Amsterdam Schiphol Airport launches security-by-appointment trial

With the Security Pass, Schiphol is testing to see whether travellers value the certainty of a fixed time to go through security…



The Personal Security Pass pilot was launched at the Amsterdam airport on Tuesday November 28.

It allows passengers to reserve a slot from four days to 75 minutes before departure at the airport’s website or using the Schiphol App.

With the Security Pass, Schiphol is testing to see whether travellers value the certainty of a fixed time to go through security and how such a programme would impact the influx of passengers at security control. If the pilot project proves successful, the Pass will be rolled out for general use.

The dedicated gate for the project is in Departure Hall 1. During the pilot, 30 passengers will be able to move through the Personal Security Pass entry gate every 15 minutes. There are more than 400 time slots available each day.

It is only available on select Schengen-area flights between 10am and 1.30pm until Monday December 11.

Speaking to the British tabloid newspaper The Sun, Manager of Security Policy Daan van Vroonhoven said: “At Disneyland, it is very normal, for years already, to reserve a time slot for a ride or exhibition.”

Schiphol is no stranger to experimenting with security to try and smooth the ride for its passengers. Over summer, ‘small bags only’ lanes were tested for flyers with little or no hand luggage. They proved popular, so in September after statistics were released showing that 95 per cent of passengers waited 10 minutes or less at security, the airport’s operators announced that they would become a permanent feature.

The airport is also at the forefront of developing biometrics for security with their biometric border crossing.

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Auckland begins trial of digital air traffic control

New Zealand’s busiest airport will begin experimenting with digital tower technology,

joining a handful of other airports around the world testing how they might benefit from the system.

New ZealandSQUARE EYES: Digital towers present controllers with a huge amount of information and panoramic views of an airfield in more detail than is possible to see with the human eye

A prototype digital air traffic control is being trialled at Auckland International Airport. Airways New Zealand, the county’s only air navigation service provider, announced today that it had partnered with technology firm Frequentis to engineer the technology.

The demonstration prototype will be used to assess how digital towers could increase aviation safety and extend hours of air services in more regional locations, enhance resilience and improve traffic flows in bad weather.

Airways Chief Operating Officer Pauline Lamb said digital towers are a viable alternative to bricks and mortar air traffic control towers that have the potential to improve safety through greatly improved aircraft tracking ability and enhanced visual images.

“For example, cameras can automatically zoom in and track objects that are fast moving or otherwise hard to see, such as birds which are a serious hazard to aircraft. In low light or bad weather, infrared would provide controllers with heightened visibility.”
Digital towers present controllers with a huge amount of information and panoramic views of an airfield in more detail than is possible to see with the human eye.
This vision is enhanced with surveillance sensors and microphones. Augmented reality overlays mean controllers will be able to see additional flight data collected via radar like aircraft speed, separation between aircraft and airfield information.

“Digital towers are one of the intelligent transport technologies we are looking at to modernise our air traffic network and ensure New Zealand gets the most benefit out of an increasingly complex and busy airspace,” Ms Lamb added. “In future digital towers could support greater air connectivity, by giving us the option to extend services in areas of New Zealand where the costs of building or servicing a physical tower are currently not cost effective.”

The most recent estimates suggest that demand for air transport in New Zealand will increase by an average of 4.3 per cent each year over the next 20 years. And, with the arrival of UAVs, rockets and other new entrants into New Zealand skies, the demand for air traffic management services is increasing.
The prototype tower is not being used to manage live traffic. In the first instance Airways is exploring digital towers to see how the technology could be used as a contingency option to back-up to physical towers.
Digital tower technology is gaining a foothold internationally. Systems are currently being tested at Changi and London City Airports, and rolled out across Sweden and Norway.

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Changi airport warns of potential baggage delay due to monsoon season

SINGAPORE: Travellers arriving at Changi Airport

during the year-end holiday period may experience delays in retrieving their luggage due to the monsoon season, said Changi Airport Group (CAG) on Monday (Dec 4).

It explained that heavy rain and lightning may force ground handlers to temporarily stop the retrieval of baggage from aircraft.

“This is for the safety of the baggage handling staff,” said CAG.

“When there is lightning activity, there is also the possibility of a ‘side flash’, where dangerous static electric discharge occurs even when the workers are standing close to the aircraft and not in contact with any object,” it added, noting that lightning alerts have also been issued when it is not raining.

Last month alone, bad weather led to baggage delays for 1.5 per cent of arrival flights.

Out of 14,971 flights, there were baggage delays for 225 flights, said CAG. That is almost triple the average of 78 cases per month from January to October this year.

According to the Meteorological Service last Thursday, wet and rainy weather is expected to continue in the first two weeks of December.

It added that with the onset of the northeast monsoon, two to four episodes of monsoon surges can be expected from December to January, bringing prolonged, widespread rainfall that can last between two and five days.

Under normal weather conditions, CAG aims to get passengers their luggage within 35 minutes after the aircraft parks. It said it has achieved this for more than nine in 10 passengers.


In the case of baggage delays, CAG said it will activate messages on the monitor displays at the baggage claim belts and issue public announcements at regular intervals.

A sign or “lightning cubes” will also be placed on the relevant baggage claim belts. This is being tested at Terminal 3 and there are plans for it to be rolled out across all terminals, said CAG.

It added that affected passengers will be offered refreshments such as bottled water, canned coffee, packet Milo and biscuits while they wait for their bags. CAG has also turned some space in the Baggage Claim Hall of Terminals 2 and 3 into lounges where passengers can access WiFi  and power plugs.


Passengers can rest at the lounges at the T2 and T3 Arrival Halls while they wait for their bags to arrive at the baggage claim belt. (Photo: CAG) 

In extreme cases where the delay is expected to be long, CAG noted that some airlines offer a complimentary home delivery option.

Given that Singapore has one of the highest occurrences of lightning activity in the world, CAG said it has measures in place to protect staff.

These include having ground handlers use of wireless headsets which help to remove the possibility of lightning-induced static discharge from the aircraft.

Since August, CAG has also made it compulsory for all aircraft to perform three-point aircraft grounding, to prevent the accumulation of electrical charge by dissipating them to the ground safely.

“The safety of airport workers is paramount to CAG. We seek passengers’ understanding that we will do our best to present their bags for collection as soon as it is safe to do so, be it rain or shine,” CAG added.

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Garuda Indonesia proves ancillary services and customer satisfaction go hand in hand

As Indonesia’s flag-carrier, we are committed to putting passengers first

with award-winning ‘Excellent Indonesian Hospitality’. This is our core value and competitive differentiation. Four years ago, we asked Amadeus how we could adhere to this value while maximising revenue.

Ancillary services were the answer. They presented us with an opportunity to grow revenue in-line with this value. Together with Amadeus, we developed a large scale ancillary strategy that reinforced our commitment to hospitality, while enhancing the travel experience for our passengers. The implementation of Amadeus Airline Ancillary Services helped us do this. With Amadeus’ solution, we can sell any service through any channel. We can also offer our customers the right products and services at the right time throughout their journey. Plus, services are always consistent across touch points, giving our passengers the ability to customise their purchase and select the ancillary they value the most.

We’ve increased our ancillary revenue by giving customers more choice and attention far beyond ‘just’ the ticket. Today, I am proud to say that Garuda Indonesia has one of the highest ancillary adoption rates in Asia Pacific. We have seen an increase in ancillary revenue of +34% in 4 years, from $47.5M in 2012 to $63.8M in 2016.

At the same time, our customer satisfaction rating is also on a steady rise at +0.8 points year-over year to 86.1% in 2016. And the proof is in the pudding: Garuda Indonesia has been named ‘The World’s Best Cabin Crew’ for the third consecutive time and also as ‘The World’s Most Loved Airline’.

We look forward to working further with Amadeus to create better customer experiences while expanding our business. For more information, have a look at this Amadeus – Garuda Indonesia case study.

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Paris airports launch campaign to raise awareness about unattended luggage

Unattended luggage

Groupe ADP has launched a campaign to make passengers more aware of the significant impact unattended luggage can have on airport operations after 400 flights were delayed at Paris CDG in the first nine months of the year due to unclaimed bags.

The figure was caused by the discovery of more than 1,000 unattended bags, and means that there has been a 77.8% increase in unattended luggage at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport between 2013 and 2016

“More than 1,000 operations were carried out in the first nine months of 2017 to deal with unattended luggage at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport,” reveals Groupe ADP chairman and CEO, Augustin de Romanet.

grumpy bag
“This caused more than 400 flights to be delayed by an average of 53 minutes, with significant impact on airlines.

“Unattended bags are partially due to travellers’ absent-mindedness but also due to a tightening of weight restrictions under airline baggage policies.

“Some passengers don’t think twice about leaving their luggage at the airport to avoid paying the additional charges.”

To raise awareness amongst travellers, Paris Aéroport and the agency Human to Human have designed a campaign that will be rolled out across all airport communication channels.

To raise awareness amongst travellers, Paris Aéroport and the agency Human to Human have designed a campaign that will be rolled out across all airport communication channels.

The campaign includes showing three different video clips across 135 digital advertising screens operated by the JCDecaux; posters in the check-in areas at both Paris CDG and Paris-Orly airports; adverts on buses between the terminals and billboards at the Paris Charles de Gaulle station and several stations throughout the Ile-de-France region.

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Where Birds and Planes Collide, a Winged Robot May Help

Could robotic Birds lead to safer Air Travel ?

The bird, apparently a female falcon, wheels into view 100 feet over Edmonton International Airport, flapping her wings — hunting behavior.

She pursues a flock of starlings, which scatter into the safety of the woods. The falcon is majestic, graceful and resolute.

She is also a machine — a battery, sensors, GPS, barometer and flight control computer stuffed into a falcon-shaped, hand-painted exterior. A human on the ground controls her wings.

The Robird patrols the skies around the airport, in Alberta, Canada. Her mission is to mimic falcon behavior in order to head off a serious threat to aviation: the bird strike, which happens when a bird or flock collides with an airplane. The Robird doesn’t actually catch any prey. Its job is to alert birds to the presence of a predator, herd them away from the airport, and teach them to prefer a less dangerous neighborhood.

Small birds do little damage to a plane, even if they are sucked into an engine (“ingested” is the aviation term). But a large bird, or sometimes a flock of small ones, can bend or break engine blades.

In the worst case, big birds knock out two engines, leaving zero. As the world knows, a flock of Canada geese disabled both engines of a US Airways jet in January 2009. Capt. Chesley Sullenberger’s Hudson River landing — it was the right plane, right pilot and right circumstances — saved all 155 people aboard.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, United States civil aircraft suffered 142,000 bird strikes between 1990 and 2013. Gerald Skocdople, chief pilot for the 737 at Canadian North Airlines, said that bird strikes vary with routes and time of year — “in Canada in the middle of the winter it’s not too big of an issue.” He estimated that at Canadian North, about one flight in a thousand strikes a bird.

In the vast majority of cases, passengers won’t even notice. “The bird is usually the one that’s going to be on the losing end of that,” said Jul Wojnowski, a wildlife specialist at Edmonton airport. Few strikes are big enough to damage planes. In the United States, those 142,000 strikes destroyed 62 planes, injured 279 people and killed 25.

Skocdople said that Canadian North has had three “catastrophic engine damage incidents” from large birds in the last 16 years. All the planes landed safely. But during the times of the year when birds migrate, you think about them all the time, he said.

Birds prefer flat, open spaces where they can see predators — and that’s an airport. They also like farms and water — which often abut airports. Since birds hang out relatively close to the ground, the risk of bird strike is greatest at takeoff and landing — just when they’re also most dangerous. “Altitude is golden,” Skocdople said. “If you’re up high, the flying speed is faster, but it gives you more options.”

Airports have many ways to reduce the risk of bird strike. They try to prevent birds from coming in the first place: rid the surrounding area of crops that birds eat and can harbor small animals. Airports also scare birds away, often with things that go boom, such as propane cannons that produce startling explosions. Edmonton uses cannons and fireworks, said Christopher Chodan, a spokesman for the airport.

But birds are smart. They quickly realize that scare tactics are a bluff. Buzzards will sit on the cannon, fly up when they hear the telltale sign it’s about to go off, and then resume sitting, said Robert Jonker, operations manager at Clear Flight Solutions, the Netherlands-based company that built the Robird. “They will very quickly habituate to a threat.”

Edmonton airport has also used live falcons to scare away birds. But falcons need care and feeding, they can’t work all day, and they can’t herd birds to where you want them. And even the best-trained falcon is still a wild animal. There’s always a chance a falcon can push birds into the path of a plane — or go there herself.

And, sadly, airports kill birds. Since the Miracle on the Hudson, New York City airports have killed more than 70,000 birds, according to an Associated Press investigation.

The Robird posed a huge engineering challenge. Falcons flap their wings when they hunt. If they’re not flapping, they’re not hunting — and therefore, not scaring away their prey. Soaring doesn’t do it.

But how do you get a machine to mimic a falcon flapping its wings?

The Robird depends solely on flapping its wings for propulsion. This was the original plan of the Wright brothers — wisely abandoned in favor of fixed wings and propellers. Jonker said he worked on the Robird for 13 years — “and then I stopped counting” — to get the right flex and lift to copy the particular wing motion of a peregrine falcon.

That raptor was chosen because many birds instinctively fear it. Kevin McGowan, an ornithologist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, said that the peregrine is not large enough to be a reliable threat to Canada geese and other very big birds. Jonker, however, said that at Edmonton, the Robird was able to reroute migrating geese. And he’s developing a mechanical version of the super-predator, a bald eagle — a bird whose size poses another set of engineering difficulties.

Jonker and others who work on the Robird caution that it is unlikely to ever become an airport’s sole method of bird control. But they claim that it is likely to be a particularly good one: Because birds are hard-wired to fear raptors, they won’t habituate to the Robird. McGowan said that might not be completely true. “The closer you get to the genuine article, the better,” he said. “But even then birds figure out that some individual predators aren’t particularly scary.”

Earlier this month, a drone (not a Robird) collided with a passenger airplane for the first time in Canada. The plane had minor damage and no one was hurt. Still, airports are rightly wary of drones.

Jordan Cicoria, the managing director of Aerium Analytics, a Calgary-based company that operates the Robird at Edmonton, argues that a Robird is safer than an autonomous drone. It’s controlled by a pilot on the ground, who is always accompanied by an observer to keep track of flocks and monitor the environment. The operators are in contact with air traffic control. The Robird is programmed to stay within a confined area, over the grasses and ponds near the airport, and to stay away from runways. If it were to malfunction, it would fall straight down, avoiding the drift that can put a drone in harm’s way.

Edmonton was the first commercial airport to test the Robird, in a three-month trial that just ended. (Southampton International Airport in Britain is also doing a test, which will end in early December.)

During the Edmonton trial, the Robird’s day started when wildlife specialist Wojnowski made an early-morning drive around the perimeter to see where birds were flocking and what species were present — he’s recorded 170 different species. At 7,000 acres, Edmonton is one of the largest airports in the world, so this is not a quick errand. The Robird operators then work with Wojnowski to choose where to fly, altering the schedule during the day as necessary.

Few birds means few Robird flights. (Rain means none, and the Robird does not work well in very cold weather — something Jonker is working to remedy.) But some days the Robird flew six times, said Cicoria. “We had to randomize it. If we had a set schedule — same time, same place — the birds know not to go there at that time.”

The operators choose their spot and lob the Robird by hand, as with a paper airplane. The battery in the Robird’s head can last for 15 minutes, but falcons usually fly for only about five minutes, so the Robird does, too.

Nobody will talk about how much the airport is paying to employ the Robird. “Because it’s a trial and first of its kind, we haven’t created a full costing model yet,” said Cicoria. It’s obviously a lot, though, because of the two-man crew. Cicoria said that the crew does other survey and inspection projects when it’s not flying the Robird, to defray costs.

Edmonton collected data on how birds reacted, how long it took them to return and in what numbers. “We are trying to determine if repeated dispersals decreased the presence of birds over time,” Chodan said. The data is not yet analyzed, but Chodan said in an email: “We have seen firsthand that Robird does cause birds to leave the area it is flying in. It will not necessarily replace other measures of bird control, but it is definitely a good new tool. As the technology and techniques evolve, Robird will get more effective and efficient, so it is worth further effort to study and develop.” In the spring, when birds return to Edmonton airport, the Robird will be waiting for them.

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How airports are working to keep up with dramatic growth

BCC Research has released its “Advanced Airport Technologies, Global Markets to 2022”

report valuing the advanced airport technologies market at $27 billion by 2020, with a CAGR of 5.1%.

The largest market is in passenger, baggage and cargo handling and control systems, which are valued to reach $10,681.6 million by 2022 with a CAGR of 4.8%.

Communications systems come in second in market valuation, reaching $5.9 million with CAGR 4.7%.

Security, fire and emergency services will experience the highest CAGR at 7.5%.

Other technologies including navigational and landing aids, digital signage, airport management software and parking systems will reach a combined $5,746 million by 2022, at a CAGR of 6.4%.


Additionally, the report indicates that the greater share of airport investment is shifting to China and other emerging markets, where infrastructure is developing at a high pace to accommodate projected dramatic growth in passenger numbers.

IATA has indicated that global passenger numbers will nearly double by 2036, reaching 7.8 billion passengers, based on an average CAGR of 3.6%. This projected growth also comes with a shift to dominance of Asia/Pacific markets.

China is expected to surpass the US as world’s largest air passenger market by 2022. The UK is expected to drop from third place to fifth place by 2025 as India and Indonesia air passenger numbers increase.


This October, IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac called for greater investment in infrastructure to support growth.

“Increasing demand will bring a significant infrastructure challenge. The solution does not lie in more complex processes or building bigger and bigger airports but in harnessing the power of new technology to move activity off-airport, streamline processes and improve efficiency. Through partnerships within the industry and beyond, we are confident that sustainable solutions for continued growth can be found.”

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