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San Antonio International Airport Breaks Records | Airport BlogTexas’ San Antonio International Airport (SAT) has been experiencing record growth for two years, but this June has seen a record-breaking 887,000 passengers through its doors, marking the most passengers served in a single month since the airport opened.

Russ Hardy, aviation director for the City of San Antonio, is delighted with the record numbers and said, ‘If the numbers continue to grow as we anticipate, we could realistically exceed the 10 million mark in passengers for 2018. This is a benchmark we would happily like to achieve this year.

The figures represent an increase of 6.8% compared to the same period last year for domestic travellers. There was, however, a drop in international passenger numbers of 4.6%.

Looking ahead, SAT is already looking to break more records. It is expected to outdo last years’ figures with preliminary releases scheduled to deliver 10% more passenger seats sales in the later half of this year, including the busy summer season.

Cargo handling has also increased for the airport. Figures show an 8.2% increase in cargo during June, which translated into more than 22,000,000 pounds in weight. This could represent another record level, as the recent upturn in figures is almost double the average growth in cargo transportation for the airports of North America.

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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-worldwidePassengers experienced serious delays across the US last week when a Department of Homeland Security system went down. The system, used to check passenger data with terror watch lists was down for more than two hours, leading to a call to use more traditional methods of screening, such as paper forms.

Although many international passengers were unhappy about the delays, manual screening continued to ensure security measures were fulfilled and the system returned to life at approximately 9pm.

No evidence of hacking was discovered.

Provision of Passenger Data to Enhance SecurityConcerns are growing for security chiefs about the increasing risk of potential terrorists being allowed to travel freely around Europe after the release and use of passenger data was blocked on human rights grounds earlier this year.

Cressida Dick, Assistant Commissioner of the Met expressed a warning that young men are able to fly to Turkey, hire a car and drive across the border into Syria. Her concern is that a ‘small number could fall under the spell of terrorists and return to Britain with deadly skills and motivation’.

Passenger data has been effectively used to identify potential high-risk passengers, alerting government agencies and border control before those passengers touch down at their destination. Supporters of the share of this data, referred to as Advanced Passenger Information (API) say that the information is critical to help track terrorists, people traffickers and serious criminals that regularly traverse international borders.

The system was developed after the terror attacks of 9/11 and is mandatory for passengers travelling to and within the U.S. and other parts of the world.

API is delivered electronically via the DCS of airlines. Providers maintain reliable, secure delivery and limited access to the information.

The Civil Liberties Committee of the EP claim that the passenger data storage system raises privacy concerns and critics are unhappy about the data being kept for five years, which could lead to passenger profiling.

As the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator points out that the numbers of fighters travelling to Syria is increasing, it has made a call to put airline passenger information availability back into practice, giving security officials the ability to track the movements of particular groups across Europe.

The head of MI5, Mr Andrew Parker, revealed that spies had observed ‘hundreds of people’ travel to Syria and added that some had indeed returned to the UK.

It is unclear how, when or even if, the use of passenger data may return to the forefront of aviation travel in Europe.

Passenger Data Solutions ProvidersIn a move to improve border security and enhance accountability, Mexico’s National Institute of Immigration has chosen ARINC’s e-Government solution. The solution will support Mexico’s immigration policies, enabling the government to improve the process of assessing individuals upon entry in addition to monitoring exit from the country.

The collection of Advanced Passenger Information (API) is a large part of the solution and complies with U.S. mandates in this area. Data gathered allows a detailed review of the passengers before they land in the destination country and can help to recognise high risk passengers, which in turn, allows greater efficiency when managing passenger processing, enhances border security and speeds up the entire process.

ARINC and the INM plan to have the system in place and operational by the end of this year and look forward to the vast improvements that it will allow. The e-Government program is a part of the ARINC electronic borders portfolio, specifically developed to meet modern security and government requirements.

The improvements will service more than 250 commercial airlines that currently operate in Mexico, delivering all the API messaging into the country once the implementations are completed.

“ARINC looks forward to a long and productive relationship with the government of Mexico and our close partners, INM,” said Vice President of ARINC Global Network and IT Solutions, Yun Chong, “Airports and other points of entry must meet border security requirements while still providing the highest levels of customer service. We are committed to helping INM meet its current and future border security and control objectives.”

It has been recently discussed that passenger data, if utilized and analyzed properly, could improve profitability for the airline industry.

Of course, this is a highly debatable subject in some sectors, due to concerns over security and data-sharing, not just passenger data, but all kind of data ranging throughout global industry.

However, passenger data is already accessed via a ‘cloud’ by government and security agencies and is carefully tagged to ensure the passenger data or any other information does not fall into ‘other’ hands.

The implementation of a ‘Data Lake’ could be the answer, enabling secure access to passenger data and related data that could be used by authorized analysts to weigh up the global aviation industry possibilities for improvement and increased profitability.

So, What is a ‘Data Lake’ & How Could it Affect Passenger Data?

A ‘Data Lake’ is basically a common storage pool with each piece of data being tagged with appropriate security information.  This will, through the use of metatags, control who is able to access the information, be it passenger data for an airline or fuel prices, for example.  The security information will stay with the data, tagging it in with certain criteria for analytical value.

The idea will place analytical information within fast and easy, but above all, secure and controlled reach of analysts, with those security tags firmly in place!