Robots to guide passengers at Oman airport

Muscat: Two robots will be guiding travellers inside the new Muscat International airport

after its March 20 inauguration, in the first such instance anywhere in the world. They will impersonate airport staff, the Oman Airports Management Company (OAMC) said. No further details have been given about the robots.


Additionally, passengers have been asked to report at least three hours before departure at the new airport on March 20.

The first flight will land at the new airport at 5.30pm while the first flight will depart at 6.50pm.
Those who need to cancel their visas have to report four hours before departure, according to a notice issued by Board of Airline Representatives to all travel agents.
The revamped Muscat International Airport is expected to have the capacity to handle more than 12 million passengers a year, and 48 million passengers after the completion of the four-phase construction projects.
The first stage covered 580,000 square metres and features 86 check-in counters, 10 baggage claim belts, 40 gates for both departure and arrival, 29 lounges, 29 aircraft stands with jet-bridges as well as a new control tower.
The new terminal will have the capacity to handle large aircraft such as the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 747. The existing terminal will be used for low-cost carrier operations.



The extraordinary scientific legacy of Stephen Hawking

Airport Benchmarking could not avoid to have a special though for a such special person….

A part of humanity brain has gone ….

Professor Stephen Hawking passed away in the early morning on March 14, 2018, when he was 76 years old. Celebrated for accomplishments in physics and popularizing scientific thinking, Hawking also worked on numerous other projects, including space travel.
The British theoretical physicist and cosmologist was acclaimed for his work with mathematician Roger Penrose on gravitational singularity theorems and the theoretical prediction that black holes emit radiation, now often called Hawking radiation.
Aside from his accomplishments in physics, Hawking also worked on numerous other projects, including space travel. Emphasizing the need for the human species to evolve into interplanetary species, Hawking devised a project to send tiny human spacecraft to Alpha Centauri. It is the second-closest star to Earth approximately 4.37 light years away.
The project Starshot Initiative, backed by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg aims to build nanocraft that could travel at the fifth of speed light. In 2017 a number of project’s prototypes took flight becoming the smallest spacecraft ever flown.
The prototype “Sprites” was a tiny fully functional space probes of 3.5 cm by 3.5 cm built on a single circuit board successfully achieved Low Earth Orbit, Forbes reported. Eventually the nanocraft is planned to be scaled down to one centimeter which can use 10 gigawatt light beams to be propelled to speeds of up to 100 million miles per hour. If successful, the spacecraft could reach Alpha Centauri in 25 years after taking off.
When speaking about the project, Hawking noted that “such a system could reach Mars in less than an hour, reach Pluto in days, pass Voyager [the space probe launched in 1977] in under a week, and reach Alpha Centauri in just over 20 years,” the Independent reported.
Hawking has always emphasized the importance of space travel for humankind, speaking about the importance of interplanetary travel. According to the scientist, humankind has approximately a century left on Earth before it either evolves into interplanetary species, or seizes to exist. Hawking explained that the human species will eventually be wiped out by epidemics, climate change, asteroid strikes or overpopulation.

World renowned scientist
Hawking’s first major scientific breakthrough came in collaboration with Roger Penrose – they revealed that if the universe obeys the general theory of relativity, then it must have begun as a singularity , an infinitely dense point of space-time.
His most significant scientific breakthrough concerned studies in black holes. He was the first to show that black holes are not entirely black and in 1974 he presented his theory that black holes emit radiation, now known as Hawking radiation. While a controversial theory at the time, eventually after publication of further research it was accepted as a major breakthrough in the scientific community.
By the late 1970s Hawking was widely recognized as one of the great minds in modern science. In 1979 he was appointed as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at University of Cambridge – one of the most prestigious academic posts in the world, formerly held by Isaac Newton and other great scientists. He held the post for 30 years. Throughout his life, the professor continued his research in black holes.
Throughout his career, the physicist was showered with numerous accolades including 13 honorary degrees and a plethora of awards and medals. In 1982 Hawking was awarded CBE and Companion of Honour seven years later. In 2009 professor was awarded with the Presidential Medal of Freedom the highest civilian award in the United States.
Despite numerous accolades, Hawking never received a Nobel Prize. Even though his discoveries were groundbreaking, theoretical scientific discoveries have to be confirmed by observational data before there’s a possibility of winning a Nobel. And black holes are nearly impossible to observe. In comparison, Einstein’s theory of gravitational waves in space, which were proposed back in the 1920s, was only proven in 2016.
Hawking was also known for his willingness to state controversial ideas which ranged from Artificial Intelligence (AI), time travel to how the world would end. Despite his outrageous predictions about the future, the professor was highly regarded as the one of the great minds of modern science.
The scientist expressed his fears about the future of AI, stating that it will be so advanced that it will replace humankind altogether. Not only would AI replace people in middle class jobs, potentially leaving millions without work, he also called for a ban on offensive autonomous weapons in an open letter by the science community including Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak and other notable persons.
Acclaimed author
While he was considered to be an accomplished scientist for years, Hawking’s worldwide fame came in 1988 when he released his popular science book on cosmology A Brief History of Time. The book explains complex scientific concepts for the general public. The book went on to be the most popular science book of all time as it was translated into 40 languages and sold more than 10 million copies. It was also jokingly dubbed “the most popular book never read”. The professor has written 15 books in his lifetime.
Hawking became one of the most recognizable scientists of all time, his cameos ranging from The Simpsons to Star Trek. His life was recently immortalized in a 2014 biographical film The Theory of Everything.
Numerous tributes have been outpouring from scientists, astronauts and celebrities noting his impact, sense of humor and intelligence throughout the day.

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Air Transport Agency devises measures to protect airports against drones

Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport is ready to participate in drafting a bill to protect the territory of the airport against drones. 

MOSCOW, March 14. /TASS/.

The Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya) has devised measures to ground the unmanned flying vehicles (UAV) flying into the territory of airports, the agency’s head, Alexander Neradko, told the Izvestia daily on Wednesday.
“This authority will possibly be given to special services of the airports. The necessary equipment may be arranged along the perimeter of the facility. Drones will be either grounded or returned to the point of their departure,” Neradko said.
“Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport is ready to participate in drafting a bill to protect the territory of the airport against drones. The company has already sent letters to the concerned agencies,” an airport’s representative said.
Last year, Rosaviatsiya put the number of violations with the use of drones at 70 in 2016-2017. The authority says the biggest danger for the safety of flights comes from unsanctioned launches of UAVs near the airports. It drew attention to a need to take preventive measures and to inform the owners of the drones about the legislation and recommendations from the International Civil Aviation Association.

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Airports exploring new EU funding opportunities

There was strong participation by airport operators in the last Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)

Transport Call, launched on 6 October, which made €290 million available for co-funding, with a specific focus on accelerating the renewal and updating of European airports’ Air Traffic Control (ATC) infrastructure. What is so remarkable about this? Luc Laveyne reports.

“This unique partnership has allowed the 4th biggest UK airport, which is now at record passenger numbers and continuing to grow, to introduce vehicle transponders within the airside environment, which are part of a suite of safety-focused Pilot Common Project (PCP) deployments.” (Monika Simonaityte, Stansted Airport)

The SESAR Deployment Airport Grouping (SDAG, part of ACI EUROPE) has been working hard to highlight funding opportunities to airports. In recent times, it has noticed that this is having an impact, with an increasing awareness and interest by European airports in obtaining public funding for their Air Traffic Management (ATM)-related investments in the past months. It is very interesting to see the growing number of multi-stakeholder projects presented. For example, one multi-stakeholder’s project proposal “Synchronised stakeholder decision on process optimisation at airport level”, addressing one of the European Commission’s priorities for this call, has been coordinated by Brussels Airport with the support of SDAG. The joint application aims at improving the efficiency of airside operations through real-time information sharing. It sees the involvement of 13 airport operators, 2 ANSPs and 1 Airspace User with an indicative budget of €90m of investment. The proposal currently has the endorsement of the involved Member States and will be submitted for the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA)’s evaluation at the beginning of April 2018.
In parallel, another project – “Enablers for Airport Surface Movement related to Safety Net” is already being executed. This project is a multi-stakeholder project (12 Airport Operators, 1 ANSP and 1 Airspace User) awarded by INEA for its co-funding through the 2016 CEF Call and coordinated by Groupe ADP with SDAG support. It aims at synchronised deployment of the Advanced-Surface Movement Guidance and Control System (A-SMGCS) throughout Europe – a system that provides guidance and surveillance for the control of aircraft and vehicles in order to maintain airport throughput under all weather conditions, while keeping the required level of safety.

In particular, Stansted Airport, one of the project contributors, has already successfully implemented its part of the project last summer. “This unique partnership has allowed the 4th biggest UK airport, which is now at record passenger numbers and continuing to grow, to introduce vehicle transponders within the airside environment, which are part of a suite of safety-focused Pilot Common Project (PCP) deployments. The objective of the project was to equip airside vehicles that have access to the runway and operate in the manoeuvring area of London Stansted Airport with a vehicle transponder, to improve situational awareness, reduce the risk of runway incursions and contribute to the overall airport safety culture. London Stansted Airport will continue to collaborate with European stakeholders to introduce other such technological and operational solutions that will not only facilitate the airport’s growth efficiently and safely, but also effectively play a vital role in a coordinated European Air Traffic Management network. The INEA funding as part of this joint project has expedited the implementation of this and other PCP mandated projects here at Stansted” (Monika Simonaityte, Stansted Airport).
These two experiences are a clear proof that airport operators are currently leading the way in terms of presenting joint applications. What it also shows is that they are supporting the coordinated and synchronised execution of their implementation projects to enhance the ATM modernisation, thus complying with the obligations stemming from the Pilot Common Project Regulation. However, since CEF initiatives do not always fully correspond to different airports’ needs, SDAG’s priority for the next months is to explore other forms of funding (mainly on the basis of the investment plans) and to better understand airports’ needs, in order to foster alignment with the policy plans of the European Commission.
Let SDAG know what your airport’s plans and needs are for the next years (in terms of investments, innovations, etc.) so that SDAG can explore the possibilities of different funding initiatives.
SDAG is open to questions for clarification and potential investigation. You can visit the SDAG website ( and contact SDAG on the following email addresses: and

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WiseFly – Real-Time Indoor Navigation in Airports

Real-Time Indoor Navigation in Airports

Proximity Marketing | Indoor Positioning | Malls

INSUiDE’s WiseFLY is ‘the only airport focused indoor navigation, wayfinding and locate services based Smart App in the world’ implemented at multiple Airports today. Our Technology stack includes a unique framework and algorithm that seamlessly integrates smart phone features with augmented reality solutions, indoor navigation using earth’s magnetic fields and proximity technologies for push notifications and advertisement.


Four Top Trends in Global Airports for 2018

Interesting reading this week as we reviewed an article written by Christopher Forrest, Vice President of Airport Systems for Rockwell Collins.

He shared what he thought were the top airport trends to look out for in 2018. We take a closer look.

Trend One: Greater use of cloud infrastructure
According to Forrest, 2018 will see an increase in the broader adoption of cloud solutions. By this, he means the ‘true cloud’, such as the use of global cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services and not just what has essentially been the use of hosted services up to now.
The scalability of cloud solutions supports passenger processing systems perfectly, enabling greater accessibility for smaller airports to implement faster processing speeds that are enjoyed by larger airports with dedicated infrastructure in place. With cloud applications, innovations such as off-site check-in and self-service kiosks are made attainable, and thus offering the opportunity to further increase passenger experience, in addition to making operational productivity seamless and flexible.
Trend Two: Automated self-baggage drop solutions
Interestingly, Forrest cites automated bag drop, and adoption of self-service baggage drop in particular, to be a firmly-growing trend this year. We have already seen a significant rise in self-service bag drop implementation for the last couple of years, but expansion of the adoption of self-baggage drop should continue to rise most notably, according to Forrest, in Asia and the Americas.
This is interesting because of the US’ increased TSA requirements over identification checks, which has previously impacted adoption of these systems. Forrest believes that increased trials and uptake of biometrics will gradually replace traditional identification checks, which will in turn help to speed up wider adoption of automated self-baggage drop solutions.
Trend Three: Wider adoption of a self-service journey
We agree with Forrest that we are moving closer towards a complete self-service journey through the airport for passengers. Many trials have taken place in this area of passenger processing, and there has been great success for ‘single point’ self-service applications.
Forrest notes that biometrics will play an important part in the implementation of an end-to-end self-service experience, and believes it will be this year that the trials convert to implementation and operation.
Trend Four: The impact of IATA Resolution 753
The implementation deadline for IATA Resolution 753 is set for June 2018, and Forrest says that this will mean that airports and airlines will be making more investments in baggage management systems in order to comply.
IATA Resolution 753 has been put together to implement an improved solution to track passenger baggage. There are four main points at which baggage will be monitored and recorded, and airlines will have to know where the bag is in its network to comply with the new regulation.
We will be watching these trends very closely over the next twelve months, and look forward to the introduction and implementation of the latest products, systems and technology. Follow us as we report throughout the year.


This Hybrid Solution Helps Managing Queues Easier and Cheaper

Most queue-management systems

today work on either WiFi or camera technology, each of which comes with its unique benefits and disadvantages. Imagine what is possible when you combine the two.
Combining and refining existing technologies to take maximum advantage of their benefits, while at the same time reducing – or even eliminating – the negatives, provides the perfect opportunity to bring real change to the market. That is why we are excited to propose a market-leading hybrid Cam/Wi-Fi solution, which does just that.

Sensors, whether camera or WiFi-based, are costly to install and calibrate, and there is a direct correlation between numbers, cost and lead-time. In other words, keeping the volume to a minimum while maintaining a high accuracy level is in everybody’s interest.
Thanks to sophisticated data fusion, the hybrid Cam/WiFi solution can calculate occupancy numbers with high precision, thereby minimising the number of camera installations, while still achieving near 100% penetration. Also, robust queue time measurements, as well as state-of-the-art, predicted waiting times can be presented.

Orange curve: Occupancy based on manual in/out counts. Blue curve: Occupancy based on the BlipTrack Cam/WiFi Hybrid solution.

The BlipTrack Cam/WiFi hybrid combines the strengths and minimises the disadvantages of two independent technologies, giving you a solution that:

+ provides high accuracy as with a pure camera-based solution, but at a significantly lower cost due to fewer instalments;

+ thanks to fewer instalments, is quicker to implement and faster to calibrate;

+  has a >95% sample rate, which is more than adequate for measuring occupancy and queue;

+  robust to ceiling heights and obstructive views and;

+  does not require a dedicated network for sensor connectivity;

Solutions to measure occupancy and queue times do not need to result in cameras taking up every available corner, nor do they need to be prohibitively expensive. By using the right combination of cameras and WiFi sensors, we are helping make sure that the passenger experience is smoother, quicker and much more pleasant.

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Munich Airport trials AI-enabled robot in Terminal 2

Munich Airport is testing a humanoid robot equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) in its Terminal 2.

The robot, named Josie Pepper, welcomed passengers in the non-public area of the terminal. For her first deployment, the robot speaks English and waits near the departure for the shuttle to the satellite building. Here, it welcomes passengers and answers their questions about shops, restaurants and air traffic.
The computer is connected to the Internet via WLAN so has access to a cloud in which spoken information is processed, interpreted and linked to the data of the airport. The type of robot does not speak finished text, but answers individually to a question through its ability to learn.
The 1.2m-tall robot was developed by the French company SoftBank Robotics and it powered by artificial intelligence and Watson Internet of Things technology from the IBM cloud. When the robot speaks, it lights up green around its eyes. Its hands and fingers are human-like, and it moves on rollers.
The pilot phase will analyze how Josie Pepper reacts with passengers and how they receive the robot.

Written by Kirstie Pickering
March 6, 2018

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This company plans to use AI to reduce baggage mishandling at airports

Geneva-based IT and telecommunications services firm SITA will employ artificial intelligence (AI)

and other new technologies to solve issues around baggage movement in airports in order to save time and cost of operations.

According to a white paper by the company, more than 4.5 billion bags are handled by industry baggage systems each year but airlines and airports will have to cope with twice that number as passenger numbers are set to double over the next 20 years. Though the air transport sector has brought down the annual mishandling cost from $4.22 billion to $2.1 billion, the industry is still looking at ways to bring down the number.

“SITA has a unique role to play in realizing the potential of data, and baggage management is one area that will benefit. It is an area we are strongly focused on, collaborating across the industry to innovate,” Ilya Gutlin, president of SITA Air Travel Solutions, said.

According to SITA, the industry’s immediate focus should be on implementing the International Air Transport Association’s Resolution 753. This resolution requires member airlines keep track of each bag, share that tracking information with all incumbents involved, and deliver those bags back to passengers at their destination.

“The bag tracking data that will be generated and collected under Resolution 753 will provide the air transport industry with a rich stream of data. This can be enhanced with AI tools to create greater efficiencies in baggage operations and, ultimately, to improve our experience as passengers,” Gutlin explained.

From an operations point of view, AI will allow airports and airlines to learn what baggage routes cause the most stress on their systems and what factors are most likely to cause them, he said. These systems could also generate insight into the patterns of baggage movements that would enable airlines to deliver bags more effectively, Gutlin added.

“In this vision of the future, autonomous loaders could be used to transport bags between the terminal and aircraft. Baggage data will also allow airlines and airports to provide passengers more relevant information on their baggage as it makes its journey from departure to destination,” SITA explained in the paper.

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Airfare Big Data: What’s in it for your airport?

Airfare Big Data: What’s in it for your airport? Network monitoring & route development new source of insight


Airfare data is highly relied upon by airlines for pricing activities and route profitability studies. Still few airports are tapping into this source of insight.

In this webinar we will look at how Airfare Big Data allows Airports to:

    • Analyse airline customers’ performance
    • Identify new revenue opportunities

We will also analyse one of the most celebrated success stories of 2017: Norwegian’s long-haul operations from London Gatwick to New York J.F.K. We will look at how to evaluate the airline’s performance and its impact on Gatwick’s operations.


Chris Buckingham

Senior VP Sales at Infare



Anders Nygaard

BI Solutions Product Manager at Infare