Dubai’s Emirates offers facial recognition ID checks on US-bound flights

The airline has become the first non-US airline to receive approval for biometric boarding from US Customs Border ProtectionAviation

Flying to the United States from the UAE could now be much faster, as Emirates has become the first non-US airline to receive approval for biometric boarding from US Customs Border Protection (CBP).

Passengers flying from Dubai to any of Emirates’ 12 US destinations will soon be able to select facial recognition in place of ID checks, reducing the identity verification time to as little as two seconds or less per person.

In a release, Emirates stated it is hoped the facial recognition system will be completely up-and-running by the end of the year. The airline also emphasised no pre-registration is required, and that the facial recognition checks are optional – passengers can still request manual identity verification. It also stated the airline does not store any facial recognition data – that is managed by CBP.

The facial recognition technology was first piloted at departure gates on Emirates flights from Dubai to New York and Los Angeles this past July and August. According to the airline, some flights had everyone choosing to go the facial recognition route instead of manual identity verification.

Emirates already offers facial recognition ID checks on flights from the US to Dubai.

READ: Emirates to introduce facial recognition technology at Dubai airport

Abdulla Al Hashimi, divisional senior vice president for Emirates Group Security said: “Our ultimate aim is to help our passengers travel paperless, without the need for passports and IDs. Biometric boarding is one more step in streamlining processes at our hub using digital technology, saving our customers time and giving them peace of mind. We are talking with authorities of several countries to make security using facial recognition technology more acceptable and accessible.”

READ: Emirates to launch trials of ‘world’s first biometric path’ at Dubai airport

Added John Wagner, deputy executive assistant commission at the Office of Field Operations for CBP: “By comparing a traveller’s face to their passport or visa photo that was previously provided for the purpose of travel, we have streamlined identity verification that further secures and enhances the customer experience.”

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Airport RFID Baggage Readers Market Forecast By End-use Industry 2019-2025

Airport RFID Baggage Readers Market Insights 2018, is a professional and in-depth study on the current state of the global Airport RFID Baggage Readers industry with a focus on the Global market. The report provides key statistics on the market status of the Airport RFID Baggage Readers manufacturers and is a valuable source of guidance and direction for companies and individuals interested in the industry. Overall, the report provides an in-depth insight of 2018-2025 global Airport RFID Baggage Readers market covering all important parameters.

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Airport Communication Infrastructure Market Segment Analysis by Leading Players, Drivers, Regional, Competitive Landscape & Forecast To 2024

Communication infrastructure is the combination of products/equipment, various networking technologies, and network connection required for communication over a longer distance. From a multi-purpose to single-purpose network, communication infrastructure has evolved over the past few years. Airport communication infrastructure has been restructured over a period of time. This modernization has increased the agility and optimized external/internal network related cost.

Airports being gateways to regions or countries, are critical in creating the right impression on the visitors to the country. They also play a vital role in the development of various businesses and growth of infrastructure of the country. Airport communication infrastructure is the basic underlying foundation of an airport system. The associated ground infrastructure along with the existence of airport communication infrastructure is an essential element in regional development.

The global market for airport communication infrastructure is anticipated to grow due to the rising number of airports being constructed in emerging economies. The market is expected to witness steady growth over the forecast period. Modern airports are complex businesses supporting many stakeholders including ground handlers, airport authority, public services, airlines, and tenants. All have different and often challenging needs. The airport communications infrastructure is key to helping airports meet their goals.

Furthermore, the need for modernization of facilities is also resulting in the integration of airport communication infrastructure. These factors are expected to drive the demand for advanced communication infrastructure in airports. However, there are certain factors that are limiting the airport communication infrastructure market to a certain extent. One such factor is that the deployment of new solutions incurs huge expenditure.

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The airport communication infrastructure market has been segmented based on component, enterprise size, and region. Based on component, the market is segmented into hardware, software, and services. Software segment is further bifurcated into on – premise deployment and cloud deployment. The cloud based deployment segment is projected to expand at a significant pace. This is majorly due to the increase in adoption of cloud-based solutions coupled with increasing scalability offered by these solutions. Services segment is further bifurcated into managed and professional services.

By enterprise size, the global airport communication infrastructure market is segmented into large, and small and medium enterprises (SME’s). Large enterprises are expected to have a prominent share in the global airport communication infrastructure market, due to their rising investments in advanced technologies.

Geographically, the airport communication infrastructure market is segmented into Asia Pacific, North America, Europe, Middle East & Africa, and South America. North America is expected to dominate the global airport communication infrastructure market. The U.S and Canada are projected to drive the growth of the airport communication infrastructure market in this region due to technological advancements. North America is expected to have a major share in the global airport communication infrastructure market as most of the prominent companies in the market are present in this region.

Asia Pacific-based global airport communication infrastructure providers also have enormous opportunities that are lined up for them over the coming years. Asia Pacific region is expected to grow significantly on account of the rising adoption of advanced technologies and growing information and technology sector in countries such as China, India, South Korea, Japan, and the Philippines. Furthermore, rising initiatives taken by the governments of these emerging companies for infrastructure development is further propelling the global airport communication infrastructure market in this region.

Key players in the global airport communication infrastructure market include SITA, Larsen & Toubro, and Cisco Systems. The explosive growth in the number of airport communication infrastructure players coupled with significant developments in technology are expected to take place over the next five years owing to the enormous market size potential. Key players in the market are prominently focusing on introduction of advanced solutions and services in order to strengthen their position in the market.

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The report offers a comprehensive evaluation of the market. It does so via in-depth qualitative insights, historical data, and verifiable projections about market size. The projections featured in the report have been derived using proven research methodologies and assumptions. By doing so, the research report serves as a repository of analysis and information for every facet of the market, including but not limited to: Regional markets, technology, types, and applications.

The study is a source of reliable data on: Market segments and sub-segments Market trends and dynamics Supply and demand Market size Current trends/opportunities/challenges Competitive landscape Technological breakthroughs Value chain and stakeholder analysis

The regional analysis covers: North America (U.S. and Canada) Latin America (Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Chile, and others) Western Europe (Germany, U.K., France, Spain, Italy, Nordic countries, Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg) Eastern Europe (Poland and Russia) Asia Pacific (China, India, Japan, ASEAN, Australia, and New Zealand) Middle East and Africa (GCC, Southern Africa, and North Africa)

The report has been compiled through extensive primary research (through interviews, surveys, and observations of seasoned analysts) and secondary research (which entails reputable paid sources, trade journals, and industry body databases). The report also features a complete qualitative and quantitative assessment by analyzing data gathered from industry analysts and market participants across key points in the industry’s value chain.

A separate analysis of prevailing trends in the parent market, macro- and micro-economic indicators, and regulations and mandates is included under the purview of the study. By doing so, the report projects the attractiveness of each major segment over the forecast period.

Highlights of the report: A complete backdrop analysis, which includes an assessment of the parent market Important changes in market dynamics Market segmentation up to the second or third level Historical, current, and projected size of the market from the standpoint of both value and volume Reporting and evaluation of recent industry developments Market shares and strategies of key players Emerging niche segments and regional markets An objective assessment of the trajectory of the market Recommendations to companies for strengthening their foothold in the market   

Note: Although care has been taken to maintain the highest levels of accuracy in TMR’s reports, recent market/vendor-specific changes may take time to reflect in the analysis. 

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UAE trials new nano-technology to make cloud seeding more effective

The UAE’s National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) is trialling a new method of cloud seeding in the northern and eastern parts of the country. The new material includes nano-technology which aims to make the process more effective, resulting in more rainfall.

Cloud seeding has been carried out in the UAE for the past two decades, with over 200 flights taking place in 2017. Technologies have evolved over time and practices have become more effective, offering an additional water source to a country which typically has less than 120 millimetres of rainfall per year.

How does it work?

The new technology injects salt crystals with a titanium dioxide nanoparticle coating into existing, convective clouds with the hope of making rain particles denser, and more likely to fall. The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement (UAEREP) has been testing the method in the lab with much success.

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Dubai International Airport launches new taxi service, taxiDXB

As a result of passenger feedback, Dubai Airports has launched a new taxi service inside the terminal to assist travelling passengers.

Dubai International Airport launches new taxi service, taxiDXB

Passengers can now hail a taxi inside the terminal at Dubai International Airport, as well as outside. The new service, taxiDXB, is available to passengers in DXB’s Concourse B, and is free for travellers to use.

Launched with the aim of making the customer journey through DXB’s linear concourses easier, the fleet of 15 eight-seater buggies can now be picked up at points around the arrival and departure levels of concourse B, or, just as regular taxis, can be hailed when seen. Priority will be given to those who may find walking a challenge or have their hands full with young children, but the taxiDXB service is free for all to use and will take customers straight to their gate or one of the airport’s many restaurants and shops.

Frank McCrorie, SVP Operations at Dubai Airports, said: “The introduction of taxiDXB is in direct response to the needs of our customers. The design of DXB’s concourses is very linear, which some customers told us they found hard to manage when they have to reach a gate at the opposite end but lends itself perfectly to a closed-loop buggy service. We have operated similar services in the past, but this is entirely free for our customers and has proved very popular in the test phase.”

taxiDXB is operated by the airport’s speciall- trained customer service team, who are equipped with up-to-date flight movement information to ensure customers get to where they need to be in plenty of time. The service will be extended to DXB’s other concourses in the coming months.

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ANA becomes first airline to utilise self-service bag drop at Narita Airport

Baggage // Sep 2019

The self-service baggage drop is already available for international flights to most destinations, while North American destinations will become eligible by the end of 2019.

All Nippon Airways (ANA) has become the first airline to utilise the newly introduced automated self-service baggage drop system at Narita Airport. The first 10 Series 7 Auto Bag Drop (ABD) units developed by ICM Airport Technics are now live at Terminal 1 South Wing. The initiative is part of ANA’s mission to continue enhancing its airport service and provide a faster travel experience for passengers.

By integrating the self-service bag drop into its check-in process, ANA aims to upgrade both the domestic and international flight experience.

The self-service baggage drop is already available for international flights to most destinations, while North American destinations will become eligible by the end of 2019.

“ANA seeks to set the standard for the integration of technology that makes travel simpler and more straightforward, and the addition of these self-service baggage drop machines will have an immediate impact,” said Masaki Yokai, Senior Vice President, ANA. “This is simply the latest step that we have taken in our never-ending quest to simplify travel. We remain committed to working with airports and other partners to field test new technologies and develop solutions that improve customer service.”

Narita International Airport Corporation will eventually install the self-service baggage drops at all terminals. With the first self-service baggage drop machines debuting at Narita Airport Terminal 1 in the South Wing D zone, the company has labelled this area Smart Check-in Zone.


Aviation industry is experiencing a “demographic shift to a digital age” says new report

By Varsha Saraogi

SITA’s Passenger IT Insights 2019 report highlighted that with the current digital revolution facing the aviation industry, the way travellers interact with airports is changing and this is likely to influence aviation investments in the next six years.

Its survey proved that satisfaction is higher among tech-using passengers at every step of the journey, with a marked rise at dwell time, onboard and bag collection. It revealed that almost 55% of passengers are already using technology across their air travel journey through web, mobile apps and kiosks – a figure set to skyrocket in the coming years.

The study revealed that by 2025, 68% of travellers will come from the post-digital era – those who would have grown up interacting with technology to manage their lives – compared to 32% from the pre-digital era and, as a result, will be more responsive to artificial intelligence, IoT, and chatbots to assist them in their air travel.

Passenger expectations around air travel experience will change as future passengers will “no longer want an experience that is compartmentalised across airlines, airports, border agencies, or other stakeholders involved in their trip,” the study said.

Commenting on the digitalisation of the aviation industry, CEO of SITA Barbara Dalibard said that passengers will “expect travel to be seamless, where every step fits neatly with the next, delivered as a single, unified experience.”

She added: “Fundamental to meeting these demands is a requirement for more efficient operations and collaboration between the airlines, airports and other stakeholders responsible for delivering that experience. Without it, we will not be able to deliver the journey digital travellers demand.”

One of the key technologies to be implemented will be the use of digital IDs. The study showed that 59% of travellers today are already “very willing” to use their mobiles for ID verification along the journey, with a further 33% open to the idea. It said travellers who used self-scanning gates at passport control reported better satisfaction in its survey – 3.85% higher than those who had their ID checked by a human.

The report predicts that by 2021, over 70% of airlines would have investments planned for biometric ID solutions. In the future, aviation companies will focus on taking biometric recognition beyond a single airport “to a seamless experience across borders and airports,” it said. “The ambition is to adopt a single, persistent digital identity that is secure, recognised globally and, most importantly, allows the passenger to maintain control over that identity.”

The report stressed that implementing digital IDs will also boost airport security. “Biometric technology – along with mobile solutions and AI will be critical to creating a secure identity verification solution that everyone – from the passenger to the border agent, trusts. If this solution can be developed, it will deliver a near walkthrough experience at the airport,” it said.

Alongside using digital IDs for checks, airports – in the future – will be able to offer a seamless experience for passengers who will then be able to use these digital IDs to make mobile payments for services on demand.

The report concluded that the key technologies that will shape future tools and services available to passengers will include cloud services, 5G, biometrics and secure travel tokens, automation, chatbots and AI – and a combination of these technologies.

“To deliver the kind of streamlined experience that the digital travellers demand, multiple organisations will need to collaborate including airlines, airports, governments at the border, ground handlers and service providers in and outside the airport,” the report said.

“Sharing relevant data in a secure and timely manner, as well as reaching agreement on standards and processes, will be critical to ensuring that all stakeholders are doing what is required to deliver optimal passenger services. These initiatives will also enable the air transport community to realize the potential to grow revenues, increase throughput and reduce costs.”

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Easy rider: New in-airport taxi service has lift off at DXB

by Mark

Source: ©The Moodie Davitt Report 17 September 2019

UAE. Dubai Airports has introduced a taxi service inside DXB (Dubai International), with the aim of making it easier for passengers to navigate through the airport’s linear concourses.

Travellers can hail one of 15 eight-seater buggies when seen or taken at pick-up points around the arrivals and departures level of Concourse B.

At your service: The taxiDXB buggies can be hailed on demand or at designated pick-up points

The service – known as taxiDXB – is free of charge, with priority given to the elderly and families with young children.

Dubai Airports said that the service will be extended to DXB’s other concourses in the coming months.

taxiDXB is operated by the airport’s specially trained customer service team. They are equipped with up-to-date flight movement information to ensure passengers can get to their gates in good time.

The taxis can be used to take passengers straight to their gate, to one of the airport’s restaurants and shops or for a tour of DXB

Dubai Airports SVP Operations Frank McCrorie said: “The introduction of taxiDXB is in direct response to the needs of our customers. The design of DXB’s concourses is very linear, which some customers told us they found hard to manage when they have to reach a gate at the opposite end but lends itself perfectly to a closed-loop buggy service.”

He added: “We have operated similar services in the past, but this is entirely free for our customers and has proved very popular in the test phase.”

Gatwick Airport commits to facial recognition tech at boarding

By Leo Kelion Technology desk editor

Gatwick has become the UK’s first airport to confirm it will use facial-recognition cameras on a permanent basis for ID checks before passengers board planes.

It follows a self-boarding trial carried out in partnership with EasyJet last year.

The London airport said the technology should reduce queuing times but travellers would still need to carry passports.

Privacy campaigners are concerned.

On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Gatwick told BBC News it had taken the decision, first reported by the Telegraph newspaper, after reviewing feedback from passengers in the earlier test.

“More than 90% of those interviewed said they found the technology extremely easy to use and the trial demonstrated faster boarding of the aircraft for the airline and a significant reduction in queue time for passengers,” she said.

“Gatwick [is now planning] a second trial in the next six months and then rolling out auto-boarding technology on eight departure gates in the North Terminal when it opens a new extension to its Pier 6 departure facility in 2022.”

She added passengers would still need to pass through the bag-check security zone, at which point they would need to present a boarding pass.

Dulles Airport facial scanners
Image caption Dulles Airport, in the US, already uses facial recognition scanners to check passenger IDs

In addition, they would need to scan their passport at the departure gate for the system to be able to match the photo inside to their actual face.

The process is similar to that already used at the ePassport arrival gates at some UK airports. But it differs from Gatwick’s original test, where travellers scanned their faces at the luggage drop-off zone.

Consent concerns

That decision will limit Gatwick’s ability to use facial recognition for other services.

China’s Chengdu Shuangliu airport, for example, recently installed a system that automatically presents travellers with up-to-date information about their flights when they walk up to a screen. This is made possible because visitors have to present their passports at an earlier stage.

Even so, one civil liberties group is worried travellers might not realise they can opt out.

“Our main concern… would be the issue of proper consent,” said Ioannis Kouvakas, from Privacy International.

“Placing general or vague signs that merely let individuals know that this technology is being deployed, once individuals are already inside the check-in area, is inadequate, in our view, to satisfy the strict transparency and consent requirements imposed by data-protection laws.

“If this would apply to child travellers… it raises even more concerns, considering the special protection afforded to children’s privacy and the risks associated with having their biometrics taken by the airport private entities.”

A spokeswoman for Gatwick said it had designed its use of the technology to be “compliant with all data protection law” and passengers would be able to choose to have their passports checked by human staff.

“Our next passenger trial will take place in the next six months and no data will be stored – instead it will be held momentarily while the identity check takes place, only a matter of seconds,” she said.

Children under a certain age would need parental or guardian consent, she added, although Gatwick had still to determine what the cut-off point would be.


Self-driving wheelchairs to be trialled at Abu Dhabi airport

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi Filed on September 16, 2019 | Last updated on September 16, 2019 at 08.14 pm

The wheelchair is the first for any airline and airport in the region.

A trial run of self-driving wheelchairs has been launched at the Abu Dhabi International Airport to allow passengers with restricted mobility move on their own.

The Abu Dhabi Airports partnered with Etihad Airways to introduce the wheelchairs at Terminal 3 ahead of its launch at the new Midfield Terminal.

Also see: Dubai Metro’s Route 2020 trains take shape

The autonomous wheelchairs will allow passengers navigate easier through the airport without any assistance.

The trial, which will last until the end of the year, will involve intensive testing and mapping of the airport environment to facilitate autonomous movement. This will ensure that passengers can use the new technology, if introduced following the testing process. The wheelchairs will offer passengers up-to-date boarding times and gate information, an automatic brake function, and sensors to detect any obstacles in its path.

The wheelchair is the first for any airline and airport in the region. Passengers will still be able to opt for the traditional form of assistance through porters.

“The idea is to provide people of determination with self-control and the ability to guide themselves through the airport by using a joy stick. Alternatively, (they will) be able to select a gate on an iPad or an iPhone and the device will drive them there,” Tristan Thomas, Etihad Airways’ director for digital and innovation, told Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the launch of the project.

Over 200 passengers using wheelchairs pass through the airport daily and officials said these will be replaced by the autonomous ones in the coming months.

The final stage of the trial will involve passengers with restricted mobility self-driving the wheelchairs through the airport and navigating through the duty-free shops and lounges to their departure gate. On arrival at the gate, and once the guest has boarded the flight, the wheelchairs will have the capability to return themselves to the collection point without staff involvement.

The trial is a partnership between Etihad Airways and Abu Dhabi Airports in collaboration with personal electric vehicle supplier WHILL and information technology company SITA.

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