Mihan Airport appoints SITA for passenger processing solution

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India’s air transport industry has turned to SITA to provide passenger processing solutions for its check-in and boarding facilities, as well as baggage tracking at Nagpur’s airport, MIHAN, in north east India.

With India on target to become the third-biggest aviation market by 2025, passenger numbers have consistently seen double-digit growth in recent years and MIHAN is one of the country’s newest airports catering for cargo and commercial flights.

SITA’s Common Use Terminal Equipment (CUTE) and Common Use Self Service (CUSS), which are being deployed at MIHAN, enables any airline to use any agent desk, gate position or self-service kiosk for passenger check-in and bag drop. What’s more, by installing SITA’s solutions the airport will be able to cater for increasing traffic loads without having to invest in additional building infrastructure.

The airport will also install BagManager – SITA’s baggage tracking solution, which will enable staff at MIHAN to accurately track bags and significantly reduce the likelihood of them being mishandled.

“MIHAN is the single-biggest publicly-funded development project in India,” said V.S Mulekar, senior airport director, MIHAN Airport.

“It is essential we have the right technologies in place to make sure the airport’s operations are highly efficient from day one and that they are future-proofed for our growth. SITA’s technology has proven successful in other airports in India and across the world and I have no doubt it will ably support MIHAN’s requirements,” Mulekar continued.

Indian airports to benefit from SITA’s BagManager

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The Airports Authority of India (AAI), which manages 126 airports across the country, has expanded SITA’s baggage management solution to 15 of its airports: Trivandrum, Calicut, Mangalore, Tirupati, Chennai, Madurai, Kolkatta, Goa, Lucknow, Jaipur, Amritsar, Leh, Chandigarh, Trichy and Ahmedabad.

SITA’s BagManager will provide the airports with real-time information on the status of passengers’ baggage, with the aim of significantly reducing the chances of baggage mishandling.

“As passenger traffic increases across India, we need to be smarter in the way we manage our airports and smart technology is the answer,” said Guruprasad Mohapatra, chairman of AAI.

In addition to BagManager, both Goa and Lucknow airports will also have SITA’s Airport Management Solution installed as part of the expanded agreement. The suite of integrated software applications is designed to support and enhance airport operations from landside to airside, from landing to take off and will enable the airports to better anticipate, plan and control their operations.

Commenting further on the expanded partnership with SITA, Mohapatra said: “SITA’s experience in India and its solutions make it possible to manage our network of airports in a more efficient and effective way, delivering a better service to our passengers while accommodating rapidly rising passenger numbers.”

Maneesh Jaikrishna, SITA vice-president Indian subcontinent, Eastern and Southern Africa, said: “India has long been an important market for SITA. With our sharpened focus on delivering solutions at the airport – including passenger processing and baggage management – we are able to support AAI with new technologies that make it easier to operate their airports and deliver a great passenger experience.”

Passenger Terminal Expo 2018, Stockholm: Day two

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The end of the second day of Passenger Terminal Expo marked another busy day of conference sessions and exhibitor visits, before finishing off with the Skytrax World Airport awards.

During a morning session about running and developing energy efficient airports, Anna-Mart Jander, head of business development, Swedavia Energy and Swedavia energy specialist, Elisabeth Celsing, took to the floor to explain why Stockholm Arlanda is a pioneer when it comes to energy efficient airports. Both Jander and Celsing revealed how as a result of more than 10 years of dedicated work with energy efficiency at Stockholm Arlanda Airport there has been 30% energy reduction and 100% green energy supply based mainly on profitable investments.

Airport cities 

Airport cities and urban planning have been consistent themes throughout the first two days of the conference and speaking as the president and CEO of Winnipeg Airports Authority in Canada, Barry Rempel stated that “managing political realities at municipal, provincial and federal levels is key to creating a successful airport city.”

Speaking on behalf of another regional airport in Canada, Tom Ruth, CEO and president, Edmonton International Airport declared that creating an airport city in a non-hub market presents unique challenges. Explaining that innovation plays a key factor in the development of passenger satisfaction and non-aeronautical revenue he highlighted how Edmonton has created a number of strong local partnerships to drive economic growth in tandem with regional plans.

One of the partnerships the airport has formed has been with Aurora Cannabis, a medical marijuana producer which is building the largest licensed cannabis facility in the world at Edmonton Airport.

The airport also works closely with tourism groups and the local business community as part of its strategy to align with partners in order to foster growth.

Other talks throughout the latter half of the day focused on matters ranging from increasing non-aeronautical revenue in India’s airports and improving security and operational planning at London Luton Airport to carbon, air quality and cost savings as a result of using low-carbon heating and cooling solutions at Liverpool John Lennon Airport..

Skytrax awards

Saving the best till last, the day finished up with the Skytrax World Airports awards ceremony where among various other awards regional airports around the globe were recognised for their achievements over the last year.

Centrair Airport in Nagoya, Japan was declared the overall world’s best regional airport, while King Shaka in South Africa, Hamburg in Germany, Christchurch in New Zealand, Haikou Meilan in China, Bengaluru in India, Denver in the US, Quiport in South America and Kazan in Russia, were all declared regional airport winners for each of their respective regions.



Passenger Terminal Expo 2018, Stockholm: Exruptive partners with Angkasa Pura

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Exruptive, which provides innovative solutions to optimise the security screening process in airports, has signed a contract with Angkasa Pura – the owner and operator of 13 airports across Indonesia –  to distribute its scannable trolleys in airports throughout the country.

The agreement was signed during Passenger Terminal Expo 2018 in Stockholm on Wednesday 21 March.

Offering a scalable solution, Exruptive has developed an X-ray scanning system with enhanced proprietary ECAC security standard C3 certifiable X-ray technology that eliminates the need for passengers to unpack complex electronics and liquids when passing through security by using scannable trolleys rather than trays.

The throughput per scanner line will be 450 passengers or more per hour, double to triple that of existing tray-based solutions.

The agreement will mean that Angkasa Pura, which also serves an Indonesian distributor of aviation solutions throughout the region, will become Exruptive’s first airport partner.


Passenger Terminal Expo 2018, Stockholm: SITA outlines how biometrics are transforming travel

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A new report from SITA, released during the Passenger Terminal Expo being held in Stockholm this week, has outlined how biometric technology will transform passenger processing in airports.

Titled Biometrics for Better Travel: An ID Management Revolution, the report illustrates how with passenger numbers set to double to 7.8 billion by 2036, biometrics will power faster and more secure self-service processes at airports.

With 63% of airports planning to invest in biometric ID management solutions within the next three years, the report explores innovative ID management solutions with the expectation that these programmes will be commonplace worldwide by 2021.

Mentioning how airlines around the world are required to check that passengers are who they say they are and that they have the correct travel documents, Sean Farrell, director, strategy & innovation, SITA, said: “Airlines and airports need to be able to move passengers through these checks as securely and quickly as possible. Efficient identity management is essential for better security while at the same time improving the passenger experience. Biometrics is the technology that can deliver this.”

While data protection and a hesitation from passengers to use biometrics has proved a blocker in the past, that’s all changing now. “The good news for airlines, airports and the various government agencies is that passengers are happy to use biometrics. The technology is becoming increasingly commonplace in people’s lives,” added Farrell.

The report also outlines  how airports must have a global consensus on how to securely resolve passenger identity issues as an integral part of the next generation of self-service systems. All industry stakeholders have a role to play to harness technologies that can make the processes better, faster and more secure.

“Passengers are ready and want to use biometrics. The easiest way for airlines and airports to make this happen is to use technology that integrates easily with their existing infrastructure – kiosks, bag drop, automated boarding gates. Moving to single token identity management where passengers can simply use their biometric, such as their face, at every checkpoint on their journey will speed passengers securely through the airport,” concluded Farrell.

Passenger Terminal Conference 2018, Stockholm: Day one

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The first day of Passenger Terminal Expo 2018 drew to a close after a busy day of back-to-back conference sessions mixed in with visits to some of the 350 exhibitor stands attending this year’s expo in Stockholm.

After the opening address by Swedavia’s CEO, Jonas Abrahamsson, on Tuesday 20 March, conference sessions covering topics ranging from airport cities, design, planning and development to customer service, passenger experience and future airports took place in different halls throughout the day.

Airport Urbanism

During one of the morning sessions on ‘Airport Urbanism’, Professor Max Hirsh from the University of Hong Kong discussed how Airport Urbanism (AU) is a new people-focused approach to designing airports and to planning the urban districts that surround airport hubs.

Hirsh stressed that “airports and cities grow best when they grow together,” but he also stated that the three main barriers to AU are people being afraid of change, a lack of trust and poor coordination.

By focusing on eight key drivers of success, Hirsh argued that AU leverages existing assets in the airport area to increase non-aeronautical revenue, improve the passenger experience and develop local communities.

He cited Aviapolis – a business, retail and entertainment area in central Vantaa, Finland which includes Helsinki Airport as one of the most exciting AU development projects taking place today. Once an underdeveloped area concentrated on logistics, large-scale warehouses and under-utilised possibilities of housing and trade, it has been transformed into a source of activity, growth and prosperity.

Small changes with a big impact

Sticking with the subject of transformation and change, Adrian Leung, a change consultant working at London City Airport (LCY) addressed how LCY has initiated a few small changes that have had a big impact at the airport. By implementing an automated call to gate system, remodelling the West Pier and implementing ground management time stands, Leung revealed how infrastructure, technology and process combined have helped resolve serious capacity issues and improve On Time Performance (OTP), with LCY being named the UK’s most punctual airport in 2017 by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Planning for passenger growth

Facing challenges of a different kind, Rajender Singh Lauhauria, airports director, Airports Authority of India referenced how air passenger growth has exceeded the expectations of airport operators throughout India in the last decade.

Jay Prakash Narayan International Airport (also known as Patna Airport) in Bihar, India is a classic example of a small, old terminal with limited bays that is struggling to cope with the massive growth in passenger traffic within its existing infrastructure.

Stating that “air traffic is booming all over the world and Patna is no exception,” Lauhauria revealed that plans are afoot to develop Patna’s terminal and increase the runway as well as increase the number of aircraft parking bays and improve the layout so that aircraft can move independently of each other.

While the development is ongoing however there has been a need for careful and strategic management of operations at the airport to deal with existing passenger traffic. Simple measures such as knocking down walls and redecorating inside the terminal have created a much friendlier and more spacious environment. Temporary tents have also been erected so that passengers arriving early for their flights are kept in holding pens before they can actually enter the terminal to check in for their flight. Additional measures to help with passenger flow include bollards being installed outside the airport to tackle traffic congestion at the airport entrance and porta cabins for checked-in passengers waiting to board their aircraft.

Increasing transport links in Greenland

Meanwhile one of the final conference sessions of the day focused on three new airports that are due to be built in Greenland. A new management group, Kalallit Airports was founded in 2016 to oversee the construction of the airports in Nuuk, Ilulissat and Qaqortoq.

Cited as the biggest and most costly build projects in Greelandic history the three airports, which are due to be opened in 2022, are set to transform travel and tourism in the country.

Both Qatortoq and Ilulissat are home to UNESCO world heritage sites and all three cities offer awe-inspiring scenery as well as popular tourist activities such as whale watching, dog sledding and visits to waterfalls and fjords.

The construction of the three airports is part of a government initiative to improve transport links in Greenland’s more remote regions and the new airports will also improve job opportunities for those living locally.






Passenger Terminal Expo 2018, Stockholm: HIAL partners with Flight Solutions

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The Highlands and Islands (HIAL) group announced on Tuesday 20 March that it has awarded a contract to Flight Solutions, the UK-based airport technology provider, to install its innovative eScan Passenger Verification System across eight of its airports.

The new system is expected to be installed at Inverness, Benbecula, Dundee, Islay, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Sumburgh and Wick in time for the busy summer season. In addition to confirming that every passenger is on a valid flight and permitted to proceed through security to the departure gates, the system will also provide real-time passenger data to HIAL, which the group can use to measure passenger flow and queue times.

Inverness Airport will also benefit from an airport-wide rollout of Flight Solutions’ passenger processing systems, including its common use system (CUTE) and common use self-service (CUSS) products. In total ten common-use check-in desks, six self-service check-in kiosks, seven self-service bag drops and six boarding gates are due to be installed at the airport by June 2018.

Commenting on the announcement, which was made at Passenger Terminal Expo 2018 in Stockholm, where Flight Solutions made its exhibitor debut this week, Cheryl Campbell, customer services manager at Inverness Airport, said:

We are experiencing terrific passenger growth. Having a common use passenger system will allow us to be flexible when it comes to looking after passengers. For example, it will be much easier to share check-in and boarding gate equipment between various airlines for departing flights. We will be able to make swift changes to initial plans should the need arise, without delaying passengers or causing congestion in the airport. Flight Solutions is helping us work towards our long-term growth plans.

Paul Secker, founder and CEO of Flight Solutions added: “In a constantly changing environment like a busy airport, we recognise the need for both hardware and software to be as simple and adaptable as possible. Getting rid of legacy solutions and capitalising on the new technology offered as part of our passenger processing and passenger verification systems are helping to future-proof airports while improving the passenger experience.”

Passenger Terminal Expo 2018, Stockholm: Rotterdam The Hague Airport partners with Vanderlande

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Reinforcing its commitment to innovative solutions, Rotterdam The Hague Airport (RTHA) signed a landmark agreement with Vanderlande on Tuesday 20 March, to have the first live baggage handling operation carried out by FLEET – Vanderlande’s future-proof baggage logistics solution.

Expected to go live in September 2018, FLEET is a flexible and sustainable solution that utilises autonomous vehicle technology, replacing the need for fixed sorting systems. It also consumes up to 50% less energy compared to traditional baggage handling systems.

The agreement with RTHA will allow the airport to expand and improve its baggage sorting systems; handle a larger number of flights and passengers; improve ergonomic working conditions for ground staff; and future-proof baggage handling solutions.

Using autonomous vehicles which can determine an optimal route through an airport, FLEET has been designed to seamlessly grow alongside an airport, match its operations, and allow it to adapt to changing security and screening regulations.

“FLEET aligns perfectly with our overall vision of becoming an innovation hub,” said Ron Louwerse, managing director, RTHA. “It is future-proof and scalable, will make a positive impact on our sorting efficiency and improve the ergonomics for our baggage handling team. We’re pleased to have signed the agreement, because we believe that FLEET will become a key part of our operations and the best way to help us to connect with our future strategy.”

The announcement of the agreement at Passenger Terminal Expo in Stockholm this week comes hot on the heels of Vanderlande announcing last month that it has signed a strategic baggage cooperative agreement with Canada’s Vancouver International Airport, which serves a large number of low-fare and regional flights.


Inset image: FLEET’s Koen Evers (left) and Rotterdam The Hague’s Ron Louwerse sign letter of intent on Tuesday 20 March at Passenger Terminal Expo 2018, Stockholm. 

Glasgow Prestwick ready for lift off

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With the Space Industry Act receiving Royal Assent last week and the news that a regulatory framework is now in place, Glasgow Prestwick Airport is all set to step up its activity to become the first fully operational, licensed spaceport in the UK and Europe.

“We are delighted the enabling legislation is being enacted. It is a very significant stage in the process,” said Richard Jenner, director of Glasgow Prestwick’s Spaceport project.

Last week’s announcement means the path is now paved for commercial UK space launches and Glasgow Prestwick Airport aims to offer horizontal launches of orbital and sub-orbital missions for satellite launches, micro-gravity experiments and passenger spaceflight experiences.

“We have had a professional technical assessment of our infrastructure and facilities conducted by independent consultants and we confidently meet all the technical criteria set out by the Department for Transport. These include our favourable meteorological conditions, relatively clear airspace and excellent transport links, as well as our ability to meet the needs of industry with many aerospace businesses on our doorstep and the room on site to accommodate more. As such, we believe that our airport is able to move at pace with the legislative process equipping us to become the UK and Europe’s first space launch site with minimal investment.”

With the space industry predicted to be worth £400bn globally by 2030 and the UK aiming to target 10% of that business by then, Jenner added: “We are confident we can help the government to meet its commitment to have space launch capability in the UK by 2020. A UK Spaceport based in Prestwick would be an economic win for Scotland and the UK.”

Guwahati Airport new terminal construction underway

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Construction work at Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati, north-east India, is now well underway.

A foundation stone for the new integrated terminal building was laid by Union Civil Minister, Ashok Gajapati Raju, and India’s Chief Minister, Sarbanand Sonowal, earlier this year in January. The project is due for completion in 2021 at an estimated cost of US$193 million.

The 9,000sqm terminal is expected to transform the gateway and its operational capabilities, with the airport positioning itself as North East India’s gateway to Southeast Asia.

Airports Authority of India (AAI) said that the new terminal building will be capable of handling 3,100 peak hour passengers at a time. It will also be equipped with state-of-the-art passenger facilities, while the interior design will reflect the local style and culture featuring spaces allocated to local artisans to produce local handicrafts on site, as well as murals depicting popular tourist destinations around Assam.

To conform to a 4-star Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA), the city side of the new terminal building will be landscaped with green areas, while a small internal forest feature will be integrated into the overall design.

Other green features incorporated into the new terminal’s design include the installation of photovoltaic panels capable of generating almost 500KW of solar energy on the car park roof, as well as an efficient solid waste management system and the reuse of treated water for flushing and horticulture purposes.

The design of the terminal’s exterior takes inspiration from Icarus, the mythical figure who dared to fly.

According to Design Forum International, one of the firms working on the design of the project: “The majestic centrepiece looms over the departure concourse, its arms outstretched as it reaches out to the sky. The floating form doubles up as the canopy for the drop-off zone. ”