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The Airband - a wireless tracking device for children flying unaccompanied.
pre-clearance for US travel and want to replicate
this for entry into the European Union beyond the
Netherlands,” she adds.
The trial could form the baseline for the digitisation
of European border controls, temporarily re-erected
after the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015.
The ability of multiple government agencies to access
passenger data stored by airlines, airports and other
private companies hinge on data privacy laws being
amended, often requiring treaty.
As with Aruba Happy Flow, biometric facial
recognition travel will first happen between those
countries with deep trust and existing data transfer
rules. Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop
announced in October that her government is
exploring passport-free travel options with New
Zealand, using biometric data gathered for all existing
passport holders of the two countries.
Elsewhere it is the private sector innovating in this
field. United Airlines was the first US airline to allow
its passengers to upload their passport data during
the mobile check-in phase by scanning the machine-
readable pages in the document. This data is verified
by a private credentials management service that
checks against lists of fraudulent passports.
Beyond the border, the storage and transfer
of the vast swathes of passenger data has huge
potential to reduce the stress of air travel. The ability
to be able to track your own bags is an obvious
first step. Australia’s Qantas was the first airline to
use radio frequency identification (RFID) permanent
bag tags for international flights for its services to
New Zealand. Recently several European airlines
including Iberia, British Airways and Lufthansa
have launched next generation RFID tags, initially
restricted to premium passengers.
IATA has several working groups defining
common standards for future technology to ensure
interoperability between carriers. Before global
conventions are set, airlines adopting new technology
must ensure backwards compatibility. For example,
Lufthansa collaborated with German luxury luggage
maker Rimowa to create a permanent bag tag that
features an electronic ink display that mirrors the
industry-standard licence plate tags used today.
Jan Reh, CEO of Rimowa’s electronic tag project
says: “We wanted to make it as easy as possible to
go from analogue to digital. What we have created
is a one-to-one electronic tag – it’s the same size as
the paper tag, it contains the same information as the
paper tag, and it can also include the green stripe for
flights within the European Union.”
In the US, several carriers have added bag tracing
services to their mobile websites. American Airlines’
Track Your Bag was introduced in December 2015,
following on from US Airways earlier in the year and
a prototype launched by Delta in 2011. Each uses
manual data from bag tag checkpoints to feed into
an approximate location within the airport.
RFID tags will present a more accurate answer
and private RFID providers such as Eviate are
working with carriers including Air France-KLM to roll
out commercially-viable bag trackers for mass use.
Eventually bags will no longer be routinely taken
to airports at all, with downtown check-in facilities
and hotel baggage deliveries commonplace, predicts
Randel Darby, chief executive of bag concierge
company AirPortr. AirPortr is now available at
London’s Heathrow, City and Gatwick airports and
allows passengers to pay to have their luggage
securely transferred between the airport and hotels,
offices or residential addresses in London and
Airport technology consultancy Airbiz predicts
bag-less travel will become the norm in a decade’s
time. Security concerns that stymied the city centre
check-in services in the 1990s can be overcome by
fully automating the service and eliminating human
interaction, says Greg Fordham, Airbiz managing
director. It is working on remote bag drop and
delivery options with several major airlines in Asia
Pacific that have robotic bag storage linked to
oversized vending machines to deliver bags curb-
side, car parks or further afield.
Air New Zealand has taken RFID-enabled object
tracking a step further by introducing a child tracking
device for unaccompanied minors. Children travelling
alone with the New Zealand flag carrier will now
receive an Airband wristband at check-in, which
sends text message updates to parents at every step
of the journey. Air New Zealand’s general manager
of customer experience Carrie Hurihanganui says the
Airband “gives caregivers further peace of mind and
visibility of their children’s journey”.
The ability to track passengers through airports
also has benefits. Emirates ground crew have trialed
a new mobile version of its customer service agent
system Journey Manager. Rather than be at service
Air New Zealand’s Airband “gives
caregivers further peace of mind and
visibility of their children’s journey”.
general manager of customer experience, Air New Zealand
The electronic baggage tag was devel-
oped by baggage manufacturer Rimowa
for Lufthansa German Airlines.
4/02/2016 7:27:03 PM
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