Pristina Airport in Kosovo rolls out Amadeus’ automated check-in and bag drop technology

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Passengers travelling through Pristina Airport in Kosovo will now be able to check-in and drop bags independently with Amadeus’ solutions.

The Kosovo hub has been steadily modernising its services since the government entered a 20-year franchise with infrastructure management specialist, the Limak Group in 2011. In line with that agreement, in 2018 the airport had already deployed Amadeus’s Altea Departure Control for Ground Handlers and Baggage Reconciliation System to improve services while reducing costs by 20%.

“With the COVID-19  pandemic travellers demand on automated, quick, convenient and contactless experience at the airport, which is why we’re giving them the option to do self-service bag drop. It is the most important step as it drastically reduces crowding and complements our high rate of online check-in, which is already over 90%,” said Gökmen Aritay, COO, Pristina Airport.

The latest phase of modernisation will see Pristina upgrade its self-service check-in and bag drop so passengers benefit from a smooth experience and can take greater control over every stage of their journey through the airport.

The project will see 10 Auto Bag Drop (ABD) units from ICM Airport Technics, an Amadeus company, deployed for the benefit of airlines and their passengers in time for the summer season. The ABD units will help to automate the process of check-in and bag drop, whilst reducing interpersonal contact as a response to COVID-19. They will be implemented as a retrofit solution, equating to a third of Pristina’s traditional check-in counters.

Richard Dinkelmann, CEO, ICM Airport Technics, an Amadeus company commented: “Despite the challenging environment airports continue to prioritise an automated passenger experience. Contactless, biometrics and self-service are key tools to help airports restore traveller confidence whilst lowering operational costs. We’re pleased to expand our partnership with Pristina to deliver on its vision for a safer, more automated airport.”

Eleven airports in Finland to benefit from modernised check-in and boarding experience

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Finnish airport operator Finavia has teamed up with Amadeus to modernise the passenger experience at 11 of its airports.

Finavia serves more than 50 airlines operating scheduled flights and has more than 600 check-in desks at the airports. It chose Amadeus Flow, an integrated cloud solution, to modernise all aspects of passenger handling including software, hardware and services. This includes accelerating innovations such as contactless payment for a more agile response to COVID-19.

“We’re moving to an open cloud platform with Amadeus and that means we can roll out new innovations far more easily, without lengthy certification  cycles or on-site IT projects. We’re now well placed to add innovations like contactless payments quickly and easily without the need for Finavia to become a systems integrator. Airports are digitally transforming and I believe COVID-19 marks a tipping point where our industry goes cloud,” siad Leyla Akgez-Laakso, CIO, Finavia.

A single internet link connects Finavia’s airports to Amadeus where any airline application can be easily deployed in a matter of hours. Frictionless payment enables travellers to pay more easily with contactless technology. Amadeus’s Airport Pay solution will be deployed from the cloud allowing passengers to pay for ancillary services such as extra baggage or lounge access conveniently and in a contactless manner at all check-in desks.

The flexibility of the cloud infrastructure means that Finavia, airlines and ground handling companies can easily open, close or relocate check-in desks, boarding gates or services with agility in response to fluctuating passenger demand caused by COVID-19. This agility will also facilitate seasonal demand at airports like Lapland, where passengers will be able to check in and drop their bags from Lapland’s hotels in the future.

“The immediate pressures of COVID-19 and the demands of long-term digital transformation both require a new approach to airport technology,” said Yannick Beunardeua, VP Airport IT EMEA, Amadeus. “Airports need to be able to roll out new capabilities quickly and they need to be able to adapt services to changing requirements of passengers. By choosing to run its infrastructure from the cloud with Amadeus, Finavia is ready to innovate for many years to come.”

He also noted that with many of Finavia’s regional airports being heavily seasonal, “we have plans to harness the cloud to offer airlines a possibility to check in passengers at hotels, reducing queues and demand of services at the terminal. ”

The major technology modernisation will also see a full hardware refresh including 600 agent workstations, printers and scanners which are all fully integrated into the Amadeus Flow platform. The migration will begin to yield benefits during 2021 and is expected to be fully completed at 11 of Finavia’s 20 airports at the beginning of 2022.

Amadeus addresses digital health verification needs for passengers

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Amadeus has embedded digital health passports into its Traveler ID platform to help airports and airlines speed up passenger processing while meeting regulatory requirements.

A secure platform, Traveler ID connects, digitises and automates traveller identification and document validation across the passenger journey. Following the addition of  the new capabilities it now also addresses global passenger health verification needs  by connecting the health certification touchpoints end-to-end, integrating multiple stakeholders involved in the process and providing a secure way for passengers to show they have the necessary health documentation in order to travel.

Addressing concerns around data security and privacy, Traveler ID enables passengers to choose when and where they want to provide digital evidence of their health status.

Airports can integrate the solution directly into their own digital channels, as can airlines. And because it sits natively within their IT systems, there’s no need for travellers to be redirected to third-party apps. It can be used by the passenger either before departure or while at the airport, during check-in, at a self-service kiosk or bag drop.

“Self-service check-in is a fundamental step for passengers to flow smoothly through an airport and onto a plane,” said Monika Wiederhold, Amadeus’ Global Program Lead for Safe Travel Ecosystem, and EVP Airlines Central and Eastern Europe. “Yet the current need for manual checks of health documentation, while maintaining social distancing, means that some of our airline customers currently require around 90% of their usual check-in staff to process just 30% of passengers. Travel ID’s new capability allows a passenger to show required health documentation in a secure and automated way, by adding it digitally into the airline or airport system, whether passengers check-in from home or at the airport,” she continued.

Amadeus is integrating its Travel ID solution with multiple health information aggregators, such as CommonPass and ICC AOKpass to enable travellers to retrieve digital records through the provider of their choice, without leaving the airline website, mobile or app. The platform also has direct connections to test centres partnering with airlines, providing a global, robust coverage.

To help restart travel and meet the challenges posed by COVID-19 Amadeus is bringing together travellers, governments and travel providers together through its Safe Travel Ecosystem programme, which recognises that industry-wide collaboration and open technology is key to facilitating a safer, smoother journey.

Explaining how Traveler ID contributes to the Safe Travel Ecosystem initiative, Wiederhold said: “One of our main objectives through the Safe Travel Ecosystem is to put our technology and expertise at the service of our customers in order to drive travel recovery. One way that we are doing that is by connecting existing identity and health validation initiatives in order to accelerate global adoption. All travel providers are united in our aim to strengthen traveller confidence, and the new capability that we are announcing today in Traveler ID will help support that by reducing queues and bottlenecks throughout the journey. This is only the beginning, with great potential for this solution with further customer groups. ”

Eight Turkish airports to benefit from Amadeus collaboration

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Following an agreement with Turkish Ground Services (TGS) to enhance the agility of operations, passenger and flight services at eight Turkish airports will now be managed with Amadeus Technology. The airports include: Istanbul, Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen, Ankara Esenboğa, Izmir Adnan Menderes, Antalya, Adana, Milas-Bodrum and Dalaman airports.

In response to fluctuating passenger numbers, cost pressures and significantly higher levels of disruption as a result of the current global health emergency, TGS will move to Amadeus Altéa Departure Control for Ground Handlers, empowering agents with a single, intuitive, interface to handle the passengers of any airline flexibly. Innovative new features mean TGS can now handle unexpected or charter flights more easily, so the ground handler can respond quickly as airlines adapt their plans due to the pandemic.

“TGS is a major ground handler in Turkey with an impressive passenger focused approach,” said Bruno Spada, Executive VP, Airport IT, Amadeus. “We’re pleased to be partnering to enhance TGS’ flexibility, to reduce costs and to help the company best respond to the ongoing impact of the current health emergency.”

The move to partner with Amadeus further supports TGS’ value for airlines by removing the need for them to deploy local IT infrastructure and network connections at the airports TGS serves. In addition, TGS will better personalise its passenger services according to the unique business rules of each individual airline, delivering a better overall passenger experience. TGS will also benefit from Amadeus’ unique community model approach, whereby an enhancement proposed by one community member is then made available for the benefit of all following technical development.

Nurzat Erkal, CEO, Turkish Ground Services commented: “Moving to Amadeus delivers increased flexibility across the board. Our agents can detect passenger issues earlier, which reduces flight delays and we can even handle ad hoc, charter or unexpected flights at the last minute. This additional flexibility is welcome during the current period of significant disruption.”

Editor’s comment: Transforming the way we travel

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The evolving behavioural patterns of passengers as a result of the global pandemic has led to a need for airports to reduce points of physical contact and address areas where space is restricted to help ensure the wellbeing of passengers and staff.

EUROCONTROL has already said that with health and safety a top priority across the global travel sector, airports need to focus on reducing the impact of space constraints across their facilities. In a study published in September, EUROCONTROL highlighted that for the same passenger numbers in a pre-COVID queue 50% more space is now required at check-in, while 100% more space is needed at security control and immigration.

Addressing the issue of space constraints in airports, travel technology specialist Amadeus is already engaged in a significant number of projects globally, that are aimed at reducing congestion in airports by implementing contactless technology and fostering a more streamlined passenger experience.

Current projects include deploying biometric boarding capabilities at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in the US and facilitating a completely touchless experience across 20 of Norway’s airports.

In a recent study commissioned by Amadeus more than 6,000 travellers across France, Germany, India, Singapore, the UK and the US were quizzed on their concerns around air travel in light of COVID-19 and the technologies the industry can leverage to boost confidence and accelerate demand.

More than four in five (84%) travellers said technology would increase their confidence to travel in the next 12 months by addressing concerns around mixing with crowds, social distancing and physical touchpoints. More than a third (36%) said self-service check-in would increase confidence to travel in the next 12 months. Meanwhile, 34% of travellers surveyed said biometrics that enable check-in, pass-through security and boarding without the need for physical checks would make them more likely to travel.

I’m firmly in the ‘say yes to biometrics’ camp. I signed my face away on social media a long time ago, so COVID or no COVID anything that helps reduce pressure points in an airport gets my vote!

For more insights from Amadeus make sure you subscribe now to receive your complimentary copy of the upcoming issue of Regional Gateway. It features Bruno Spada, Amadeus’s Executive VP Airport IT, explaining how the cloud can help regional airports respond to COVID-19.

Have a great weekend,

Chloë Greenbank

Editor, Regional Gateway

fort lauderdale hollywood airport biometric amadeus

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport introduces biometric boarding with Spirit Airlines

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fort lauderdale hollywood airport biometric amadeus

Broward County’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport in Florida has partnered with Amadeus to enable biometric boarding for all international departures with Spirit Airlines.

Using Amadeus’ facial-recognition technology passengers departing from the Florida hub can now scan their face instead of their boarding pass when boarding their flight. The upgrade delivers a touchless boarding experience whilst complying with the US Customs & Border Protection Agency (CBP) requirements for all international travellers to biometrically validate when they have left the country.

Spirit Airlines, which is rolling out reduced-contact experiences for travellers across the country, is the first carrier at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood to use the new touchless technology. “Biometric technology will let us make the trip from curb to gate faster and easier, and it’s part of what we call the ‘Airport of the Future,’” said Spirit Vice President of Airport Services, Mike Byrom.

Passengers are verified to depart when they step in front of one of the new ‘Biopods’ from ICM Airport Technics, an Amadeus company, installed at 14 of Spirit’s traditional departure gates in Terminal 4. Each ‘Biopod’ features a high-resolution 3D camera and secure encrypted connectivity to the CBP Traveller Verification System (TVS). The image captured at the boarding gate is then matched against the images stored by CBP. In line with privacy regulations, no personal biometric data is stored by Spirit, the airport, other airlines or Amadeus.

Once passengers have been verified, a unique tokenised identity representing the respective traveller is generated. The airline is alerted to the fact that passenger is now boarding the aircraft.

Commenting on the new service, Mark Gale, CEO/ Director of Aviation at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport said: “If they wish, international departing passengers from Fort Lauderdale can now choose a completely automated and technology-enabled experience during boarding, without the need to interact with an agent.”

Betros Wakim, President Airport IT Americas, Airport IT, Amadeus added: “Our mission is to deliver a safer and more streamlined passenger experience. We have therefore built an end-to-end and scalable biometric solution that is flexible enough to deploy any biometric hardware device from check-in kiosks to self-bag drop devices to biometric boarding gates. The solution is easily integrated with airline systems allowing an airport to rapidly add biometric capability,”