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.”

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.

Cologne Bonn gains Georgian link

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Serving as a gateway to Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia region, Cologne Bonn Airport is adding a new carrier to its airline ranks later this month, when Georgian Airways launches a new route between the German Airport and Georgia’s capital – Tbilisi.

“We are very pleased about the new commitment of Georgian Airways at our airport,” said Athanasios Titonis, managing director, Cologne Bonn Airport commenting on the new service. “With Tbilisi now on our network, we can offer our passengers an exciting, unusual destination.”

Last month, United Airports of Georgia hosted Connect’s 15th networking Forum in Tbilisi, raising the profile of the country as a fast-growing market with huge potential.

Following this event, the Georgian carrier’s twice-weekly connection to Cologne Bonn is one of 11 new links being launched by Georgian Airways this month. As well as facing no competition on the airport pair, the route will boost Cologne Bonn’s airport capacity, adding more than 6,000 seats to its summer 2018 schedule.

Header image: Tbilisi Airport

Southampton Airport invests in training centre for local businesses

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Serving as a gateway to South East England, Southampton Airport has launched a new training centre for businesses across the region, as well as further afield thanks to the airport’s strong transport links around the country.

EchoFour, which takes its name from the runway entry/ exit point to the airport’s fire training ground, was brought to life after it was identified that there was a need for a high-quality training resource in the South of England.

Neil Garwood, head of operations at Southampton Airport said: “Here at Southampton Airport we pride ourselves on investing in the local business community. That’s why we’re excited to open our new training centre, EchoFour. So companies from across the region and further afield can easily access high quality training in a unique environment.”

Courses on offer range from first aid and team building, to maritime firefighting and confined-space training in a purpose-built facility, as well as aviation fire training. The facility also offers the opportunity to tailor training courses to meet specific company needs.

Liverpool plans for growth through to 2030

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Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) has launched its Strategic Vision to 2030 outlining how it plans to grow operations and bring further benefits, including increased employment through non-aviation development, for Liverpool city and the surrounding region.

One of the UK’s major regional airports, LJLA plays an integral role both as an international gateway and as a major driver of the local economy. Already a large local employer both in its own right and through its supply chain, the airport facilitates trade and business links throughout the region by providing access to international markets and supporting inbound travel.

Referencing that it’s the ‘faster, easier, friendlier’ airport of choice for passengers from across the region, Robert Hough, LJLA chairman, said: “We cannot afford to stand still in what remains a very challenging economic and competitive environment, which is why we have set out our strategic vision for the airport going forward in order to deliver continued success.”

Despite a challenging environment, the airport has gone from strength to strength in recent years, with passenger numbers increasing 25% since 2014.

More than 5 million passengers a year now choose to fly to and from Liverpool and with forecasts indicating that the airport has the potential to grow passenger numbers to 7.8 million by 2030, LJLA has revealed ambitious plans to serve more destinations to its network including long-haul routes.

The airport also has extensive plans to expand the terminal building and improve passenger facilities including car parking, hotels and retail offerings, as well as extend the runway. The renovations, however, come with an impressive price tag, requiring a planned investment of around £100 million over the next 10 years.

New airport CEO, John Irving, stated that “prior to joining the airport company I was well aware of Liverpool’s recent success story and the excellent reputation it has within the aviation industry.

“The Peel Group’s continued investment in the airport has seen Liverpool become one of the UK’s stand-out, regional airports. By working with stakeholders from across the region to implement our latest strategic vision, there is every reason to believe that by building on our success, this growth can continue, bringing tremendous economic benefits for the city region, the North West and beyond.”

Header image: LJLA’s Strategy Director Mark Povall, Chairman Robert Hough and CEO John Irving at the launch of the airport’s Strategic Vision to 2030.

airBaltic adds nine routes for summer

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Latvian airline airBaltic, beginning 27 March, will enter the summer season with nine new routes and an improved schedule linking the Baltic region with destinations in Europe, Scandinavia, CIS and the Middle East.

The low-fare airline will offer more than 70 direct services this summer from Riga, Tallinn and Vilnius.

For the 2018 summer season, airBaltic will offer new services from Riga to Malaga (Spain), Lisbon (Portugal), Split (Croatia), Bordeaux (France), Gdansk (Poland), Almaty (Kazakhstan) as well as Sochi and Kaliningrad (both in Russia).

In addition, airBaltic will also launch a new route connecting Tallinn and London.

“Our passengers are always the focus when deciding on new routes, and we are delighted that for this summer season we will offer our passengers new, convenient connections for sunny holiday getaways to amazing destinations,” said Martin Gauss, chief executive officer of airBaltic.

airBaltic will also improve service for the summer season in Ukraine by increasing frequencies from Odessa to Riga up to six weekly flights starting 25 March 2018. Additional frequencies will also be added for such destinations as Paris, Munich, Warsaw, Moscow and Milan among others.

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: 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 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: 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.