Fliers at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport now have access to more information to help streamline their travel plans with the addition of security line wait times inside the airport’s mobile app.
TSA Security wait times are updated in the DFW Mobile App in real time for all the airport’s 16 checkpoints, which makes DFW one of the first airports to display wait time information for specific lanes at each checkpoint.
“DFW customers expect the best when they travel through our airport,” said Ken Buchanan, DFW’s executive vice president of revenue management and customer experience. “And the more information we can provide, the better equipped the customers are to make the decisions that are most important to them.”
The technology utilizes sensors installed at each terminal checkpoint and surrounding areas, according to a Thursday press release from the airport. The sensors track the heat and movement of a person to tell how many people are in line and at what speed they are moving. The data refreshes every minute to provide real-time updates for customers.
DFW introduced TSA Security wait times in December with digital displays in the terminals that indicate the time anticipated for a customer to clear inspection. First launched in 2013, DFW Mobile App has received over 400,000 downloads, which makes it one of the most popular app for airports around the world.
TSA Security wait times are expected to also be made available on their website at the end of the summer.
By virtue of its very nature the airline industry is highly dependent on partnerships of one kind or another. In times of stress, reliance on these partners – and enhancing shared goals – becomes a high priority. These partners range from all parts of the supply chain, notably airports, to fellow airlines, agencies, payment providers and many more.
Have you got the right partnerships?
Who you do business with can be a key determinant of success or failure.
Undergoing a transformation can put pressure on business partners, suppliers and other stakeholders.
Kevin Riordan, head of airports & checkpoint solutions at Smiths Detection, talks about the various technologies that will dominate airport security over the next decade and the impact they are likely to have on the overall customer experience.
Travellers have long-since resigned themselves to a less-than-enjoyable process of getting through airport terminals and their various security checks. Passengers understand the necessity of strict security processes in order to get us from A to B safely, but wish it could be a quicker process. Airports around the world understand how tedious queuing in long lines to go through security can be. They also realise the amount of time and resources the process can take up to ensure the flight is secure. So they know they need to find ways to make the progression through the airport more streamlined. Of course, airports cannot compromise on the levels of security. But they can look to find ways to make the process better for travellers – while deploying increased capability at the same time. This is where they are turning to new technologies, helping them be more efficient while complying with regulations. With that in mind, here are my predictions for technology over the next decade and how it will change the airport experience for all of us.
Enhanced detection – CT technology
Computed tomography (CT) technology is going to see its role become far more significant over the next decade. First used in hold baggage security systems in the early ‘90s, we’ve already seen regulatory and technological advancements leading to CT being increasingly used in the cabin baggage screening process too. European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) C3-certified scanners, which allow screening of cabin baggage containing liquids, aerosols and gels, laptops, and other large electrical items, will mean passengers (subject to approval from the appropriate local authorities) will be able to keep their liquids and electronic items in their hand luggage, rather than needing to put everything in a see-through bag when they get to the security gate. Not only will that make the process much quicker, but it’ll be a better experience for passengers who can pass through the airport with their liquids remaining stored in their hand luggage. Longer-term integration of X-Ray diffraction technology is being explored along with other techniques to reduce the false alarm rate and minimise delays for passengers at the checkpoint.
Increase in artificial intelligence
This year will see airports embracing artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance aviation security and operations – both in terms of passengers and their baggage, as well as cargo. Currently, whether a tray passing through the security screens is a bag filled with goods or simply contains a belt, it’s treated with the same level of severity and undergoes the same level of checks. As technology in this area becomes more sophisticated with the adoption of machine learning, it will be easier to detect weapons and other prohibited items. So, rather than spending a lot of time focusing on images of lightly-packed trays or bags that pose no threat, systems will be able to concentrate on suspect baggage, and not show operators the images of bags cleared by the X-ray system. This will have the additional benefit of improving throughput.
Data and risk-based screening
With the amount of available data increasing each minute, the insights we’ll be able to gather from it over the next decade are only going to be more and more beneficial. The information we get from databases, screening processes and more refined algorithms can be used to support enhanced methods of screening – known as risk-based screening (RBS). The concept of risk-based screening is based on the principle of differentiating passengers and applying appropriate screening protocols to them. This differentiation is based on a ‘risk score’ derived from an analysis of their destination or status as a passenger. The precheck scheme in the US is a form of risk-based screening. Future developments will incorporate biometric data and dynamic risk assessment to better inform decisions on appropriate screening measures. I believe that, within the next few years, data taken during the booking process will be combined with that from customs, border control and other sources, to help support the passenger journey through the airport, including the security process. Passenger data can be assessed in advance of travel and prior knowledge of the passenger, their needs and potentially their behaviour, will help inform the level of security measures they undergo when they get to the terminal.
Biometrics at the checkpoint
Thanks to AI and the increasing availability of data pertaining to a passenger’s journey, we’ll see biometric recognition more widely implemented; including for instant identity verification as the traveller moves through the airport. Biometric identification reduces the need for physical documents and credentials at every touchpoint, promoting a paperless and seamless journey and supporting risk-based screening. Passengers around the world will soon be welcomed by biometric terminals or even biometric boarding gates at airports. Travellers have said they’d definitely be interested in using biometrics if it makes the boarding process faster, according to the 2018 International Air Transport Association (IATA) Passenger Survey Report.
The increasing use of data in airport operations highlights the importance of protecting this data and the networks used to store and process it. Although the threat actors and tactics may change, cyber threats and attacks will continue in the years to come. A joint approach between regulators, airports and suppliers is required to ensure ‘cyber-compliant’ equipment is available and that it is deployed and maintained securely to protect the wider aviation network. This will continue to be a key concern for both operators and equipment suppliers in the years ahead. All of the above have one thing in mind; getting us through the airport as swiftly as possible, but without compromising on our safety in any way. Thankfully, airports and airlines understand the impact technology can have on the experience and are investing heavily in this area. The next decade will see a lot of changes accordingly – and it will be exciting seeing it all come to fruition.
From facial recognition to real-time baggage tracking, Beijing Daxing International Airport has embraced the latest smart technologies to improve passenger experience, an official at the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said at a news conference on Thursday.
Self-service check-in kiosks and baggage drop machines will have 86 percent and 76 percent coverage, respectively, at the new Beijing airport, said Zhang Rui, vice-director of the Airport Department of the CAAC.
Smart technologies have been deployed in security check lanes for a fast and smooth passage, he said.
Passengers can enjoy a completely paperless, self-service boarding experience, from entry into the terminal building to the boarding gate, Zhang said.
The Daxing airport has also introduced the radio-frequency identification (RFID) baggage tracking system, which will allow passengers to track their luggage status in real time on their mobile phones.
The new airport, located in Daxing district of Beijing, is scheduled to be completed on June 30 and begin operations in September.
An inside view of the Beijing Daxing International Airport in Beijing on June 1, 2019. The airport will be put into operation before Sept. 30, according to the country’s civil aviation authorities. Interior decorating and the installation and testing of electromechanical equipment are underway and will be completed this month. (Photo/VCG)
(ECNS) — Beijing Daxing International Airport will apply intelligent technologies such as facial recognition in all security channels, said Zhang Rui, deputy director of the Airports Division of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, on Thursday.
After passing through facial recognition, passengers can immediately gain access to data such as flight numbers, boarding gate positions and boarding times.
The airport, which will be put into operation before September 30, uses RFID technology for baggage tracking, allowing passengers to easily track their baggage in real time using an app, according to Zhang.
He added about 86 percent of check-ins will be automatic and that baggage checked in via self-service kiosks will account for 76 percent of the total.
The new airport sits at the junction of Beijing’s southern Daxing District and Langfang, a city in Hebei Province. It is expected to handle 45 million passengers annually by 2021 and 72 million by 2025.
Melbourne Airport plans to roll out new checkin and baggage drop kiosks throughout its terminals as part of a contract extension with air travel technology provider SITA.
The hybrid check-in areas would offer airlines the flexibility of having a mix of self-service and assisted kiosks that can be configured depending on the time on the time of day and type of passenger travelling.
The concept is similar to what has been on offer at Melbourne Airport’s international terminal, which also used SITA technology.
“Those technologies will increasingly be rolled out across other terminals, expected to culminate in more than 400 passenger touchpoints including mobile and standard check-in desks, gate boarding, self-service check-in kiosks, hybrid and standard self-bag drops,” SITA said in a statement on June 4.
Melbourne Airport chief information officer Luke Halliday said the flexible hybrid solution would allow the airport to boost capacity and ensure customer expectations were met.
“Technology plays an increasingly important role in the operation of an airport, particularly as we strive to streamline the passenger journey through the airports and make the processing experience as unobtrusive as possible,” Halliday said.
Plans to install new facilities across its four terminals followed Qantas announcing in May it had sold its domestic terminal, known a Terminal 1, to Melbourne Airport for $355 million.
Further, Melbourne Airport and Virgin Australia unveiled a three-year plan in December 2017 to significantly upgrade Terminal 3, where the airline operates its domestic flights out of.
An artist’s impression of Virgin Australia’s new Terminal 3 checkin hall at Melbourne Tullamarine. (Virgin Australia)
The Melbourne Airport 2018 master plan forecast 67 million passengers a year would pass through its terminals by 2037, compared with 38 million in 2018.
The master plan also includes planning for a third runway, with Melbourne Airport currently preparing a major development plan for submission to the federal government for approval.
SITA president for Asia Pacific Sumesh Patel said the forecast growth in passenger numbers in the years ahead represented a capacity challenge for airports.
“If passenger numbers are going to double, it doesn’t mean the airports are going to double,” Patel said on the sidelines of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) annual general meeting in Seoul on June 3.
“How do they manage this? Obviously the reliance on technology is really going to grow.”
An image of the Melbourne Airport international checkin are at Terminal 2 from the 2018 Melbourne Airport annual report. (Melbourne Airport)
On the Melbourne Airport, Patel said SITA’s based on SITA’s AirportConnect Open platform, would give those travelling on both domestic and international flights the same passenger experience.
Further, it would future proof the airport as new technologies were brought online in the period ahead.
For example, the system SITA was implementing would integrate with future biometrics.
“Because once you make an investment, you want to make sure that it integrates with what your future airport will look like,” Patel said.
“If you put in common use infrastructure, which is the checkin kiosk, your bag drop, and then you say you want to do biometrics, now I can’t integrate, I need to maybe change what I have put in, that that becomes a bit of a challenge.
“If today I have got a thumb scanner and tomorrow I want to do facial recognition, if my infrastructure does not support mounting a camera or getting the camera data read then I have a challenge.
“I’ve made such a huge investment at the airport, now how do I do it. I can’t change 100 kiosks, which is going to cost millions. That’s what we mean by future proofing.
“We work with the airport to see what their vision is in terms of what they want to do.”
Tigerair Australia has new self-serve checkin kiosks at Melbourne Terminal 4. (Tigerair Australia/Facebook)
More broadly, Patel said SITA had technology solutions in place at airports to minimise disruption to operations when flights were delayed by giving staff on the ground more notice to anticipate when an aircraft might be late.
Also, the use of smart technology, automation and new processes had allowed airlines and airports to track passengers’ luggage at check-in, when loaded onto the aircraft, at the transfer point for connecting itineraries and at arrival, which helped reduce the number of mishandled bags.
IATA Resolution 753, which required member airlines to track baggage at four stages of the journey – checkin, loading onto the aircraft, transfer and arrival – came into effect in June 2018.
“That’s what has helped the industry to improve,” Patel said. “Before IATA 753 it was not an urgent thing.”
And finally, the use of biometrics was growing as more airports, along with national governments, utilised the technology to boost capacity and offer a more seamless passenger experience.
Patel said airports and airlines were planning significant investments in biometrics over the next three years.
The more I travel around the globe, the more I see technology-enabled passengers enjoying better control over their journeys. SITA research shows that technology and automation leaves passengers with a greater feeling of satisfaction as they travel.
Developments in artificial Intelligence (AI), biometrics, blockchain, machine learning and Virtual Reality (VR) are gathering momentum. It’s clear that every one of these emerging technologies is set to transform the way people travel.
In my opinion, the air transport industry is fast approaching a turning point, which will see the passenger experience enter a whole new era driven by technological change.
The ubiquity of digital technology will be fundamental to this change. It’s common nowadays to see travelers inextricably linked to their devices, whether that’s in the airport or onboard the plane, as they traverse each step of the journey.
Automation makes for a happier journey
In fact, the number of passengers carrying a digital device hit 96% in 2018, according to our research, which consistently shows a correlation between technology and passenger satisfaction, from the start to the finish of the journey.
SITA’s Passenger IT Insights 2019 survey further reinforces the positive impact of technology on passenger satisfaction. Quite simply, the more steps that are automated, the higher the rate of passenger satisfaction.
And we’ve now found that once passengers are converted from person-to-person to automated touch points, they don’t want to go back. This is opening up exciting opportunities for airports and airlines.
On my own travels, I can see that many airlines and airports are introducing more and more technology, and not only to automate the passenger journey. There is also the focus on technology for proactive assistance, such as wayfinding kiosks, virtual assistants and Bots.
Passengers are now so comfortable with technology that they use it instead of interacting with people. Our research confirms the point. Over the years, booking, check-in and bag drop have increasingly become automated, with passenger adoption high.
Now we are seeing that the introduction of automated passport controls, in collaboration with government and border agencies, is also increasing passenger satisfaction and, where available, has high adoption rates. Our research shows that usage of automated e-gates or kiosks for passport control has more than doubled from 21% in 2017 to 44% today.
Automated gates used at boarding are not just a success in terms of passenger satisfaction. They are good for the industry too. Not only do they speed up the processing of passengers, but they also support more efficient operations and faster turnarounds.
Technology users’ satisfaction rate: 8.36 out of 10
So by smoothing out processes and journey flows, making interactions less cumbersome, and speeding up processing times, technology increases passenger satisfaction rates at every point where it is used. In my mind, that translates into greater customer loyalty for airlines and airports.
At passport control, for example, passengers are happier when using self-scanning gates to verify their ID. At automated boarding gates, passengers are also more satisfied when scanning their own boarding documents. In general, we find technology users have a satisfaction rate of 8.36 out of 10.
And the news is good for those passengers, roughly just over a quarter, who can currently receive mobile baggage status updates via their mobile on arrival. Their satisfaction rate is 8.6% higher than those relying on public service announcements or flight information displays.
Eager for more
Passengers are also keen to adopt advanced technology services. Take biometrics. When made available, 80% of passengers chose to opt-in. Travelers who use biometric gates report a 5% higher satisfaction than those who’ve had their ID checked by a human agent.
A question of availability
That point about availability is, of course, critical. Passengers can only engage with technology-based services when they’re on offer. The big challenge for airports and airlines is to more rapidly deploy the technologies that passengers are demanding to deliver on their digital travel expectations.
Mobile ID management is one area of opportunity, for example. Our survey says that 59% of passengers would be ‘very willing’ to use mobile devices for ID verification along their journey, with 33% saying they’re open to the idea.
In addition, passengers are demanding more mobile services around baggage – not surprising, given their attachment to it. According to our survey, 95% would like bag collection notifications sent to their device on arrival, 94% said they would like the facility to report mishandled bags via their mobile, and 93% want to be able to track their luggage via an app.
Happier future travels!
So there’s no doubt that technology is playing a greater role in creating a streamlined, autonomous and seamless journey. It’s obvious from my own travel experiences and it’s clear from SITA’s research. Technology will enable the air transport industry to better manage growing complexity and swelling passenger numbers.
At the same time, technology of the future will increasingly eliminate friction at every step of the journey, empowering passengers to fulfill their needs at their own pace, with peace of mind and with minimum assistance. Ultimately, that means happier passengers every step along the way.
As the war on plastics rages on, Dubai Airports plans to do more – from next year single-use plastics will be banned in both DXB and DWC.
Dubai Airports has pledged to do its part to rid the planet of single-use plastics by announcing its intention to ban them from consumer spaces at the world’s busiest international airport effective from the 1 January 2020.
Every year Dubai Airports recycles over 43,000 tonnes of paper, glass and other waste to limit its impact on the environment. Over the past six months alone, Dubai Airports collected and disposed of 16 tonnes of single-use plastic bottles and bottle caps.
Eugene Barry, Executive Vice President, Commercial at Dubai Airports, commented: “At an airport that hosts some 90 million people per year, we believe we can make a tangible difference by eliminating single use plastics in consumer spaces. We are making a commitment to work with all of our concession and hospitality partners to achieve that goal effective 1 January 2020.”
As a sign of that commitment, on World Environment Day Dubai Airports collaborated with over 106 businesses operating at Dubai International Airport to showcase the positive impact that can be made by eliminating practices and materials that can harm the environment. A variety of measures were put in place including banning plastic utensils, bags and paper receipts. One of the most overused single-use plastic included in the elimination efforts is straws, and in just one day the pledge prevented the distribution of over 150,000 straws. That’s 30,000 meters worth of plastic and a good step in the right direction.
Uber’s plan to trial an aerial taxi service in Melbourne is technologically feasible but needs to be well regulated to avoid “absolute chaos”, according to a civil engineering expert.
The global ridesharing giant’s Uber Air pilot — which will also run in the US cities of Dallas and Los Angeles — aims to connect transport hubs like airports to central city sites.
The rideshare company said test flights were due to start from 2020 and plans were for commercial operations to begin from 2023.
Jake Whitehead, a University of Queensland researcher who specialises in transport, said the timeline was achievable from a technological perspective.
“We are very close to the point that battery technologies can support these kinds of smaller vehicles,” Dr Whitehead said.
“What will be the challenge is the regulation.
“I’d hate to see us be in a position where it’s a repeat of Uber ground vehicles where governments aren’t adequately prepared for this technology, and aren’t proactively working with these companies to look at how to make sure that we can benefit from this technology, and not end up in a situation where it’s absolute chaos.”
Dr Whitehead said Uber’s “extremely aggressive” approach to entering new markets in the past should prompt governments to think carefully about what regulations are needed to preserveliveability.
The reality is there are some downsides to this technology if it’s a free-for-all and there are no rules in place.”
The announcement was made at Uber’s Elevate summit in Washington after the deal was sealed with Melbourne Airport and companies Macquarie Capital, Scentre Group and Telstra.
“Australian governments have adopted a forward-looking approach to ridesharing and future transport technology,” said Susan Anderson, regional general manager for Uber in Australia, New Zealand and North Asia.
“This, coupled with Melbourne’s unique demographic and geospatial factors, and culture of innovation and technology, makes Melbourne the perfect third launch city for Uber Air.
“We will see other Australian cities following soon after.”
Ms Anderson said Victoria’s State Government had been “highly supportive” of the plans for the trial.
“Melbourne is one of the world’s most liveable cities and importantly it’s innovations like this that demonstrate that we’re at the leading edge of new technologies,” Treasurer Tim Pallas told the ABC.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) told ABC Radio Melbourne the authority would work with the company to ensure the service was safe before it started operating.
CASA spokesman Peter Gibson said the list of challenges for Uber was a long one:
The company would have to get a safety certification for the new battery-operated aircraft — which does not exist yet
The airspace they would use would have to be managed by authorities
The people operating the aircraft would need specialised training
Infrastructure for the mini-airports does not yet exist
The regional general manager of Uber Eats, Jodie Auster, conceded the days of pilotless flight were a long way off.
Posted By Ken Storey on Tue, Jun 11, 2019 at 12:29 pm
Image via Miami International Airport
Miami International Airport and Tampa International Airport are now home to some of the most technologically advanced TSA scanners in the nation. The new computed tomography (CT) scanners are similar to ones used in the medical field and allow for a 3D image of the contents of travelers’ bags, with the TSA agent able to manipulate the image on three axes to better see inside.
Current scanners only allow for a limited 2D image. The enhanced image means electronics, like laptops, can remain inside the carry-on bags. TSA has said that they hope the 3-1-1 liquids that are currently allowed in carry-ons but have to be removed can eventually also stay in bags. As well, the CT scanners have a smaller footprint than current X-ray scanners.
Lester Sola, MIA’s director and CEO, explained:
“We are extremely proud to be one of the first 18 airports chosen by the TSA for this first wave of CT screening technology deployment. Considering that there are 434 airports nationwide with traditional X-ray screening, we are honored to be on the frontline of evaluating new security enhancements. In addition to increasing screening accuracy, the new CT scanners provide travelers the convenience of keeping electronic devices inside their carry-on bags and may soon allow them to keep approved liquids inside as well, which is welcome news.”
CT scanners have already been used to review checked luggage. Both the checked luggage versions and the new carry-on ones have automatic detection of bulk and liquid explosives.
TSA began introducing the new scanners in 2017 after a pilot program at two airports. In 2018 the test program expanded to 15 airports, mostly in the northeast and western U.S. After two years of testing various CT scanners, TSA awarded a $96.8 million contract for 300 Computed Tomography (CT) systems to Smiths Detection in March. TSA administrator David Pekoske called the update to the CT scanners “the most consequential technology deployment to [TSA] checkpoints in the recent history.”