New anti-drone tech tested at Ottawa Airport

he Director General of ACI World has said that innovation is key to the growth of African airports but regulatory support is needed.

Airports Council International (ACI) World has emphasised the importance of innovation to the sustainable growth of the airport sector in Africa at the recent ACI Africa Annual General Assembly and Regional Conference and Exhibition.

“According to our latest data, ACI forecasts a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 4.7 per cent from 2018 to 2023 in Africa, with passenger traffic expected to grow beyond 450 million by 2040,” said ACI World Director General, Angela Gittens. “Airport leaders are faced with pressure to manage performance and growth, without constantly adding infrastructure and cost, while striving for environmental sustainability and robust security.

“In the spirit of No Airport Left Behind, we need to consider solutions for airports big and small, with different regulatory and operational realities, and how we can help everyone to grow. Innovation is key to the sustainable growth of African airports.”

ACI Africa Secretary General, Ali Tounsi, also spoke about how “airports provide the perfect environment to foster innovation, bringing together many processes, controls, customers and stakeholders in a complex system that requires constant coordination and communication, but are we ready?”.

“Both NEXTT (New experience travel technologies) and Smart Security are programmes that address many of airports’ challenges and which have the potential to bring technological innovation to the heart of aviation,” Gittens continued. “No innovation programme can be successful, however, without regulatory support, which includes a partnership approach between industry and government, and a flexible, adaptable regulatory framework.”

New anti-drone tech tested at Ottawa Airport

ZEESTOW, GERMANY – MAY 15: A commercial passenger plane flies overhead as a multirotor quadcopter drone used for aerial photography flies on June 7, 2011 near Zeestow, Germany. Many governments in Europe and North America have recently introduced legislation to allow the commercial use of drones for a variety of purposes. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The Ottawa International Airport will test new drone detection technology in an effort to counter the threat posed by the proliferation of unmanned aerial vehicles.

The year-long pilot project will evaluate the accuracy and speed of a radar-based drone detection system, which needs to be in place before another system to bring down UAVs can be introduced.

“Given the impact that drone sightings have had on other airports from a security, passenger disruption and economic point of view, we think it’s quite important,” Ottawa airport authority spokeswoman Krista Kealey said Tuesday.

The airport authority is conducting the test in concert with Nav Canada, the not-for-profit company that owns and operates the country’s civil air navigation system.

In December 2018, the threat posed by drones was graphically illustrated when London’s Gatwick Airport was closed for two days by UAVs that were deliberately and repeatedly flown into its airspace.

The incident caused travel disruptions across Europe — Gatwick is the second busiest airport in the U.K. — and resulted in 160,000 passengers’ missing their flights. Those responsible for the drone attack have never been identified.

Gatwick’s experience led to the creation in North America of a blue ribbon aviation task force to address the drone threat. Both Ottawa airport authority chief executive Mark Laroche and Nav Canada CEO Neil Wilson were on the 13-member task force that issued a final report earlier this month.

The report identified a number of critical policy gaps in Canada and the United States.

A drone hovers over Petrie Island park during a demonstration flight. MICHEL COMTE / AFP/Getty Images

Among other things, the task force said both governments need to put in place a remote identification system — what amounts to a digital licence plate — for drones so that airports, police agencies and aviation authorities can distinguish approved UAV flights from errant or illegal ones. That system will become even more important as UAVs become part of regular air traffic.

The report also recommended that the Canadian government give local law enforcement officials and the RCMP the authority to bring down rogue UAVs. That authority now rests exclusively with the Canadian military.

“The time has come to take meaningful action on this issue to protect the nation’s travelling public,” task force co-chair Deborah Flint, CEO of Los Angeles World Airports, said at the time of the report’s release.

Flint said the escalating frequency of UAV incidents, and the risks posed by “careless, clueless or criminal” drone activity, represents a challenge that has to be met by the Federal Aviation Administration and Transport Canada in concert with airport authorities.

In Ottawa, the airport authority will test a drone detection system developed by defence contractor QinetiQ Canada. The British-based firm’s Obsidian system was designed to identify and track small drones, which can pose a threat to airports, prisons and other sensitive government installations.

“These small and extremely agile platforms can be used to deliver contraband, capture intelligence and potentially deploy explosives without detection,” the QinetiQ website warns.

Obsidian uses three-dimensional radar to recognize telltale drone features — such as its rotors — to ensure that birds and other wildlife are not accidentally identified as UAVs. The system is based on a radar unit the British Army uses to warn of short-range aerial attacks.

The new system is expected to become operational next month at the Ottawa airport.

Several options exist for taking illegal drones out of the sky, including electronic jammers that block the signal to a drone and AI-enhanced signals that “hack” the controls of a UAV. Birds of prey, nets and lasers are also being tested as drone killers.

Last year, at least five UAV incidents were reported in the vicinity of the Ottawa airport, including one near-collision in which a drone narrowly missed a commercial jetliner.  The May 2018 incident involved a Republic Airlines Embraer 170 arriving from Chicago. The pilot reported that a drone missed the aircraft by “approximately 10 feet” while the plane was less than four kilometres from the airport. 

Drones have also been used in at least one assassination attempt. In August 2018, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro was attacked by two commercial drones carrying explosives that blew up in the sky while he was giving a speech from a reviewing stand.


JFK unveils Vision-Box biometrics

By Tara Craig on October 14, 2019

Vision-Box and Terminal One Group Association (TOGA) have announced a landmark agreement providing seamless biometric boarding at New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK).

German airline Lufthansa is the launch carrier, deploying the one-step paperless biometric boarding process at its largest US gateway. Air France, Japan Airlines and Norwegian Airlines are expected to follow suit.

The digital advancement of the passenger experience at JFK’s Terminal One is a partnership between Vision-Box, TOGA and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). With rising passenger volumes and increased demand for quicker and contactless processes, TOGA opted for seamless biometrics. By using facial recognition instead of passport and boarding pass checks, it has been possible for up to 500 passengers to board an aircraft in less than 20 minutes, significantly improving the passenger experience.

“Our Vision-Box Orchestra platform enables airports and airlines’ capacity to grow their digital capacity and substantially improve performance indicators, while seamlessly securing passengers’ journeys and privacy,” said Miguel Leitmann, CEO and Founder of Vision-Box.

The biometric platform is designed to securely identify travelers through a brief glance at a camera, instantly verifying their identity with US CBP. The one-step process validates the eligibility of the traveler without having to present a passport or boarding pass. Aircraft entry is accomplished with a full digital boarding experience, where passengers are boarded in a seamless and paced way, allowing the airlines to save time and gain efficiencies.

The platform has been adapted according to the individual carriers’ boarding processes, with next-generation common-use services giving JFK one of the largest biometric boarding capabilities yet deployed in the USA.

The platform has been adapted according to the individual carriers’ boarding processes, with next-generation common-use services giving JFK one of the largest biometric boarding capabilities yet deployed in the USA.

The solution is based on Vision-Box’s Orchestra shared biometric services platform, which enables a quick and secure data exchange between stakeholders for a fast, intuitive and seamless process. It provides unprecedented security by confirming to the highest degree of certainty the identity of boarding passengers and the authenticity of their documents, utilizing the USA’s Department of Homeland Security CBP Traveler Verification Service.

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Self-driving wheelchairs ready for passenger tests at Tokyo-Narita Airport

New self-driving wheelchairs being tested at Tokyo-Narita International Airport are capable of independently detecting and avoiding obstacles.

The latest round of tests for self-driving wheelchairs have been completed at Tokyo-Narita International Airport by All Nippon Airways (ANA).

The wheelchairs, which were initially debuted in May 2019, are now ready to take the next step in having passengers experience the latest technology.

“ANA has always prioritised making our services accessible and we strive to set the standard for both technological innovation and accessibility so these tests will go a long way towards making sure that the full benefits of Narita Airport are open to all passengers,” said Juichi Hirasawa, Senior Vice President of ANA. “The self-driving wheelchairs integrate the latest smart technology to help those that are unfamiliar with Narita Airport reach their gates on time.

“ANA aims to simplify all aspects of the travel experience and these self-driving wheelchairs will help take some of the stress out of making connections at the airport.”

The self-driving wheelchair tests are being conducted at Tokyo-Narita Airport because of the airport’s status as a prominent international hub. With large distances between gates separating some connecting flights, approximately 300 wheelchairs are needed per day to help passengers who need assistance reach their gates quickly and conveniently.

The self-driving electric wheelchairs being tested are capable of independently detecting and avoiding people and obstacles on the way to their destinations. The wheelchairs function by following a predetermined leader to a common destination and ANA staff will be on hand to serve as guides.

The next tests with passengers are planned from 9 October until 28 November 2019 and the wheelchairs are aimed to be fully implemented at Narita Airport after 2020.


Dubai Airports recognised for innovation and continued commitment to passenger experience

Dubai Airports has been honoured with awards for Tech Innovation of the Year and Airport of the Year at the 2019 Aviation Business Awards.

The Tech Innovation award was accepted by the Business Technology and Airport Operations Control Centre teams responsible for the delivery and implementation of realtimeDXB, a bespoke cloud-based platform with the ability to gather and visualise data generated by more than 50 operational systems across Dubai Airports and partners at DXB. The platform is an information-sharing and decision-support system that provides wide operational situational awareness for all users, enabling real-time decision-making to constantly improve delivery of efficient operations and the best possible passenger journey.

As the world’s busiest international airport, welcoming over 89million passengers in 2018, Dubai International (DXB) was recognised by industry peers for the efforts made to ensure a seamless and enjoyable customer journey. As well as the technology implementations, in 2019 Dubai Airports also announced its commitment to transforming the customer experience with the launch of brand DXB, creating a destination within a destination and a place where travellers want to spend time.

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Humanoid robots begin operating in Christchurch Airport’s terminal

Technologies such as humanoid robots, autonomous shuttles and virtual reality are all being trialled at Christchurch Airport.

robot pepper

Robot Pepper has been added to Christchurch Airport’s study of disruptive technologies, alongside the autonomous smart shuttle and virtual reality training for its fire service.

Airport Chief Executive, Malcolm Johns, said three Pepper robots have been tested at the airport by staff, but one is now about to begin operating in the terminal.

“We want to understand robots to consider what they can and might do to assist us and our airport visitors,” Johns said. “We are interested to see what people think and feel about interacting with a robot and what information they get and might like from it.

“Pepper is our first step in that direction and what I hope is the first of many robotic innovations people will see here over the next 10 to 20 years.”

At the same time, another Pepper will be put through its paces with University of Canterbury’s (UC) Human Interface Technology Lab NZ (HIT Lab NZ), in a continuation of the collaboration between the airport and the university.

“We are lending the HIT Lab a Pepper for students to understand and suggest how it could enhance our customers’ journeys,” said Airport Manager of Digital Solutions and Data Technology, Art Martinson. “Pepper is a robot designed to interact with humans. It is 120cm tall, can recognise faces and basic human emotions, respond to requests made on the touchscreen on its chest and hold a conversation. At the moment, topics of conversation are limited, but growing all the time.”

Professor Rob Lindeman, Director of HIT Lab NZ, is UC project lead for exploring Pepper’s capabilities and programming the humanoid robot to interact most effectively with visitors at the airport.

“We are very excited to bring our deep knowledge and understanding of user engagement with technology to work on this fun project. It’s great to have such a forward-looking neighbour that is willing to embrace new technologies and explore how we can transform public understanding and acceptance of technology such as robots.”

From today, Pepper is in the Digital Innovation Zone on the first floor of the airport terminal for a few hours each Monday to Friday.

Johns said: “We will observe how it interacts with our visitors to the airport. Pepper will have a minder paying close attention to what happens when it makes new friends. The robot gets ‘tired’ after a day’s learning, so some visitors will see it re-charging behind glass alongside information to help people understand what is happening.”

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SHARE SELECTION Home News U.S. Sport TV&Showbiz Australia Femail Health Science Money Video Travel DailyMailTV Discounts Latest Headlines Royal Family News World News Arts Headlines France Most read Wires Login Wednesday, Oct 9th 2019 4PM 18°C 7PM 13°C 5-Day Forecast New York’s LaGuardia, New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International and Honolulu’s airport are rated the worst among passengers, survey reveals

  • J.D. Power survey released on Tuesday ranks the best and worst airports
  • Topping the list are the Portland, Indianapolis and Jacksonville airports
  • At the bottom sit Newark Liberty, LaGuardia and Honolulu International 

A new passenger survey ranks New York’s LaGuardia, Newark Liberty International in New Jersey and Honolulu International as the worst airports in the nation.

The J.D. Power 2019 North America Airport Satisfaction Study ranked passenger satisfaction with North American airports on a 1,000-point scale in the mega, large and medium size categories.

In the ‘mega’ category, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport ranks highest in passenger satisfaction with a score of 786. 

Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport/Wold (779) ranks second among the megas, while Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (777) and Orlando International Airport (777) rank third in a tie.

Major construction is seen underway outside LaGuardia, which was ranked the worst in a new study of passenger satisfaction at North American airports

Major construction is seen underway outside LaGuardia, which was ranked the worst in a new study of passenger satisfaction at North American airports 

This J.D. Power chart shows the 2019 passenger satisfaction scores for 'mega' sized airports

Among large airports, Oregon’s Portland  International Airport ranks highest with a score of 833. Dallas Love Field (826) ranks second and Tampa International Airport (822) ranks third.

In the medium category, Indianapolis International Airport ranks highest with a score of 833. Jacksonville International Airport (831) ranks second and Buffalo Niagara International Airport (829) ranks third.

Across all categories, LaGuardia ranks the worst, with a score of 662. Newark was second worst at 695, and Honolulu International was third at 719.

The study’s authors said that major construction projects and the disruption they cause had a significant impact on passenger satisfaction this year

‘With major terminal construction projects now underway in Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta and many other airports, it is becoming impossible for travelers not to experience some form of disruption,’ said Michael Taylor, Travel Intelligence Lead at J.D. Power, in a statement. 

‘While these projects are absolutely necessary to address surging demand, they are currently causing passenger delays and confusion,’ he added.

‘This translates into a rushed passenger experience and less money spent on food, beverage and retail—and it’s slowing the progress of the airport satisfaction we’ve seen in the past several years.’

A long line of travelers waits to board a flight at Newark International Airport last year. Newark ranked second-worst overall in a new passenger satisfaction survey

This J.D. Power chart shows the 2019 passenger satisfaction scores for medium sized airports
The overall customer satisfaction score this year for North American airports was 762, up just one point from 2018. 
The study noted that the experience of getting through airport security—a perennial drag on airport satisfaction scores—has improved five points.
The authors attribute this to improved TSA processing and more widespread adoption of biometric screening technologies that move passengers through security faster. 

A long line of travelers waits to board a flight at Newark International Airport last year

Putting the passenger first with new technologies at Indonesian airports

Gidionton Siagian from Angkasa Pura I Airports explained why the future of airports will be based on passenger experience, automation and biometrics; an insight into the technology trends in Indonesia.

The Airport IT and Security conference 2019 (AITS) attracted delegates from all around the world to discuss some of the biggest topics facing the airport sector, as well as share experiences and future plans. There, International Airport Review met Gidionton Saritua Siagian, Vice President Information Technology at Angkasa Pura I Airport, to find out what new technologies some of the biggest airports in Indonesia were implementing and how they are focusing on the passenger.

The implementation of new technologies

“We have just implemented Auto Gate in Bali, which means that some people that come in and out of our countries can go through immigration lines without a security officer,” said Siagian when we asked what new technologies they are implementing. “So, they can just put their passport down and then the Auto Gate will verify them in the system and they can pass through. There is still security, but we provide those two options currently. They can go to the officers or they can go to the Auto Gate. That’s our pilot project and soon we will deploy it to the other big airports.”

Angkasa Pura is responsible for the management of airports in Indonesia and according to recent figures, the airports have had capacities of 30,700,440 people, but the movement was 49,237,437 passengers. Are new technologies like the Auto Gate been put into place to help with passenger movement, and more importantly, is it working?

“Yes,” confirmed Siagian. “The reason for doing this is because we want to make sure that the passengers can have a quick queuing experience. Looking at the current immigration lines, sometimes it makes passengers really stressful. It’s why we are going to improve the passenger experience through the Auto Gates.”

But that’s not the only new digital initiative that Angkasa Pura Airports is putting into place to ensure passengers aren’t spending all their time in their airports queuing: “We also implemented what we call X-ray grade three. That means that the gate is able to detect some other objects that cannot be detected with our common x-rays. They can detect some liquids, for example, and that x-ray will automatically distinguish whether this is safe baggage or not. So there is no pause during x-ray checking or x-ray scanning: It’s zero pause.”

Facial recognition

Many airports are turning to facial recognition to help improve passenger flow, and this is also a focus for Angkasa Pura Airports.

“We are planning to implement facial recognition to replace manual checking of passport or boarding passes as this usually takes time and yet again the queuing line becomes longer and longer. So, with facial recognition, we would basically like to connect it with our national identity agency. When passengers come into the airport, they just look at that screen, and the gate will open if the passenger is in the PNR system.”

Biometrics and facial recognition, though undoubtedly beneficial in regards to passenger flow, does come with privacy issues. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for instance, is using two-factor authentication and strong encryption to transfer data and it discards the photos of U.S. citizens no more than 12 hours after their identities have been verified. Furthermore, CBP’s approved partners are not permitted to retain any photos taken through this process for their own business purposes. But how will Angkasa Pura Airports ensure privacy for its passengers?

“There is a separate body in the government that we need to talk to, and also the Ministry of Transportation,” Siagian said, admitting that facial recognition and biometrics is a big undertaking, but one that needs to happen. “We have to adopt it, but we just need to make sure that it is under our regulations. We need to prepare for it and work with the government because sooner or later every airport will have these kinds of systems. It’s just a matter of time.”

Basing the future of airports on its passengers

“The way I see it, in the future, airports will be much more passenger-centric, meaning that the passengers will be entertained to a level where the technology will assist them before departure and after arrival,” Siagian explained. “For example, Incheon Airport also showed that they are focusing on automation for the passenger. We can send our luggage to the airport even a couple of days before departure. We can go to our mobile applications where we can ask the agency, or somebody else, or any company to deliver our luggage to the airport. So going to the airport will be hassle-free. We just need to bring our own selves, right?

“We have had discussions already in Indonesia about implementing new technologies like automation in our airports, but we are surprised that it’s already there in so many other airports. I believe it is not a dream and it will become true, and soon. This technology trend is real and we cannot just dream about it – it needs to work.”

Digital trends

We speak about trends a lot in the airport sector and heavily discuss what we believe are the future of airports, but does this mean that Siagian believes we are moving on from discussion to actual implementation soon?

“These changes will be very quick. We never thought, in Indonesia, that we’ll have electronic payments. Just a couple of years ago we were not confident that we would ever use a mobile phone to make payments. But, when it entered the market, everybody followed it and used it. So, I believe the same will happen with these new technologies in the airport sector.”

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport is plastic-free

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport has adopted various recycling initiatives and is now 100 percent plastic-free.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) is now 100 percent single-use plastic-free.

GVK Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL), which manages the airport, has introduced and implemented a 360-degree plastic ban as per the guidelines provided by the Government of India. Since the Government of Maharashtra’s statewide prohibition on single-use plastic in July 2018, the airport has said it has collaborated with all its stakeholders including the airlines, concessionaires, F&B and retail outlets, duty-free, aircraft ground handlers and the public and private offices, to eliminate plastic across both its terminals.

The airport has also emphasised the need to reduce, reuse and recycle and has adopted various recycling initiatives to reduce the impact of plastic waste on the environment. All the waste generated from airport operations is being collected, segregated at source, stored and disposed as per the regulatory requirements.

“At GVK MIAL we take pride in our values on our integrity, customer focus and passion for excellence, all this by keeping sustainability as our central goal,” said a MIAL spokesperson. “As a global airport, over the years we have implemented various path-breaking green initiatives be it with regards to carbon neutrality, utilisation of solar energy, recycling waste and generating organic compost, releasing a sustainability report as per the GRI standards, among many such initiatives.”

CSMIA has banned all single-use plastic items including disposable cutlery made up of Thermocol (polystyrene or plastic), PET/PETE bottles, plastic bags, disposable dish/bowls for food packaging, straws and bubble wraps.

MIAL has also encouraged the use of various environment-friendly alternatives, including the use of steel straws and cutlery and other items made up of corn starch and other biodegradable materials. 

“Having already initiated the ban in 2018, our main aim was to provide passengers with alternatives that do not affect their pleasant experience at CSMIA while, at the same time eliminate the use of single-use plastic across all airport operations along with our stakeholders,” the spokesperson continued.

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