airport has converted eight of their 17 previously manned baggage desks into self-service bag drop points in a bid to enhance passenger check-in and speed up operations within the terminal.
More passengers will now be able to make use of the common use, self-service bag drop points for multiple airlines baggage on any flight bound for the US. The airport has observed that the new system has already been adopted by almost half the passengers.
Common-use self-service bag drop points have and will continue to revolutionise airline travel worldwide, streamlining the check-in system and helping to create fluidity within the terminal space that has previously lacked the world over.
Maintaining airport security still remains a priority and the common use desks use up-to-the-minute technology to ensure all the bases are touched in this area. While many of us still check-in online and an increasing number check-in at off-site locations, the self-service bag drop desks offer airlines and airports greater use of terminal space and staff to ensure that the passenger service and experience is better than ever.
Since 9/11, there is little doubt that increases in airport security and border control have swept the globe. As governments and border control agencies take technological advancements and solutions to border security into the 21st Century airports, not only have these biometric solutions improved security, but have indeed contributed to an enhanced experience for the passenger.
It is small wonder that market intelligence providers, Acuity, report that the automated border control eGate and kiosk market will generate over $1.2 billion annually by 2020. The analysts also predict that during the same year, automated border control systems will number more than 6,000 with 33,000 self-service kiosks and eGates deployed for baggage drop and check-in across all ports, including airports, land and sea.
Maxine Most, principal of Acuity Market Intelligence says, “Automated border control eGates and kiosks represent the customer-facing touch points to what promises to be a far more complex and highly interoperable 21st Century border management IT infrastructure.”
Automated border control providers can integrate the system of passenger processing and baggage handling both within the terminal and off-site, creating improved through-flow for the airport and greater efficiency, which in turn offers the passenger far greater flexibility. Common-use terminal equipment brings multiple airlines baggage and self-service check-in solutions to streamline operations, leading to cost-effective management and infrastructure.
Malaysia airlines have announced that they have cut the average processing times for bag claims in half with the advent of a new application from SITA, the World Tracer tablet app. The application gives airline agents the ability to check the status of a missing bag for passengers who are unfortunate enough o arrive without their luggage.
An airline agent armed with an iPad or tablet device can print a claim receipt for the passenger and can proactively manage the claim in just a few minutes, rather than the lengthy process that the passenger has to go through to locate a desk and fill out the forms.
Malaysia Airlines will trial the app at Kuala Lumpur International Airport for six months.
Automated baggage handling systems are gradually reducing instances of lost baggage, an annoying and deeply inconvenient occurrence for passengers.
The entire baggage handling process in airports is becoming more and more streamlined. Many airport operations now incorporated self service bag drop facilities for multiple airlines and online check-in.
The aim is to reduce airport operational costs and greatly enhance passenger experience with a smooth check-in and no queuing.
ARINC EMEA has marked a major milestone at Dubai International this week being the first global site to use vMUSE for a total of 34 international airlines, all newly certified to run over Windows 7. This list includes Emirates airline, which use their Mercator Airport Control System (MACS) with ARINC’s passenger processing vMUSE platform.
A new five-year agreement was signed between ARINC and dnata in 2012 for the upgrade of the iMUSE to the latest vMUSE version of the platform. ARINC provided the software, Emirates the hardware, offering an advanced Virtualised Dual Core solution that has delivered a balance for Emirates between technology and cost.
vMUSE is also being utilized to support multiple airports from a common infrastructure. Graham Parker, Manager Business Technology ‐ dnata Airport Operations and Cargo said, “With vMUSE live at Dubai International, we have begun the rollout at Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central for the passenger terminal opening in October.”
“We are delighted with the success of vMUSE at Dubai International,” said Tony Lynch, ARINC’s Regional Director, Middle East & Africa. “It is the perfect migration path for airlines and airports embarking on CUPPS regardless of where they are today and where they plan to be in the future. Whether it’s an iMUSE terminal emulator, CUPPS application, or airline native application, vMUSE can support it, and can handle any combination of these simultaneously.”
ARINC are directly focussing on the growth from emerging markets in the Middle East and now have a site in Arabic for ease of use in the sector.