Passenger Terminal EXPO and CONFERENCE 2018, the world’s leading international airport conference and exhibition, opens its doors this week (March 20-22) at the Stockholmsmässan business center in Stockholm, Sweden. With more than 7,000 visitors expected over the three-day event, this year’s EXPO will be the biggest and best yet!
In the main hall, over 300 exhibitors have been showcasing the latest technologies and services in the airport industry including biometric security, automated baggage handling, adaptable seating modules, autonomous vehicles, self-service check-in and bag drop, and much more.
On stand 1000, Rockwell Collins launched the latest version of its self-service common-use bag-drop solution, the ARINC SelfDrop F series, which leverages the latest biometric technologies to complete the self-service bag-drop process in under 60 seconds. It boasts an extremely low false identification rate and is highly flexible as the main kiosk can be installed anywhere. The bag-drop technology can also be retrofitted to most existing baggage belts. Rockwell hopes to go live with its first airport in the coming months.
Tony Chapman, senior director of global airports product management and strategic programs, Rockwell Collins, said, “As well as verifying the identity of the bag owner via biometric facial scanning, the kiosk also measures the weight of the bag to check if it’s within the weight limit of the airline, it then has the option of charging you if you’re over that limit. It then validates that weight when it’s put on the bag-drop conveyor belt to make sure the passenger hasn’t added anything to it.”
The company also demonstrated its latest prototype which enables passengers to use their smartphones to register their identity, which can then be used at a later date as part of a ‘single token’ biometric security process.
Vanderlande signed a landmark agreement with Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTHA) at Passenger Terminal EXPO for the first live deployment of its new automated baggage logistics solution, FLEET.
Expected to go live in September 2018, FLEET is a flexible and sustainable solution that utilizes autonomous vehicle technology, replacing the need for fixed sorting systems. It also consumes up to 50% less energy compared to traditional baggage handling systems. Each individual vehicle carries a single bag and determines the most optimal route through an airport. FLEET has been designed to seamlessly grow alongside an airport, match its operations, and allow it to adapt to changing security and screening regulations.
“Following the successful launch at Inter Airport 2017, we have full confidence in FLEET’s readiness for the market,” said Andrew Manship, Vanderlande’s executive vice president airports and member of the board. “By signing this agreement, we are pleased to have the opportunity to test and optimize this innovative concept in a live environment, as well as contribute toward RTHA’s strategic objectives.”
Koen Evers (above left), general manager – FLEET, Vanderlande, added, “The great thing about FLEET is its versatility and scalability. The project at Rotterdam will act as a testbed for future developments and will be watched closely by Royal Schiphol Group. Hopefully it can then be deployed on a greater scale at Schiphol and other large international airports.”
Swedish technology startup Furhat Robotics launched its new FRAnny multilingual customer service bot, which is currently being trialled at Frankfurt Airport in Germany, in partnership with airport operator Fraport and railway firm Deutsche Bahn.
The trial will run for four weeks, during which, the readiness of FRAnny will be evaluated based on its interactions with genuine passengers. The robotic concierge will initially converse in English and German, but the plan is to expand this to more than 35 languages.
“With so many self-service options now available, the airport can sometimes become overwhelming for travelers who are not used to such systems,” said Joe Mendelson, senior business developer at Furhat Robotics. “FRAnny fills a gap in the sense that it complements the existing workforce and handles some of the more routine queries often asked by such passengers. This provides the staff with more time to focus on customer service.”
Debut exhibitor Flight Solutions showcased its eScan Passenger Verification System, which is set to be rolled out across eight Scottish airports operated by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) in time for the busy summer season.
The airports are Inverness, Benbecula, Dundee, Islay, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Sumburgh and Wick. The system will also provide real-time passenger data to HIAL, which the group can use to measure passenger flow and queue times.
Inverness Airport, part of the HIAL group, will also benefit from an airport-wide rollout of Flight Solutions’ passenger processing systems, including its common-use system (CUTE) and common-use self-service (CUSS) products. Ten common-use check-in desks, six self-service check-in kiosks, seven self-service bag drops and six boarding gates will be installed across Inverness Airport by June 2018.
“We’re delighted to expand our existing relationship with Inverness Airport and with the HIAL group,” said Paul Secker, founder and CEO of Flight Solutions. “In a constantly changing environment like a busy airport, we recognize the need for both hardware and software to be as simple and adaptable as possible. Getting rid of legacy solutions and capitalizing on the new technology offered as part of our passenger processing and passenger verification systems are helping to future-proof airports while improving the passenger experience.”
Air transport IT provider SITA demonstrated its Smart Path biometric security solution and spoke to visitors about its new report, launched at the show, titled Biometrics for Better Travel: An ID Management Revolution.
The report outlines how innovative ID management programs will become more commonplace worldwide as 63% of airports and 43% of airlines plan to invest in such solutions in the next three years.
Sean Farrell, director, strategy and innovation, SITA, said, “Across the world, airlines are required to check that passengers are who they say they are and that they have the right travel documents. This is a fundamental element of securing the travel process which cannot be eliminated.
“With passenger numbers set to double by 2036, airlines and airports need to be able to move passengers through these checks as securely and quickly as possible. Efficient identity management is essential for better security while at the same time improving the passenger experience. Biometrics is the technology that can deliver this.”
Biometrics for Better Travel: An ID Management Revolution combines SITA’s global research with commentary and cases studies from airports, airlines and global entities that are exploring and adopting biometric technology to transform the passenger experience. Those featured include Brisbane Airport, British Airways, JetBlue and Orlando International Airport along with industry perspectives from the International Airline Travel Association (IATA). To download a copy of the report, click here.
Elsewhere in the exhibition hall, Nuctech shared its ideas on how artificial intelligence can be used for security scanning of luggage to detect the presence of weapons.
Dr Wang Weidong, vice president of Nuctech company, said, “This is an excellent event to attend. We have had a lot of people visit our stand throughout the day. There is also a lot of new technology on show, which is great for learning about the industry. We like to come to this expo every year so we can gain feedback from the right people in our sector about our current products and our plans for the future. This show also enables us to find out what the future holds for the aviation sector.”
Passenger Terminal CONFERENCE
At Passenger Terminal Conference, which is hosting more than 385 expert speakers, Changi Airport’s presentation on its FAST initiatives attracted a very large crowd. Chua Ching Hock, senior manager of development operations, Terminal 4, at the Changi Airport Group, told delegates how in 2012 the airport embarked on a five-year program to design and implement FAST initiatives across all four of its terminals, using the new T4 to test new ideas and development.
As part of FAST, T4 offers an end-to-end self-service process using biometric facial recognition. Other FAST initiatives included increasing the number of automated check-in counters in Changi’s terminals and providing automated solutions for bag drop, immigration and boarding. During his presentation, Chua said, “During the development of T4 we reimagined the passenger experience. FAST was a journey, not a destination. We are still learning about the future and how we can improve further.”
Another interesting session in the conference was the Future Airports stream, which saw a number of young innovative professionals talk to visitors about innovation and how it should be embedded in an organization. Anne Hospers, coordinator of Innovative Partnerships at Rotterdam The Hague Airport, told delegates about what she has learned regarding airport innovation over the past year. She said, “Innovation is hard work. It is also about failure. You need to fail in order to learn how to succeed. Change is important for the future of the industry.”
Following Hospers’s presentation, a team from the Recoding Aviation hackathon took to the stage to present the results of the event, which took place in Berlin, Germany, in June 2017. The hackathon encouraged people from outside the industry to take part in an event to generate new innovative ideas for the airport sector. Seven airports participated, 35 teams took part and 37 ideas were presented during the 48 hours of hacking.
New developments and innovations that came out of the hackathon included Unstuck, which looked at airport security queues and helped improve the flow of passengers by identifying which passengers, such as transfer travelers, needed to pass through the checkpoint quicker; and Waitlist, which enabled passengers to use an app on their smart devices to see if other like-minded passengers were near them and wanting to meet up.