Smiths Detection unveils new lithium battery detection for air cargo and checked baggage screening

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A leader in threat detection and security screening technologies, Smiths Detection, has launched a new lithium batteries algorithm for its dual-view air cargo and checked-baggage screening system – the HI-SCAN 10080 EDX-2is.

“We are continually striving to develop new technologies to ensure the safety of people globally,” said Richard Thompson, Global Director Aviation for Smiths Detection. “Harnessing the power of deep learning is crucial in further developing object recognition algorithms. This new technology has been developed by working with our customers to capture thousands of X-ray images to then be analysed by the new algorithm so it can learn to detect lithium batteries based on shape,” he explained.

Providing automatic detection of lithium batteries in all freight and baggage screened for explosives by the HI-SCAN 10090 EDX-2is, the algorithm reduces the burden on image analysts with very low false alarm rates.

With consumer demand for lithium batteries growing significantly, these batteries are the primary power source for personal and portable electronic devices. Classified as dangerous goods because of the potential for these batteries to ignite, lithium batteries pose a significant safety threat.

The lithium battery algorithm is part of Smiths Detection’s family of AI-algorithms, iCMORE, which Smiths Detection launched in July 2020, and which provides powerful automatic detection of dangerous goods and weapons across its conventional X-ray and EDS technologies using deep learning and classical material discrimination, increasing the safety of passengers, staff, goods and aircraft in a quick and efficient way.

“This algorithm will provide the powerful detection of lithium batteries while increasing efficiency and speed for users,” added Thompson.

SITA launches AI-enabled solution to address issue of lost items

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SITA has launched an artificial intelligence-enabled solution that address the million-dollar headache for airports and airlines of reuniting passengers with their lost property.

Every year passengers leave millions of items – including phones, wallets and bags – in airports and on aircraft. It’s an issue that costs the industry millions of dollars in repatriation costs and can cost up to $95 to manage and repatriate a lost item, including registration, handling inquiries, customer calls, storage and postage.

SITA’s new WorldTracer Lost and Found Property solution can cut costs by 90% and significantly reduces repatriation time. Leveraging the technology provider’s WorldTracer solution, which is already used in 2,200 airports by the majority of the world’s airlines, Lost and Found Property cuts the cost of repatriating lost items by 90%. It also dramatically speeds up the time taken to find and return found items, which 60% of these items returned within the first 48 hours.

Using cutting-edge technology such as computer vision, machine learning, and natural language processing, WorldTracer Lost and Found Property searches a global database of images and descriptions to match the found item to a missing item report. Image recognition is used to identify details such as brand, material, and colour of the missing item. The airline or airport can then immediately notify the owner and return the item. Passengers have full visibility of the process through the WorldTracer portal no matter where in the world the item was lost, a feature that is expected to significantly improve passenger satisfaction.

“WorldTracer is a great example of how SITA continues to evolve its portfolio to meet the changing demands of the industry. For almost three decades WorldTracer has helped to successfully trace mishandled bags. Now, using new technology, we are adding further value by helping the industry be more efficient and reduce costs around lost items at a time when it is most needed,” said David Lavorel, CEO SITA at Airports and Borders.

Vanderlande collaborates with Western Sydney International’s ‘airport of the future’

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Vanderlande was recently awarded the contract to deliver a state-of-the-art baggage handling system (BHS) to Western Sydney International Airport (WSIA).

Currently under construction within the suburb of Badgery’s Creek, the new Western Sydney hub has been designed to meet Australia’s growing aviation needs and supplement the Kingsford Smith Airport which has reached capacity due to a legislative curfew and flight cap. The greenfield project is being completed in several phases and is expected to enter operational readiness and acceptance trials in late 2024, before opening to passenger and freight services in late 2026. Vanderlande is delivering a range of innovative solutions as part of the BHS package. Its ADAPTO BAGSTORE will be the core of the system, providing flexibility and scalability as well as high storage density and 100% redundancy.

ADAPTO BAGSTORE also gives WSIA the ability to ‘batch build’ baggage ensuring efficient use of resources and to deploy the emerging service of “reclaim on demand” due to its ability to store inbound bags. Vanderlande’s high-speed TUBTRAX individual carrier system (ICS) works in harmony with ADAPTO and allows in-tub screening. In addition, all Vanderlande solutions are integrated with its controls platform, VIBES – a software solution that covers the complete baggage process, and interfaces directly with airport and airline IT systems to provide a holistic view.

Using FLEET Bag Av-technology, speed loaders for efficient ULD loading and a central make-up area for economic use of resources, the Vanderlande system will also include out-of-gauge baggage handling. It will also link to a sub-system in which couriers will be able to drop off bags enabling WSIA to proivde the option of remote check-in and bag drop services. Self-bag drop capability will also be integrated into the system.

Commenting on the opportunity to collaborate with WSIA to help deliver their inspirational vision that is the centrepiece of Sydney’s third Central Business District, Shaun Roper, Vanderlande’s Managing Director Airports said: “We are confident that our partnership approach, strong local team and global network of knowledge coupled with an extensive use of local trades and services will together bring value and benefit to WSIA and the local community. With this, alongside our innovative baggage solutions, Western Sydney Airport can be confident that together we will deliver a world-class experience for every passenger.”

Vanderlande’s Executive VP Airport and Parcel Solutions added, “This is not only about technology, but also understanding how our solutions can make WSIA a great place to work and support the wider Sydney community.”

Header image: On the left Shaun Roper, Managing Director Airports, Vanderlande, and on the right Simon Hickey, CEO Western Sydney Airport
Smiths Detection

Hamad International Airport deploys Smiths Detection latest checkpoint screening technoloty

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Smiths Detection

Hamad International Airport (HIA) in Qatar is first in the region to deploy Smiths Detection’s HI-SCAN 6040 CTiX. The latest checkpoint screening technology offers advanced screening of carry-on baggage at security checkpoints using Computed Tomography (CT) X-ray. The technology enables airport operators to deliver the highest levels of security internationally and optimises checkpoint performance by expediting the screening processes helping improve the overall passenger experience.

Critically this investment in screening technology will enable passengers to keep electronic devices and liquids in their hand baggage when going through the security checkpoint procedure.

“At HIA, we are always championing the adoption of cutting-edge technologies to ensure operational excellence and deliver a seamless passenger experience,” said Saeed Yousef Al-Sulaiti, VP Security at HIA. “Smiths Detection has a reputation for providing market leading solutions with world-renowned standards for quality. We are proud to be the first airport in the region to introduce the latest CT screening technology available in the industry. HIA is committed to remaining at the forefront of technological advancements to continuously enhance the passenger experience while improving operational efficiency.”

To help safeguard the health and wellbeing of passengers and staff  the new systems will be partnered with fully automated tray return systems integrated with automated UV-C emitting modules that will automatically disinfect the trays before passengers handle them to further safeguard the health and safety of all HIA passengers.

New passenger screening technology has also been selected to replace the previous equipment, with HIA introducing Rohde & Schwarz Millimeter-wave body scanners and CEIA shoe scanners, reducing the need for pat-down search and shoe removal.

The new screening systems are in line with HIA’s mission to optimise various airport operations with smart solutions to cope with the disruptions caused by COVID-19 and are at the heart of the airport’s digital transformation.

Guernsey Airport signs three-year contract with Redline Assured Security

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Air Partner company Redline Assured Security has been awarded a new three-year contract with Guernsey Airport to carry out x-ray threat image recognition training (TIRT) for cabin baggage.

Designed to fine tune x-ray image screeners’ ability to detect even the smalles components of viable threats, Redline is seeing a good level of demand for its user friendly and technically sophisticated COVID-19 secure TIRT system. Its proprietary security management system (SeMS), which allows managers to effectively assess and manage risk in an ever-changing threat environment, is also gaining good traction with customers.

The company has secured contract renewals with existing airport customers in a demonstration of continued trust in Redline’s services. Birmingham Airport has extended its TIRT contract, while Belfast international Airport has also renewed its contract for Redline’s SeMS. Since joining the Air Partner group in December 2019, Redline has secured 17 contract wins and 19 renewals.

“Redline secured a number of good business wins with a diverse range of customers throughout the first half of the year, including the UK Civil Aviation Authority and Align JV to provide support for an HS2 project. I am very pleased to see this momentum continue, with airports continuing to place their trust in us and invest in our services,” said Mark Biriffa, Air Partner CEO. “The level of contract wins and renewals we are seeing serves to demonstrate the quality of Redline’s varied security solutions and the value they offer both new and existing customers.”

Paul Mason, Managing Director of Air Partner’s Safety & Security division, added: “Redline’s service offering continues to gain traction with airports and other business sectors. Our threat image recognition training and security management system offerings are industry-leading and we look forward to rolling them out to even more customers in the coming months and years to further bolster their security capabilities.”

Vanderlande steps up support for airport industry

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In response to the impact that global coronavirus pandemic is having on air travel, Vanderlande, which specialises in baggage handling and value-added logistic process automation for airports, is offering its expertise for 360° disinfecting systems for hold baggage freely to the the global airport community.

Acknowledging the industry’s common goal – to restore confidence in the health and safety of air travel – Vanderlande has been actively engaged in the research and development of baggage disinfection systems. In doing so it has analysed the processes surrounding the passenger and baggage journeys through an airport and concludes that an effective solution cannot be solely dependent on one specific technology.

“We believe it is crucial to work partnership with our customers and the airport industry at large to restore passenger confidence in travel,” said Andrew Manship, Vanderlande’s Executive Vice President Airports and Board Member. The company plans to release specifications for 360° disinfecting systems for hold baggage based on research conducted in North America. These specifications will be offered freely to the industry in order to support airports and airlines as they adapt to post COVID-19 operations.

“This sector has endured one of the biggest impacts of the coronavirus crisis, and we believe that the sharing of information and working closely together are the key to our market being able to adapt rapidly to the continuing challenges of the pandemic,” Manship added.

Wanzl’s new luggage trolley designed with both passengers and airport operators in mind

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A familiar brand around airport terminals Wanzl has unveiled its innovative new luggage trolley – the Voyager Evolution 3000, which is suitable for any airport no matter what their size.

According to Wanzl, while passengers benefit from the innovate design, airport staff will also appreciate the trolley’s elegant and dynamic look. With its low-weight, ergonomic handle with anti-bacterial powder coating, the world’s most reliable castors and Wanzl’s maintenance-free brake system, the Voyager Evolution 3000 is easy to manoeuvre and steer. The extended platform allows for large pieces of luggage, while an extended bumper protection safeguards users and airport fixtures from damage. The trolley also features a hybrid basket with the largest possible advertising space, which also allows for the integration of RFID tracking solutions for optimal fleet management.

Alstef strengthens partnership with Sheremetyevo Airport

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Having completed and commissioned the complete baggage sorting systems in Terminals B and C at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport, baggage handling solutions provider Alstef has been selected to maintain and operate these two terminals for a 10-year period.

A team of 80 people is working across the two terminals to allow a 24/7 presence that will ensure the system’s operation as well as preventive and corrective maintenance of the equipment. Remote assistance and the implementation of a computerised maintenance management system (CMMS) will also be in place.

The system is controlled using BagWare software developed by Alstef. Control teams can manage the allocation of the sorting chutes according to flights, automatic storages, the daily update of flight schedules and the treatment of the out-of-format baggage. Baggage tracking is ensured throughout the various screening stages (explosives, radiation, customs, prohibited items) which includes manual coding if needed and the ability to send baggage tot he reconciliation zone if its deemed suspicious.

Abilene Regional Airport

Predictions for tomorrow’s passenger journey

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Abilene Regional Airport

More than 70 areas of the passenger journey are set to change forever according to a report by aviation marketing consultancy, SimpliFlying.

Titled The Rise of Sanitised Travel, the report explores areas that are expected to either change or be introduced from scratch to restore confidence in flying after COVID-19.

While previously, during online check-in, passengers only had to upload their passport details, choose seats and pay for options services like checked bags, in the age of ‘sanitised travel’ they will be required to upload an immunity passport confirming the presence of antibodies for COVID-19.

Only those travelling will be allowed to enter the airport, at least four hours prior to departure. And before they are allowed in the departure area, passengers will either need to show their immunity passport or go through a disinfection tunnel and thermal scanners. Only if they are deemed ‘fit to fly’ will they be allowed in.

Touchless check-in airport terminals are also things that passengers can expect to see. Those travelling will be given a code to scan or will use voice commands when checking in. Passengers will be handed gloves and masks to wear throughout their journey and once onboard the aircraft seatback pockets will be left empty and disinfectant wipes are likely to become part of the in-flight service.

When checking in bags, passengers can expect them to be ‘sanitagged’ after going through fogging, electrostatic or UV-disinfection. And while most passengers travelling to or around the US will be familiar with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Transportation Health Authority (THA) is also set to become commonplace.

Once they’ve arrived at their destination passengers can expect their bags to be sanitised before being placed on the belt. They might also be required to pass through thermal scanners before exiting the airport and immigration officers will be wearing gloves and masks.

Referencing how the previous 9/11 crisis changed travel completely with increased security checks and longer check-in times, Shashank Nigam, CEO SimpliFlying commented: “The impact of COVID-19 on air travel will be even more far-reaching when it comes to sanitation and cleanliness…

“Just like when security checks were introduced, there will be distinct audiences airlines will need to convince: Authorities and the travelling public.”

He added that, “In addition, government authorities and airport operators will want to know that airlines adhere to a certain standard of cleanliness and hygiene before offering up landing slots.”

Nigam also highlighted a particular challenge that low-fare airlines will face in the post COVID-19 landscape. “Enhanced cleaning regimes could spell the end of the 30-minute turnaround, upon which many low-cost carriers base much of their business model.”