Post-Corona Era – Only innovative technologies can help

With the huge impact of Covid-19 on the profitability and operations, it is a matter of survival of airports and airlines to re-invent themselves and to come up with ways to get through this crises in one piece. If there is one thing that we can say with absolute certainty, it is the fact that ‘it will never be the same as before’. Innovative and effective technologies can help to make the difference. The Teleportel Live Video Interaction Kiosk is one of those technologies that can make the difference.

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Airports welcome new European Health Safety Protocol as “risk-based, effective, proportionate and practical”

ACI EUROPE has signalled a safe return to air travel, as the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published their anticipated Aviation Health Safety Protocol.

ACI EUROPE has signalled a safe return to air travel, as the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published their anticipated Aviation Health Safety Protocol.

Welcoming the new guidance addressed to European States, Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI EUROPE, highlighted the imperative of ensuring the safest and healthiest passenger experience possible as a number of States are looking at lifting restrictions to travel – so that air connectivity can be gradually restored.

“Safety and security have always been uncompromising priorities for aviation, and both are firmly ingrained into every airport’s operations and corporate culture. Building on this track record, the Aviation Health Safety Protocol designed jointly by EASA and ECDC is fully aligned with our industry’s focus on passenger and staff wellbeing. Crucially, it has the four vital ingredients needed to contain and limit COVID-19 transmission risks during air travel. It is risk-based, effective, proportionate and practical. With this Protocol, passengers can return to air travel with confidence.”

He added: “The ball is now back at national level. We urge European States to fully adhere to what EASA and the ECDC are recommending. This is the European standard they need to follow, and they should not depart from it – so we can ensure truly uniform and coherent measures across our continent. Doing otherwise would only risk working against passenger confidence and further delay the restoration of air connectivity, and with it the recovery of travel and tourism across our continent.”

Most airports have already anticipated many of the measures outlined by EASA and ECDC, and all are looking forward to continuing to work closely with their health and aviation authorities.

ACI EUROPE also stressed the importance of responsible and abiding behaviour from passengers – especially as regards the wearing of face masks, hand hygiene and limiting direct physical contact with other travellers and staff. Jankovec commented: “Everyone needs to embrace what is essentially a new etiquette for air travel – just as we have been doing in our daily routine for weeks. This means effective communications will be as important as the measures themselves, and this is something ACI EUROPE has already started working on with its membership in cooperation with EASA.”

To further support its 500+ airport membership, ACI EUROPE will shortly publish industry “Guidelines for a Healthy Passenger Experience”, which will further build upon the EASA and ECDC protocol and provide detailed implementation strategies as air services resume.

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How will COVID-19 change the airport business model?

By Max Hirsh PhD, research professor – University of Hong Kong; managing director – Airport City Academy on May 22, 2020 Opinion

As airports begin to reopen over the coming months, they’ll find themselves in a very different operating environment: airlines tottering on the edge of bankruptcy, national governments providing sporadic infusions of cash, and the ever-present threat of a new wave of shutdowns. All these factors will have a big impact on how airports make money –and how they spend it. Moving forward, airports will see a major reconfiguration of their cost centers and revenue sources, leading to a paradigm shift in the airport business model. What components of that model will be the most resilient? And which are most vulnerable to disruption?

An analysis of cost centers is beyond the scope of this article, but here are a few brief thoughts anyway. In the short term, airports will need to allocate a bigger part of their budget to health and hygiene. We’ll also see airports spending more money on digitization and climate change adaptation. Both will lead to big up-front costs but will provide considerable benefits in the long run. Full automation of check-in and CIQ procedures will cut down on airports’ labor costs. And while making airports more resource-efficient will require major capital investments, these measures will reduce ongoing energy, water and waste disposal charges.

What about revenue sources?
Prior to coronavirus, airports derived about 60% of their revenue from aeronautical charges – that is, fees levied on airlines and passengers. The remaining 40% came from non-aeronautical revenue such as travel retail, parking and property development. How future-proof is that business model, given the scale of the current crisis?

Let’s start with the bad news: airlines are screwed. With virtually no customers in the air and debts piling up, they’re struggling to pay their bills. Many are counting on parking and landing fee waivers to get through the crisis. That has big implications for airports. On average, they earn about 20% of their revenue from those airline charges. Airports in North America, where airline charges make up closer to 40% of total revenue, are especially exposed.

Airports’ immediate challenge is to replace that missing income
One option is to request government subsidies until air traffic recovers. But ongoing transfers could prove to be a tough sell, both financially and ideologically. Another option is to place the burden on travelers by increasing passenger fees. That shift was already happening before COVID-19, with airports levying higher passenger facility fees while reducing airline charges. But that strategy has its limits. In the EU, passengers are unlikely to feel much sympathy for airlines that are refusing to issue refunds for cancelled flights. That’s a violation of national and international laws – and more importantly, it’s a violation of trust. (I’m looking at you, Lufthansa, TAP and many other airlines out there. You’re destroying your relationship with your customers – shame on you!)

If our goal is to win back customers, raising passenger fees isn’t the right way to do it. It’s also tricky in the USA, where federal regulations cap passenger facility charges. While those rules desperately need to be reviewed, that’s unlikely to happen quickly.

So, what’s a better approach?
Successful airports will focus on increasing non-aeronautical revenue, and they’ll do that in two ways. First, they’ll adapt their terminal concessions strategy to engage with post-pandemic travel habits and shopping patterns. Second, airports will prioritize non-passenger revenue in order to expand their existing customer base.

Pandemic-proof concessions
As passengers start flying again, they will avoid activities that involve sharing confined spaces with strangers. That will take a toll on terminal concessions. As shops and food outlets adapt to social distancing rules, revenue per square foot will drop. Some concessions operators may ask for lower rents.

But there could also be some hidden benefits. To bring back skeptical customers, airlines will emphasize hygiene, well-being and bodily comfort in their ad campaigns. That could translate into increased demand for terminal space, as airlines expand cramped lounges in order to woo premium travelers. We’ll also see more demand for pay-for-use work and relaxation rooms where infrequent travelers can get away from the crowds.

At the same time, shops and F&B outlets will need to up their digital game if they want to remain profitable. That will push airports to increase grab-and-go and on-demand delivery options. Let’s say I arrive at my gate and discover that I’ve forgotten my phone charger. I’m also a little hungry. If I’m at a successful airport, I’ll be able to pull out my phone, type in ‘phone charger’ and ‘tuna salad’ and have those items delivered to me with plenty of time to spare before boarding. If I’m at a less successful airport, I’ll fly out with an empty stomach and an empty phone battery, and the airport will have missed out on a sale.

The takeaway: Physical distancing will oblige airports to redesign their lounges and concessions areas. It will also expand e-commerce opportunities inside the terminal. Leading hubs already offer pre-ordered and on-demand delivery options. Many more will join them soon. That will require big changes in shop design and staff management. It will also force airports to digitize if they want to return to pre-pandemic levels of commercial revenue.

Expand airports’ customer base
As the current crisis makes all too clear, aviation is an unpredictable business. From one day to the next, airports have experienced a massive decline in traffic. Revenues have crashed. This isn’t our first time to the rodeo: September 11, the 2008 economic crisis and the Icelandic ash cloud all presented challenges that were unpredictable, immediate and devastating in their effects. Downturns in the aviation industry are cyclical – and when air travel goes down, it falls hard and fast. These risks are inherent to our business. How can we mitigate them?

The first step is to ask who our customers are. If you ask some airport execs that question, they’ll give you a simple answer: airlines and passengers. But the answer isn’t that simple. Taking their cue from previous downturns, successful airports have expanded their customer base, beyond just airlines and passengers, to include customers on the ground. They seek out income-generating activities that are not dependent on air traffic for their success – what airport real-estate expert Pieter van der Horst calls “non-passenger revenue”.

What are some examples of non-passenger revenue? By and large, it falls into two categories: goods and services for local residents and employees, and commercial real estate for local businesses. Successful airports recognize that these non-passenger revenue sources are much more than additional income streams. Non-passenger revenue helps airports to maintain profitability during those turbulent periods when unexpected events – a terror attack, an airline bankruptcy, a public health crisis – lead to abrupt declines in passenger-related income.

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is a good example. The airport is currently operating one to two flights per hour, leaving departure concourses eerily quiet. In a day, passenger revenue disappeared. Landside, however, shops are still in business. That’s because they cater to local commuters who change trains at Schiphol, and to local residents who live in surrounding communities. Outside the terminal, dozens of office buildings house hundreds of large and small companies. All of them are locked into 5- and 10-year lease agreements, guaranteeing substantial returns for Schiphol. That’s a big help right now.

In summary, successful airports diversify their revenue sources to mitigate risk. When a terror attack or health emergency wreaks havoc on their core business, they rely on non-passenger revenue to maintain profitability.

Final thought
A recent study by McKinsey estimates that it will take until at least 2022 for air traffic to return to pre-crisis levels. In a worst-case scenario, the recovery could last well into 2023 and beyond.

In the meantime, airports will need to make peace with three unpalatable aspects of the new normal: fewer passengers, costly health regulations and airlines that don’t pay their bills on time. Successful airports will step up to the challenge by offering a wider variety of goods and services to air travelers. For nearly a decade, the per-passenger spend on those non-aeronautical items has remained constant at around US$7. We can do better than that!

Successful airports will also learn from the current crisis by diversifying their customer base, turning to non-passenger revenue to compensate for the decline in air traffic. Focusing on non-passenger revenue sources – goods and services for local consumers, along with commercial real estate for local businesses – will deliver substantial benefits to the entire industry. Airports will grow more resilient in times of crisis, and less dependent on aeronautical charges to cover their costs.

At the same time, the pandemic will have a long-lasting impact on the way we develop airport real estate – but that’s the subject of another article.

Until then, here’s a question for you: How is your airport dealing with the financial fallout from COVID-19? And where do you see opportunities to innovate the airport business model?

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Impacts of COVID-19 on aviation and the airport business

Angela Gittens, Director General of ACI World, details how COVID-19 has impacted airport business, and the recovery measures available to the industry.

Airport business affected by COVID-19

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a full-scale crisis with the imposition of travel restrictions and suspension of flights in a global effort to contain the spread of the virus. Aviation, and in particular airports, have been brought to a virtual halt and the industry is in survival mode, crippled by the loss of traffic and revenues.

Due to the fast and radical shifts in the world and the air transport industry, ACI continues to periodically update the impact of COVID-19 on airport business. As of 5 May 2020, ACI World estimates a reduction of more than two billion passengers at the global level in the second quarter of 2020 and more than 4.6 billion passengers for all of 2020.

Turning to economics, airport revenue streams have been paralysed by the unprecedented drop in aviation and commercial activity. The estimated decline in total airport revenues on a global scale is estimated to be $39.2 billion (USD) in the second quarter and more than $97 billion for 2020.

Airports must continue to meet their capital expenses obligations as they remain characterised by predominantly high fixed costs necessary for maintaining and operating the infrastructure components of the airport, including runways, taxiways, aprons, parking stands and terminal buildings. The impact of COVID-19 has thus resulted in an existential threat to airports and to the aviation industry at large.

Airports have adopted immediate measures to manage the pandemic as shown in ACI World’s recently-released ‘Airport Operational Practice – Examples for Managing COVID-19’, which describes such measures implemented at major international airports, gathered from across ACI’s membership. It is available, free of charge, on the ACI World website.

Indeed, the subject matter experts from World and Regions have come together to establish a pipeline of free support and information to assist members in navigating this period. As the industry moves into recovery mode, the information and technical guidance that we package and provide will be tailored towards supporting these efforts.

In this regard, ACI has just released a roadmap for the airport industry’s recovery in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ‘Policy Brief – COVID-19: Relief Measures to Ensure the Survival of the Airport Industry’ – outlines exceptional measures to provide policymakers with a comprehensive toolkit of solutions to ensure that the airport industry can be sustained through the crisis and lay the foundation for recovery.

Briefly, these include the protection of airport charges and revenues, tax relief, concession fee waiver, the temporary suspension of slot usages, the continuity of air cargo operations and comprehensive financial relief. These measures will ensure that financial assistance does not benefit one part of the industry over another.

ACI pledges to support its members through the global crisis and to do its part in building a thriving and resilient aviation industry

In addition, ACI is part of ICAO’s Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART), comprised of a number of its Member States, international organisations, such as WHO, and industry bodies. Over the coming weeks, the group will agree on a series of recommendations focusing on the restart and the recovery phases of getting the aviation industry moving again.

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Veovo Introduces Airport Social Distancing Solutions for Safer Travel

(London, 19. May 2020) – Veovo today announced the introduction of their Virtual Queueing and Passenger Density Management solutions, designed to help support social distancing in airports.

With COVID-19 lockdowns beginning to ease, the pace at which flying restrictions will be lifted is likely to be heavily influenced by airports’ ability to implement physical distancing measures. In support of these new requirements, Veovo has released a new addition to their stable of solutions, designed to monitor crowd density and maintain safe distancing airport-wide.

The newly introduced solutions use movement monitoring and machine learning to offer real-time and predictive passenger density and movement insights, for better live situational awareness and future planning.

Virtual Queuing

Veovo’s Virtual Queueing solution enables travellers to pre-book a time slot for processing at airport checkpoints, rather than having to wait in line.

It enables airports to control queue entry, preventing too many people from congregating in one area and evenly distributing passengers across the airport’s checkpoints. Available time slots are adjusted in real-time, based on queue wait times, changing arrival patterns and processing capacity so that passengers show up at the optimum time.

Passenger Density Management

Veovo’s Passenger Density Management solution monitors crowd density in queues and spaces across the terminal, enabling airports to take action if social distancing limits are at risk of being breached.

The solution bundles location analysis from various IoT sensors, with machine learning and an alert framework, to give a detailed view of how people move and dwell. From typical crowding zones like check-in and security to areas like gates and concessions, it continuously monitors and analyses movement to highlight the degree of risk in real-time.

Live heatmaps and dashboards show operators a reliable breakdown of the current situation, triggering tailored alarms and automated actions if density thresholds, based on current guidelines (for instance 6 feet, 1 or 2 metres), are exceeded. Recommendations to limit crowding can include capping entry to busy escalators or stairwells, adjusting security lane openings, changing call-to-gate times, updating digital signage, or distributing gate and baggage belt allocations.

With these valuable people movement insights, operators can also improve the responsiveness of sanitation service providers, directing teams to where cleaning is most needed.

Besides real-time insights, the Veovo platform also includes predictive capabilities that not only help operators manage crowding in real-time but also plan for days, weeks and months ahead. It offers detailed insights into people’s movement habits, and how factors like time of day or day of the week, or other events, affect passenger behaviour.

“Having worked with busy international airports globally, in smoothing passenger journeys, we understand the enormous challenge the industry currently faces in supporting physical distancing,” said James Williamson, CEO of Veovo. “To safely manage crowding, operators need accurate, timely data. By accommodating new social distancing needs in our solution, we enable safe and proactive planning to reduce crowds and to make sanitation and disinfection programmes more effective.”

The Virtual Queuing and Passenger Density Management solutions are quick to deploy, allowing airports to rapidly support social distancing recommendations. The solutions can provide detailed insights within weeks while allowing operators to continue adapting to maximise safety and efficiency.

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UK trial to use dogs to detect COVID-19

A UK trial is currently investigating whether dogs’ sense of smell can help detect cases of COVID-19, something that could revolutionize the process of screening people for the virus. (Reuters)

LONDON: It is common knowledge that a dog’s sense of smell, far superior to a human’s, can be deployed for a number of causes beneficial to society.

At airports worldwide, dogs are used to check people and luggage for signs of illegal drugs and other illicit goods, while some breeds are also used by police forces to help track fugitives or locate missing people.

But a UK trial is currently investigating whether dogs’ sense of smell can help detect cases of COVID-19, something that could revolutionize the process of screening people for the virus.

The trial, being conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), Durham University and the Medical Detection Dogs charity, has been allocated £500,000 ($605,185) by the UK government to assess the use of dogs as a non-invasive virus-detection method. 

The trial is expected to last up to three months, while similar trials have also been launched in France and the US.

Six dogs — labradors and cocker spaniels — will be taught to distinguish between the scent given by people with COVID-19, and those who do not have the disease, by being given various samples of each.

The samples will be presented to the six dogs on swabs and other sources, including used face masks.

The use of dogs as detectors of medical conditions, though not as well-known as their use in policing and border control, is not new — certain breeds can be taught to detect malaria, Parkinson’s disease and several types of cancer. They are known as “bio-detection dogs.”

If the UK trial proves successful, it is estimated that a single dog could screen 250 people per hour for COVID-19, expediting the process at airports and elsewhere.

“They have the potential to help by quickly screening people, which could be vital in the future,” said Dr. Claire Guest, co-founder and CEO of Medical Detection Dogs.

“We are sure our dogs will be able to find the odor of COVID-19, and we will then move into a second phase to test them in live situations, following which we hope to work with other agencies to train more dogs for deployment. We are incredibly proud that a dog’s nose could once again save many lives.”

Prof. James Logan, head of the department of disease control at the LSHTM, said: “If successful, this approach could revolutionize how we detect the virus, with the potential to screen high numbers of people.”

The UK’s Innovation Minister James Bethell said the use of dogs in other medical environments to detect ailments gave the government hope that the trial could bear fruit and deliver “speedy” results.

“Accuracy is essential,” he added, “so this trial will tell us whether ‘COVID dogs’ can reliably detect the virus and stop it spreading.”

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At Roissy airport, a laser to detect people without a mask

The technology of the French start-up Outsight begins to be implemented by ADP.By Elsa BembaronPosted yesterday at 18:52, updated yesterday at 6:52 pm

Outsight technology detects people, not identifies them
Outsight technology detects people, not identifies them Outsight

While the use of facial recognition in public space is causing more and more concerns, Outsight has developed a technology allowing to recognize a person who does not have a mask from another who wears it, while guaranteeing respect for privacy.

” We have started to develop our technology for the automotive industry, with first applications for Faurecia, targeting the autonomous vehicle market ,” explains Raoul Bravo, president and co-founder of Outsight. Faced with the Coronavirus epidemic and the emergence of new imperatives, the start-up has upgraded its “semantic 3D” camera to adapt it to these new needs. Its “autonomous laser” makes it possible “ to identify and follow characteristics linked to individuals, such as the non-wearing of a mask ”. Outsight technology begins to be deployed by ADP, in terminal 2 E at Roissy.

” Our technology is used to understand how flows of people move, where are the congestion points “, explains Raoul Bravo. In fact, applications go beyond detecting the wearing of a mask. This technology makes it possible to find objects or people with a given characteristic in a crowd, in this case, the absence of a mask. It is also used to detect queues and support ADP in its efforts to make passenger movements in the terminals easier. ” Our laser cameras can take on other functions, such as taking temperatures, ” adds Raoul Bravo.

Respect for privacy

Another special feature of the Outsight Laser is that it respects privacy. Indeed, it is a laser and not a camera. Faces are therefore not recognized. There is no constitution of image banks, nor of risks of invasion of the private life. ” It is not a camera, the laser does not recognize people, ” insists Raoul Bravo. A camera captures light while laser technology emits light. It works like a radar – or more precisely a lidar – which analyzes the shapes by ricochet of the waves emitted.

The start-up now aims to expand its field of action. It has received expressions of interest from many transport operators, mainly abroad. ” Our technology is particularly suitable for the management of trains and metros, ” adds Raoul Bravo. What give some start-up development prospects. Founded just over a year ago, it now employs thirty-five people.

This article has been translated by Google

source article in French :

COVID-19: Transport industry latest news and analysis

As the urban transport sector continues to combat new daily challenges during the global coronavirus pandemic, Intelligent Transport’s COVID-19 hub collates the latest news and views from operators, authorities and associations from around the world. Find out how the pandemic is affecting ridership, operations, revenue generation and more with our live feed, news, articles and live briefing sessions.

What measures are operators, authorities and associations taking in response to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak? We keep you updated with the latest information. ↓ Last Updated an hour ago an hour ago London begins to implement new cycle lanes

a day ago Data reveals difference in congestion in Asian cities since lockdown restrictions were implemented

Data from ride-hailing firm Grab reveals snapshots of traffic congestion before and during coronavirus lockdowns, delivering an image of the differences, as reported by Reuters.

The data collected from Grab ride-hailing drivers allows for comparative views of the cities under lockdown.

A 15-mile (23.8-km) drive down the length of Manila’s usually jammed Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue, that would normally take more than two hours, took just 20 minutes on April 7, a Reuters crew found.

Find charts and images of comparisons of other Asian cities such as Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore here.

a day ago Dubai Transport Security tests sunglasses developed to spot people with COVID-19 symptoms

a day ago ETRMA commits to support European sustainable transport COVID-19 response

The European tyre industry – represented by the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturer’s Association (ETRMA) – has announced that it is committed to collaborate with the European Institutions on a COVID-19 policy response that ensures public health, minimises economic impact, and maintains focus on the overarching objectives of decarbonising and digitalising the economy.

ETRMA said that it remains fully committed to work towards the European Green Deal, to prioritise – in partnership with authorities – the initiatives to achieve climate neutrality and digital transition, and request a supportive and reasonable timing to the overall changing regulatory framework.

The collaboration builds on a shared commitment to the European Green Deal, without compromising the important role tyres play in road safety and mobility, nor the tyre industry’s ability to innovate and remain competitive.

To this end, ETRMA has called for:

~ Speeding up the regulatory work on smart mobility to enable new digital transportation services and tyre data solutions as an opportunity for economic recovery and sustainable development

~ Supporting tyre industry investments in sustainable consumption and production by fostering market demand for products aligned with EU environmental objectives and targets, including:

~ Incentives for private consumers and public authorities (e.g., Green Public Procurement) to choose tyres and services with the best safety and environmental performance as indicated by the new tyre label regulation, or contributing to circular economy ambitions, as bus retreaded tyres do

~ Supporting remanufacturing models and the development of secondary raw materials through harmonised EU end-of-waste criteria to include products derived from end-of-life tyre

~ Strengthening market surveillance and enforcement of EU trade agreements with third countries

~ Increasing research and innovation funding to decarbonise the transport sector through a holistic approach to climate-neutral road transport within the Horizon Europe framework, which ETRMA and its members believe will be a key contribution to the success of the European Green Deal.

a day ago Transport for Wales looks to supermarkets for social distancing guidance for its trains

a day ago UK union requests clearer public transport capacity and face mask rules

Unite, which represents over 80,000 public transport workers, is warning that the UK government must establish clear rules about maximum passenger capacity and make the wearing of face masks compulsory to keep buses and other forms of public transport safe, during the pandemic.

The union issued its warning following the publication of the government’s safer transport – guidance for operators document, which provides guidance for employers in protecting passengers and workers during the pandemic.

Unite also believes the guidance on risk assessments must be stricter. Risk assessments must by detailed, dynamic, strictly adhered to, available to workers and regularly updated, it said.

Unite national officer for passenger transport Bobby Morton said: “Unite is very concerned that the document lacks clarity with regards to the maximum capacity of passengers allowed on bus and trams. If the government is serious about ensuring that social distancing is maintained there must be strict rules on maximum capacity.

“It is not good enough to recommend face coverings they need to become mandatory on public transport, this will dramatically reduce the risk of COVID-19 being transmitted.

“The government must clearly direct bus operators on how to police maximum capacity rules, this must not be the responsibility of the driver.

“Far too many bus workers have died during this pandemic and it must be made clear that they will not be expected to leave their cab which should be totally sealed off from passengers.

 “This is an issue that the government must immediately address, buses are already seeing increased usage at peak times and overcrowding issues are already occurring.

 “To run a safe socially distanced service, the number of buses in service must be increased but that will require investment from government to make it economic. You can’t run a safe socially distanced public transport network on the cheap.”

a day ago BBC News – Northern train services to increase from Monday

2 days ago UK survey reveals shift in UK’s mindset on environmental issues and transport during lockdown

As the UK government recently announced that public transport is still to only be used for essential journeys, new research from Hitachi Capital UK  has found that:

~ 64 per cent of people are now more aware of their environmental impact

~ 40 per cent of workers considering alternative eco-friendly commute  

~ Boost to electric vehicle market as one in four (26 per cent) vow to consider making switch.

Robert Gordon, CEO of Hitachi Capital UK, said: “Our research shows that people are not only re-evaluating how they work, but also the impact they have on the environment and what long term changes they are prepared to make.

“The lockdown has created a positive and fundamental shift in attitude when it comes to the environment, with the majority of people placing more importance on reducing their carbon footprint than ever before. Over a quarter of commuters would now actively switch to an electric vehicle, a significant shift pre the lockdown. Even more want more agile working, suggesting a reduction in commuting and travel for work, which again will impact on the environmental economy.”

2 days ago Barcelona records high degree of compliance with hygiene and distance standards in TMB transport

96 per cent of metro users wore a mask on TMB public transport in Barcelona, a recent survey revealed, an accessory that from this week can be found in vending machines at stations.

The rules of hygiene and distancing that have been in force since last Monday as part of the next phase of the health emergency plans. There has also been widespread use of the accessory on buses.

2 days ago Oxford exploring opportunities to improve transport networks as a result of COVID-19

Possible arrangements being explored with partners include:

~ Temporarily reallocating road space (through road closures, traffic light controlled one-way streets, and wider pavements) to allow people to walk and cycle safely into and around Oxford

~ Supporting and improving cycling for commuting and daily journeys through the creation of segregated network of cycle routes, improvement in cycling infrastructure, and additional on-street cycle parking

~ Re-organising bus routes in order to create additional road space required for pedestrians and cyclists

~ Suspending all loading bays during ‘customer’ hours to increase space for pedestrians and cyclists

~ Pedestrianising Broad Street with the removal of on-street parking bays and redesignating the space for social distancing-compliant mix of activities, including seating, but also potentially e.g. market stalls for businesses limited by social distancing in their own unit plus displaced street traders

~ Exploring an outdoor café culture, with temporary tables & chairs zones outside food premises to maintain capacity, whilst adhering to social distancing and maintaining a balance with additional space for walking and cycling.

2 days ago Protective masks and gloves available at all Moscow Metro stations

Masks, gloves and sanitisers are the new reality of the Moscow Metro passenger safety routine.

They can be purchased at vending machines or at the stations’ retail outlets and the price is fixed lower than a standard market price.

“Currently there are 966 points of sale. These are cash desks, trade pavilions and vending machines. Taking into account cash desks of suburban stations, which are also sales channels for masks and gloves, there are almost 1500 points of sale. The purpose of this measure is to create safe environment for all passengers, who could not get PPE in a pharmacy or forgot it at home. We highly recommend all passengers to use masks and gloves for going out,” shared Maksim Liksutov, the Deputy Mayor of Moscow for Transport.

Since 4 May 2020 Moscow Transport passengers purchased more than 12,800 masks.

Additionally, more than 1136 sanitisers for hand disinfection were installed at the Moscow Metro. Since 26 April 2020 sanitisers have been installed at 192 metro stations. Gradually, such devices will appear at all metro stations and the Moscow Central Circle.

Currently, more than 645,000 passengers have taken advantage of the new service.

2 days ago Lyft makes face masks mandatory for drivers and passengers

Lyft is ramping up efforts to protect riders and drivers — including establishing new health and safety standards for ridesharing. The ride share company recently announced a Health Safety Program with new policies, commitments, and products designed to address the needs of our community during this important time for public health.  

Lyft’s Health Safety Program will include:

Personal health certification for drivers and riders

Required face masks for drivers and riders

Health safety education for drivers and riders

Distribution of cleaning supplies and masks for drivers

Personal Health Certification  

Before using Lyft, every rider and driver will be required to self-certify that they will wear face masks throughout the ride, are symptom-free, and will follow CDC and local guidelines related to COVID-19. 

Specifically, riders and drivers will confirm that:

They will wear a face mask or covering

They will not ride or drive with Lyft if they have COVID-19, think they have it, or have related symptoms 

They will keep vehicles clean and sanitise their hands frequently 

They will leave windows open when possible and avoid recirculated air when possible

Passengers will not ride in the front seat.

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2 days ago TfL expects to lose £4 billion, according to BBC

A TfL spokesperson said: “We have done everything possible to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. This was the right thing to do and has saved lives.

“It is clear that the long term impact of the coronavirus will mean that we need financial support now and into the future so that we can support the recovery of London and the UK.

2 days ago Voi relaunches across France

The scooter rental company has also launched an initiative to provide low-income houses with discounted rides.

3 days ago UK issues official new guidance: consider wearing a face mask on public transport

3 days ago Bus Users calls for clarity on using public transport

Bus Users is calling for clarity on the messages surrounding travel on public transport following an easing of the coronavirus lockdown.

The charity believes the current advice to avoid public transport ignores the many people for whom walking, cycling and private transport are simply not options. It also suggested that it ignores the extensive work being done by the bus industry and Department for Transport to make bus travel safe. 

Claire Walters, Chief Executive of Bus Users, wants to see greater emphasis on encouraging safe and responsible travel: “Government figures show that nearly one in five households have no access to a car or van, while research from Transport Focus shows that 50 per cent of passengers outside London have no access to another form of transport.

“While social distancing will reduce the capacity of many buses, operators have been working tirelessly to ensure they can run as many services as safely as possible, giving priority to keyworkers and helping the rest of us to get back to work.”

Claire believes that passengers also have a key role to play in keeping themselves and others safe: “Bus drivers in particular are at the greatest risk, and no fewer than 30 having tragically lost their lives to COVID-19. Wherever possible, passengers should wear something to cover their mouth and hands while travelling, and stay as far away from other passengers as is feasible.

“Buses have a vital role to play in getting the country and the economy back on its feet. Support and funding from Government will be crucial in ensuring this happens.”

Bus Users has written an urgent letter to Grant Schapps MP, Secretary of State, calling for greater awareness of the work being done to make public transport safe.

3 days ago 80 per cent of Australians concerned about public transport hygiene, finds study

Preliminary findings of a University of Sydney survey on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on Australians’ travel activities has suggested that over 80 per cent of respondents are concerned about hygiene on public transport.

Researchers from the Institute of Transport & Logistics Studies (ITLS) at the University of Sydney Business School surveyed a sample of 1,073 Australians in the first two weeks of April this year, to provide the first disaggregated data on household travel and activities across Australia during the pandemic.

“Our survey reflects people’s trust in both state and federal governments and general compliance with travel restrictions across the community,” said Associate Professor Matthew Beck, co-author of the study.

“This level of trust and community spirit needs to continue as governments look to ease restrictions.”

Before the pandemic, weekly household trips averaged 23.9 per week and dropped by over 50 per cent to 11 each week.

Respondents considered travel by their private cars was the most comfortable option (+84 per cent) while buses were the least comfortable (-42 per cent) followed by trains (-33 per cent).

Read more survey results here.

3 days ago Lisbon considers distributing masks on public transport

In Portugal, decisions to make masks mandatory on public transport have been left to cities and Lisbon’s local government is reportedly sceptical of the long-term sustainability of measures mandating the constant wearing of face masks in public. Instead, authorities are contemplating different ways of ensuring the health of citizens through personal protective equipment – ones that the municipality itself will be able to guarantee in the long-term.

Currently, the local government of Lisbon has a total of 1.6 million masks in stock. Should recommendations be strictly followed, these masks should be changed every four hours. That means that it is impossible for the municipality to ensure enough masks for all citizens in the capital.

The mayor of Lisbon, Fernando Medina, has proposed for masks to become mandatory only on public transport.

Other measures proposed by the City Council include the setting up of hand sanitiser dispensers in all buses operated by Carris in order to further ensure the health and safety of passengers.

3 days ago TfL in talks for £2 billion support fund

According to the Sunday Times, Transport for London (TfL) is in talks about a £2 billion-pound bail-out as coronavirus restrictions continue to curtail travel in London.

TfL will likely have to delay or scrap major expansion plans in return for the funding, the newspaper reported.

The agency could “run out of funds within two months” as it is down to its last £1 billion pounds, the report said. The agency has £3.3 billion of bonds outstanding, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

7 days ago COVID-19 has accelerated adoption of technology-enabled smart cities resilience approaches, finds market advisory firm

City governments are adjusting to a new reality, with COVID-19 driving urban resilience and digital transformation strategy agendas, finds global tech market advisory firm, ABI Research. This is said to be reflected in the deployment of a range of technologies for new use cases during the current emergency:

Drones – Communication and enforcement of social distancing rules; delivery of medical supplies

New types of surveillance – AI-based remote temperature sensing (Kogniz Health)

Autonomous freight – Autonomous last mile delivery

Digital Twins – Holistic, transversal, real-time visibility for resources, assets, and services

Real-time dashboards (City of Boston) and data sharing including the use of smartphone data crowdsourcing for location tracking

“While many of the measures taken by city governments during COVID-19 are decided on the fly requiring high levels of improvisation, it has resulted in a rich laboratory type learning experience in terms of how to take advantage of the inherent flexibility of technologies to address emergency situations and challenges linked to demand-response management of assets and services,” said Dominique Bonte, Vice President End Markets at ABI Research. “This will have a lasting impact, coming out of COVID-19 during and after the drawn-out recovery period, in the form of a step change in how resilience is approached and generalised, allowing to prepare better for future calamities, a distinct silver lining on a very dark COVID-19 cloud.”

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Future Air Travel Is ‘Touchless’ Yet Terrifying: Fewer Flights, Sudden Border Closures, No Movies

Jamie Carter

Jamie CarterSenior ContributorScienceI write about science and nature, technology and travel, stargazing and eclipses.

COVID-19 has had a rapid and dramatic impact on the air transport industry over the past few weeks and months.
COVID-19 has had a rapid and dramatic impact on the air transport industry over the past few weeks … [+] SITA

How does mass-transit work if everyone has to stay two meters apart, and where national borders can open and close at short notice?

Exactly how international travel can operate smoothly and safely in the COVID-19 era is really anyone’s guess at the moment, but technology is going to play a huge role. 

That’s according to Geneva-based air transport communications and IT specialist SITA (Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques), whose new paper “A ‘New Normal’: The changing face of air transport post-COVID-19”outlines how aviation can use technology to help cope with the “long and complex” impact of COVID-19.

Here are the paper’s key takeaways: 

  • Borders could open and close with no notice period as governments take a new, more rigid approach to monitoring the health of incoming passengers. 
  • Flight schedules will be unpredictable and flights subject to short-notice cancellation and rescheduling. 
  • There could be fewer short-haul flights as online video conferencing replaces business travel. 
  • Leisure travel could be limited to infrequent long-haul trips as pressure intensifies for a more sustainable air transport industry. 
  • As demand for flights drop, airlines might shrink their fleets
  • Touch-less travel will accelerate as automation,contactless and self-service technology creates a “social distancing-friendly” passenger experience. 
  • Biometrics—digital IDs stored on phones verified with facial recognition—will be used to let passengers through security and onto aircraft. 
  • Airlines will constantly update your phone with information on your flight’s status and relevant border openings/closures to your journey.

How bad is aviation’s plight? 

The problem is, of course, that international travel is literally the scapegoat for the spread of COVID-19, and that’s not going to suddenly stop being the case. There’s been a global effort to contain the movement of people—precisely the function of aviation—firstly by the shutting of national borders, and secondly by people choosing not to travel.

SITA’s data from April 2020 shows the number of flights dropped by almost 80% globally and more than 90% in Europe compared to last year. In the U.S. the number of passengers screened by the United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) dropped from about 2.5 million passengers per day to between 130,000 and 215,000 passengers during the first week of May 2020. 

Some think that it will take until 2022 before demand for flights starts to reach pre-COVID-19 levels. 

That’s going to have big ramifications that could re-shape the airline industry. 

‘Worse than 9/11’

A lot of the predictions on what happens next to the travel industry have been based on the massively reduced demand for flights after both the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. and to a lesser extent in the aftermath of the global recession of 2008/2009. In the wake of both of those events, airlines dropped prices to stay competitive, reduced the number of routes offered, and decreased the frequency of flights. COVID-19 could be much more profound. “Emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic will not be easy,” reads SITA’s paper. “It will have a far deeper impact on the way the air transport industry will operate in future than previous industry shocks, such as 9/11, had.” 

“We can no longer consider returning to a normal operating environment for our industry, but rather one that will become a ‘new normal’.” 

So what does this “new normal” look like?

San Francisco International Airport
A lone car and wheelchair are seen at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Calif., … [+] MediaNews Group via Getty Images

Towards totally ‘touchless’ travel

Boarding passes have been available on smartphones for a few years, but the reaction to COVID-19 will see this trend become all-encompassing as the industry goes totally touch-less. The touchscreens at check-in kiosks will likely be out, replaced entirely by biometrics systems—face recognition—as touching physical infrastructure in airports becomes a big no-no. “Using biometrics, passengers can be identified at journey points such as check-in or boarding without having to touch a screen,” reads the paper.

That will include self-service baggage check-in kiosks and even waiting in queues when your baggage fails to arrive on a carousel; everything will be done via apps, while new cloud-based platforms will help airlines and airports be more flexible and scalable. “Open application programming interfaces (APIs) will unlock the data needed for mobile boarding passes, baggage check-in and tagging, security, boarding, transfers and baggage claim,” reads the paper.

Real-time updates and ‘digital identities’

“New kinds of digital identity will facilitate this smooth, touch-less journey,” continues the paper. “This will allow passengers to breeze through the airport using digital IDs stored on their phone verified with facial recognition. Passengers will expect this to be both simple and safe.” 

In short, smartphone apps are likely to become more pivotal to travel than they already are; if the status of flights, baggage, borders, and rules on quarantining arriving passengers is going to constantly be in flux as international borders open and close, passengers will need to be frequently informed and reassured with accurate, up-to-date data, according to SITA. “Apps and real-time information will be accessible from anywhere, at any time, for both passengers and employees,” reads the paper.

Will all this mean ticket prices rising or falling? 

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says the global aviation industry will lose $252 billion in 2020 in the wake of COVID-19, though demand for flights is impossible to predict.

In the long-term, we could see airfare prices increase substantially above 2019 levels as pent-up travel demand picks back up, according to Dollar Flight Club, whose “COVID-19 impact on the airline industry and airfare prices” report predicts that beyond 2021 prices of airline tickets could sharply increase 27% on average through 2025. It also suggests that, just as in the wake of 9/11 and the 2008/2009 recession, we could see mergers and acquisitions, more codeshare flights, and a reduced number of flights. All of which means less competition, and so higher prices. 

Short-term bargains?

In the short-term, there could be bargains. Dollar Flight Club predicts that airfare prices will decrease by 35% on average through 2021 compared to 2019 prices. Its report even found some roundtrip fares departing in 2020 and 2021 reduced by as much as 65% compared to pre-COVID-19 prices. 

The ‘middle seat’ conundrum

Predictions surrounding airline ticket pricing could depend on whether or not airlines have to leave middle seats empty in the interests of onboard social distancing. Alexandre de Juniac, the Director General and CEO of IATA, doesn’t think airlines should go that far, not least because it would mean leaving a third of seats unoccupied, necessitating a doubling of ticket prices. “Evidence suggests that the risk of transmission on board aircraft is low,” he said, though he confirmed that IATA wants passengers to wear face coverings, while airline crew wear face masks. “We must arrive at a solution that gives passengers the confidence to fly and keeps the cost of flying affordable,” he said. “One without the other will have no lasting benefit.”  

What else will change in airports and on aircraft?

IATA recommends these temporary biosecurity ideas: 

  • Temperature screening of passengers, airport workers and travelers.
  • Boarding and de-planing processes that reduce contact with other passengers or crew.
  • Limiting movement within the cabin during flight.
  • More frequent and deeper cabin cleaning.
  • Simplified catering procedures that lower crew movement and interaction with passengers.
  • When proven and available at scale, testing for COVID-19 or immunity passports could also be included as temporary biosecurity measures.

Meanwhile, airline strategy firm SimpliFlying reports this week that the touchless cabin could mean:

  • No more seat-back pockets, which can easily get contaminated.
  • An end to unhygienic seat-back touchscreen inflight entertainment systems; you’ll have to bring your own tablet from now on.
  • All food and drink will be pre-packaged—no sharing of water/wine bottles. It’s even possible that all inflight food service could stop if passenger see it as risky.

No one can predict what the future may bring, but it’s beginning to become clear that flying will almost certainly never be the same again. Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work hereJamie Carter

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Future Travel Experience (FTE) APEX Webinar & Pitch Session: Post COVID-19 Airports

Wednesday 13 May 
15:00 – 18:00 BST (GMT +1)

Our webinar and pitch sessions will include insight from industry leaders on how the airport and cabin experience must be evolved quickly to restore consumer confidence and enhance operations. They will also include pitches from suppliers with unique solutions, and visions, for this new world in which we have to quickly find ways for air transport to comply with social distancing practices and deliver a more contactless, seamless, automated, sanitised and digitally powered travel experience that puts the passenger in control of their journey. 

Here at FTE, we firmly believe the industry needs to evolve quickly and these webinar and pitch sessions will dive into how the industry can execute these ideas. Exclusive insights from the recent COVID-19 crowdsourced industry surveys (launched in partnership by FTE and Fast Future Research) will also be shared with participants.

The hybrid format – webinar content including interviews, discussions and Q&A with senior industry figures, plus pitch sessions from dynamic suppliers with products, services and visions to support airlines and airports as they recalibrate for the post-COVID-19 world – will add real value at a time when attending physical events is impossible.

FREE to attend for airports and airlines
$50 fee for vendors / suppliers / consultants / architects

*Very limited seating, register today to avoid disappointment

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