Home' Asian Aviation : AAV April 2016 Contents AsianAviation | APRIL 2016 31
says Maurice Jenkins, director information systems
and telecommunications, Miami International Airport.
Mumbai’s GVK Chhatrapati Shivaji International
Airport launched an indoor navigation app for its
Terminal 2 using beacons late last year. The app
offers an interactive walk-through experience and
passengers can input their flight details to keep
updated on their flight. In the future, the airline plans
to add international arrivals, domestic flights and taxi
France’s Nice Cote d’Azur Airport is another airport
working with SITA to leverage beacon technology,
with the airport’s new multi-function app delivering
location-specific offers to passengers.
Passengers who enter their flight details into
Berlin Tegel Airport’s app receive a push notification
the moment they enter the terminal building with
instructions on the fastest route to their gate. Arriving
passengers receive tips on free WiFi services and
information on using public transport.
Passengers at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport
Terminal 4 don’t even need to opt-in to an app. Since
last August, the terminal has been using beacon-
based updates to keep track of accurate waiting
times at screens positioned at security and customs
and border protection checkpoints. The waiting times
are driven by beacons that anonymously monitor
passenger’s mobile devices as they move through
the airport. The data allows staff to identify and rectify
bottlenecks before they escalate, explains SITA.
“We’re probably reaching 19.5 million passengers
this year in total. It’s a big operation, which is why we’re
introducing innovations to enhance the operations of
the building,” says Gert-Jan de Graaff, president and
CEO of JFK. “This new system will help us manage
and eliminate problem spots within the facility, and
sharing the processing time with our travellers will
provide them with peace of mind so they may continue
to expect a pleasant travel experience. Additionally,
data from travellers’ phones could eventually influence
future airport designs,” he adds.
Most recently, in March, Qatar’s Hamad
International Airport (HIA) joined the beacon club,
launching its new iBeacon enabled mobile app.
The app is designed to provide passengers with
an immersive experience and stay connected while
they travel through the airport. Passengers scan their
boarding pass and can opt-in for location detection.
They are then provided with real-time information on
flight status, baggage claim, time and direction to
boarding gates and food, beverage and retail offers.
The app alerts passengers when they are walking
past outlets with promotions. HIA has more than
700 beacons installed across the terminal. The app
is currently available for iOS-based devices, with an
Android app to be launched shortly.
Lufthansa has also recently launched its own
location-based app and is testing the technology at
its Munich hub. In the test phase, the airline is sending
passengers that opt-in to the app an offer for entry
into the business lounge for 25 euros (US$27). The
personalised push message is sent to passengers
located in the vicinity of the lounge if they don’t have
access through their status or booking class. Economy
class passengers are also asked whether they wish to
upgrade to business class. The app also includes an
electronic baggage receipt, which allows passengers
to see where their baggage is and on arrival the app
notifies the passenger of the baggage carousel.
The beacon-based app is part of Lufthansa’s
SMILE — Surpass My Individual Lufthansa Experience
“With SMILE, we want to become better
acquainted with our customers’ needs and offer them
customised and personalised products, services
and communication, according to their preferences,
along the entire travel chain,” says programme
director Marcus Casey. “That way, we don’t just
serve changing customer needs, but also create
sustainable added value for customers,” he adds.
American Airlines, meanwhile, is using beacon
technology with its mobile app, providing frequent
flyers with personalised information and helping them
avoid queues at the airport.
Biometrics is another area of focus for airports
and solution providers to improve efficiency and the
customer experience. Rockwell Collins has been
focusing on one-to-many biometric matching using
facial recognition as it believes this technology could
lead to paperless travel through an airport. Biometrics
has the ability to “cut waiting times, increase security
and restrict the ability for someone to change their
identity,” the manufacturer says in a recently-released
white paper on the topic.
There are two different approaches to biometrics
one-to-one matching (verification) and one-to-
many matching (identification). One-to-one matching
involves verifying that the person presenting is the
same one who was the subject at enrolment through
presentation of a unique code such as a bar coded
boarding pass (BCBP) or passport. One-to-many
matching involves comparing an individual to a
gallery of people that have been enrolled previously.
“The one-to-many matching approach is being
promoted for use in airports because it removes the
requirement for the passenger to produce a BCBP or
passport — effectively, the passenger’s face becomes
the identification token,” says Rockwell Collins.
“This is thought to provide a better experience,
enabling travellers to be processed more quickly by
eliminating the time it typically takes a passenger to
find — and a security official to review — the necessary
documents,” it adds.
Biometrics could be used at different touchpoints
in the passenger’s journey, Rockwell Collins believes.
At check-in, for example, the biometric for registered
passengers could be used to identify a passenger
and link them to their BCBP, allowing them to drop
“With SMILE, we want to become
better acquainted with our customers’
needs and offer them customised and
personalised products, services and
programme director, SMILE
Beacons can enhance the passenger experience,
generate revenue and improve airport efficiency.
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