Changi Airport rolling out contactless check-in kiosks, immigration counters

Changi Airport contactless kiosk Passengers can hover their fingers above the screens for a contactless check-in and bag-drop process. (Photo: Changi Airport Group)

SINGAPORE: Changi Airport will be rolling out contactless check-in kiosks which will allow travellers to check in and drop off their luggage without needing to touch the electronic screens.

The upgraded kiosks are part of precautionary measures against COVID-19 and in preparation for the resumption of air travel, Changi Airport Group (CAG) said in a news release on Wednesday (Jul 1).

More than 160 automated kiosks in Terminal 1 and 3 will be progressively installed with proximity touch screens and infrared sensors to track finger movements.

READ: Contactless service and cleaning robots: Here’s what your next travel experience may be like

Touted as the first of its kind in any airport, the upgraded kiosks will allow passengers to check-in or drop off their luggage without any contact on the screen, CAG said.

For an extra layer of protection, the screens of the automated kiosks have also been sprayed with a long-lasting anti-microbial disinfectant coating that reduces the risk of virus transmission, CAG said.

For passengers who need to check-in at counters manned by customer service agents, acrylic screens will provide a barrier between passengers and staff. These screens are also installed at immigration, customs, GST refund and information counters.  

A trial is underway for the use of contactless infrared technology on lift buttons, CAG said.

Changi Airport contactless lift buttons
Composite photos show contactless lift buttons being tested in Changi Airport. (Photos: Changi Airport Group)

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) has also upgraded the automated immigration lanes with a new biometric system that uses facial and iris recognition as the primary means for identity verification. This replaces traditional fingerprint scanning.

Changi airport contactless immigration counter
The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority has upgraded the automated immigration lanes at Changi Airport with a new biometric system that uses face and iris recognition technology. (Photo: Changi Airport Group)

After scanning their passports, travellers who have enrolled their iris and facial biometrics will have their identity verified by iris and facial scan cameras. Passengers will only be prompted to scan their fingerprint if the scans are unsuccessful or if they had not previously submitted their biometrics.

Other improvements announced by CAG include autonomous cleaning robots equipped with an attachment that sprays a disinfecting mist on carpets and floors during cleaning. It is also testing the use of ultraviolet-C (UV-C) LED light technology to disinfect handrails on escalators and travellators.

Changi airport cleaning robot with misting attachment
An autonomous cleaning robot uses a misting attachment that disinfects the carpets immediately after cleaning in Changi Airport. (Photo: Changi Airport Gro

Air travel took a hit when countries closed their borders due to lockdown measures meant to curb the spread of COVID-19. Though airports have now gradually reopened and flights are slowly resuming, there still remains the risk of a second wave of infections.

Singapore reported four imported COVID-19 cases on Wednesday.

“Passengers will expect airports to deliver the highest standards of safety and hygiene to give them peace of mind during their journey, and we will rapidly bring on board new measures as we go into a new normal for air travel,” said Tan Lye Teck, CAG’s executive vice-president of airport management.

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