Skelleftea Airport in Sweden unveils unique disinfection system for safe travel

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Sweden’s Skellefteå Airport is the first airport in the world to install several disinfection systems to reduce the spread of infection and increase the health and safety of passengers.

The disinfection units, which have been supplied by Whitebox, have been installed in various areas, including the baggage hall to disinfect suitcases before they’re rolled out on the conveyor belt, as well as the security checkpoint, where it enables trays to be cleaned automatically after each use. The solution is based on safe, well-tested technology and uses UV light to disinfect contact surfaces and air without chemicals. “The technology has been tested on COVID-19 and the underlying virus of the pandemic SARS COV-2 and the results are assured in a laboratory environment and show that the technology used by Whitebox products kills these viruses with 100% certainty,” said Joakim Wincen, Co-founder Whitebox.

Describing the installation as an “investment in sustainable travel during the ongoing pandemic, but just as much for the future,” Robert Lindgren, CEO and Airport Manager, added: “It is not only during times of crisis that we need to work with reduced spread of infection. That we now have the new solution already is very positive. For Skellefteå Airport, it is important to constantly improve secure travel in every way possible.”

He also noted that being able to participate in developing the technology with Whitebox to help solve one of the biggest societal challenges of all time made him proud. “That we managed to be the first airport in the world to do this is great. Now, we would like to assist with our knowledge and experience – we are happy to advise other airports on how they can improve secure travel too.”

Ink Aviation partners with Nauru Airlines to help safeguard Australasia’s borders

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Nauru Airlines has adopted Ink Aviation’s Health APIS to help comply with the strict COVID-19 entry regulations that exist in Australia, Nauru and the surrounding South Pacific island nations.

Ink’s  solution is able to verify passenger’s COVID-19 health status from paper-based test result certificates and multiple digital health wallets, as their adoption increases. This information can then be interactively assessed by destination governments in advance of a flight departing, helping to reduce the number of cases arriving inside a country’s borders. The airline will use Ink’s APIS to to securely validate and share the COVID-19 test status of passengers and crew prior to travel. Test results will be uploaded by authorised clinics and laboratories directly into the system.

“Passenger health and safety is our top priority,” said Geoff Bowmaker, CEO of Nauru Airlines. “With Ink Health APIS we can be confident we are only accepting passengers and crew on board who have received trusted negative COVID-19 test results without imposing a lengthy pre-departure process.”

Shawn Richards, CEO of Ink Aviation, added: “Nauru Airlines is one of our most endearing client relationships. We have worked  closely to deliver tangible time-savings with a simplified process. The sooner governments can reopen borders, the sooner we can get back to normal life and at Ink, we are committed to making this process safe.”

Providing technology solutions to airports, airlines and ground handlers, Ink Aviation’s ecosystem covers mobile and desktop departure control systems and self-service hardware, to its Identity Management (One ID) platform that enables fully contactless passenger processing. Since the onset of the global pandemic it has been focused on introducing solutions that enable safer airline and cross border travel. It describes INK Health APIS as providing the necessary reassurance for countries to safely reopen their borders, by knowing the health status of every passenger – regardless of where they have come from or are travelling to.

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. ”

Manchester-Boston Regional Airport cleans up with GBAC accreditation

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Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in New England, US, has achieved the cleaning industry’s gold star accreditation.

The regional hub received the gold standard for prepared facilities under the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR accreditation scheme, in recognition of stringent protocols that have been implemented for cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention.

“This is great news for the safety of our staff, travellers and the airport community-at-large,” said Manchester-Boston’s Airport Director, Ted Kitchens. “Consumers who choose to travel by air out of Manchester-Boston Regional Ariport can travel with the confidence that the airport places their health and safety as our primary concern each-and-every day.”

Commenting on how the GBAC STAR verifies that the New England gateway implements best practices to prepare for, respond to and recover from outbreaks and pandemics, GBAC Executive Director Patricia Olinger said: “By taking this important step to pursue GBAC STAR, Manchester-Boston Regional Airport has received third-party validation that it follows strict protocols for biorisk situations, thereby demonstrating its preparedness and commitment to operating safely.”

Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig added that the accreditation means the airport is “one of only 15 airports worldwide and the only airport in New England to achieve GBAC STAR, providing yet another reason why travellers should choose Manchester-Boston Regional Airport when travelling.”

To achieve the accreditation, the airport was required to demonstrate compliance with the programme’s 20 core elements, which range from standard operating procedures and risk assessment strategies to personal protective equipment and emergency preparedness and response measures.

charlotte douglas

Editor’s comment: It’s safe to fly

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charlotte douglas

As it looks beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the biggest challenges for the global aviation community has been the need to restore passenger confidence.

Whether it’s in the terminal building or onboard an aircraft, airports and airlines are constantly battling against concern from passengers over the risk of disease transmission. This is further exacerbated by haphazard, restrictive international travel bans and blanket quarantines.

So, it’s welcome news that after a six-month analysis of the air travel industry’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, Flight Safety Foundation has concluded that industry efforts have succeeded in greatly reducing the possibility of transmission in airports and on aircraft.

“The latest evidence shows that airports and aircrafts have very low levels of transmission,” said Dr Hassan Shahidi, Flight Safety Foundation’s CEO and President (pictured). He added that, “With the health and safety measures that airlines, airports and security personnel have now put in place, the risk of contracting this virus appears extraordinarily low, much lower than in other public places.”

International airport health accreditation programmes, improved cleaning and disinfection procedures and technologies, as well as contactless check-in and other self-service solutions, and socially distant boarding and deplaning procedures are all credited with enhancing health safety.

Given the “extraordinary measures” that have been implemented, Dr Shahidi underlined that, “the travelling public should have increased confidence to fly”.

With a bleak winter looming, we all (media included) have a role to play in sharing that it’s safe to fly and in keeping pressure on governments to introduce universally accepted testing standards – the UK Government’s commitment to implementing a testing system for international travel is a welcome first step. We also need to keep looking forward and hope that the industry’s recovery picks up speed in the new year.

Enjoy your weekend,

Chloë Greenbank

Editor, Regional Gateway.