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Heathrow rolls out passenger tracking system to reduce flight delays

Heathrow Airport has implemented a new technology across its terminals that enables airlines to effectively track passengers throughout the departure stages. The computer software known as ‘Positive boarding’ will reduce airlines’ last minute searches for passengers or their bags, as well as give travellers more accurate information to help them through their journey.

Travellers can now present the barcode on their ticket at an automatic gate which, if verified, opens to allow them through to security. Previously an airport security officer would check a passenger’s ticket details. When scanned, details from the barcode are compared against flight information and tailored information for the individual flashes up on screen, for example if a passenger is in the wrong terminal the message will tell them where to go.

The technology will also help airlines keep to their departure schedule as they have ‘real time’ information of where passengers are in their departing journey. After trials at the airport, the tracking system is now live in Terminals 1 and 3.

Kathryn Leahy, director of Terminal 3, said, “We are thrilled that the new technology is now live in T3 and will help our passengers have a stress free flight. It also enables us to work with the airlines to improve the punctuality of departing flights.”

Virgin Atlantic was the first airline to adopt the process in Terminal 3 and Little Red in Terminal 1. During the first week 35,000 passengers successfully used the positive boarding technology.

Data showed that 44% of the departing Virgin Atlantic and Little Red flights had passengers who could have potentially delayed the departure. Of these travellers, 700 were informed by the automatic information display to promptly make their way to the departure gate to ensure they didn’t miss the flight and 10 late running passengers were instructed to go back to check-in as they didn’t have sufficient time to clear security and make their flight.

Terminal 4 will take delivery of the system in September, which has been designed to be compatible with all airlines’ computer systems.

July 30, 2013


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