A Revolution in Boarding an Aircraft
Providing an easy and quick boarding process while maintaining the highest level of security are two of the most important goals of every airport and airline. Most recently, the new Covid-19 restrictions have also created additional requirements and steps to the processes which have created a tougher passenger experience.
Being aware of this situation, a few airports and operators around the world are committed to improving the passenger experience and therefore are implementing a variety of technologies that aim to revolutionise the whole journey.
Below, are three initiatives that are aiming for a less stressful passenger experience.
CT Scanners at Amsterdam, Schiphol Airport
Commonly used in the medical field, the CT (Computed Tomography) scanner is now being used to provide high-resolution 3D images that enable security operators at airports to make a more accurate assessment of a bag’s contents.
This technology has been adopted by Schiphol Airport as part of their Seamless Flow strategy – a public-private cooperation in which the government, the airport and airlines are closely working together to explore the best way to secure a more effortless passenger experience. (International Airport Review, 2019).
The CT scan allows passengers to keep both liquids and electronic devices such as laptops in their bags during the security checks, optimising time for passengers and increasing the level of security. The technology also allows security staff to check baggage on their screen in 3D and even rotate it 360 degrees allowing a more detailed and accurate analysis.
(Source: Aviation Insights)
In addition to Schiphol Airport, the CT technology is also being tested and implemented in the US at the airports of Miami, Philadelphia, Richmond and Norfolk. (Avila, 2021)
The Azul Blue Carpet, Brazil
The Brazilian Carrier Azul has implemented a boarding system that offers more convenience, agility, and comfort by making the embarking process faster and more organized. The technology is based on floor projections that show where each passenger according to seat number should be at every stage of the boarding (Simple flying, 2021).
The video below shows exactly how this works. Even though the video is in Portuguese, it provides a great visual understanding of this technology: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNCWLNrK-40
(Source: ALN News, 2020)
The results show that there is an estimated time reduction of approximately 25% from the moment the boarding starts to the sitting of each passenger inside the plane. (Simple flying, 2021).
So far, Azul has implemented this technology at Campinas and Goiânia airports. The plan includes implementation to Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador.
Biometric Boarding, Lufthansa Group
As part of its strategy of constant improvement of the customer experience, the Lufthansa Group has started the implementation of the Biometric Boarding System in their flight gates. This technology utilizes facial recognition to board the aircraft efficiently and seamlessly by reducing queuing time and contact between passengers.
This Biometric Boarding System follows this procedure:
1. The passenger approaches the ‘self-boarding gate’, a device with sophisticated facial recognition cameras that capture passengers’ facial images.
2. This image is securely sent to the CBP database for real-time matching and verification.
3. After a successful and instantaneous match, the system recognizes the passenger as “boarded”.
4. The passenger no longer needs to show a boarding pass or passport at the gate (Lufthansa group, 2019).
Currently, the Lufthansa Group is implementing the Biometric Boarding to their base at JFK, following successful trials at Los Angeles, Orlando and Miami airports.
Change comes slowly to the aviation industry, and these are only a few initiatives that are being displayed in airports around the world. This is a reminder that every crisis brings changes, and new technologies will continue to improve the safety and security in airports across the world. Even as the risk of transmission goes down, the need for a more efficient and more pleasant passenger experience is becoming increasingly important and a combination of small initiatives can really help revolutionise the whole journey.