Industry News




TSA starts using credential authentication technology at Albany Airport

The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is using a new credential authentication technology (CAT) at Albany International Airport.

This new technology is designed to enhance checkpoint screening capabilities.

It can confirm the validity of a traveller’s identification (ID), their flight information and flight status in near real-time.

It is said to minimise touchpoints by eliminating the need for travellers to hand over their electronic or physical boarding pass at the security checkpoint.

However, they are required to submit their ID to the TSA officer, who will insert it to the CAT unit for authentication. Travellers under the age of 18 years and those with ID issues may be requested to show their boarding passes.

The implementation of CAT units is expected to help TSA better identify fraudulent documents at the security checkpoint.

TSA Upstate New York federal security director Bart Johnson said: “The technology enhances detection capabilities for identifying fraudulent documents such as driver’s licences and passports at checkpoints and increases efficiency by automatically verifying passenger identification.

“The system will also confirm the passenger’s flight status in near real time through a secured connection.”

A CAT unit, which is designed to verify different types of IDs, features a passport reader, an ID card reader, a federal personal identity verification ID card reader, a monitor, a stand and an ultraviolet light.




UK’s Gatwick Airport to introduce drop-off fee next year

Gatwick Airport in the UK has announced plans to introduce a drop-off fee next year in a bid to support its recovery from the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The airport intends to introduce a £5 charge for vehicles that use the forecourt to drop passengers directly outside the terminals.

However, the proposed fee will not be imposed on vehicles using the airport’s long-stay car parks to drop-off or pick-up passengers.

The move is expected to support Gatwick Airport’s recovery, as well as help the authorities to preserve jobs.

It is also expected to encourage public transportation usage and reduce road traffic congestion and emissions near the airport.

Gatwick Airport chief commercial officer Jonathan Pollard said: “Gatwick has just gone through the most challenging period in its history and this new drop-off charging scheme will give us a new revenue stream to aid recovery from the Covid-19 crisis and ultimately help us continue as an important provider of economic prosperity and jobs across the region.

“Gatwick is also committed to promoting sustainable travel and this new scheme will encourage passengers to consider more sustainable transport options, including public transport services or parking options at the airport, which only involves two single car trips, compared to two return trips when dropping off.”

The airport authorities did not confirm when it plans to implement the charging system.

However, the first step includes a consultation on the implementation of a Red Route system, which will prohibit vehicles to park, load and unload, drop or board across the airport campus.




ACI World launches tools to provide airport health measures information

Airports Council International (ACI) World has launched new tools designed to provide travellers with information about the health measures implemented at airports across the world.

The move is expected to help the aviation industry in regaining customer confidence after travel demand plummeted during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The tools include a mobile app called ‘Check & Fly’, which will offer information about health measures at departure and arrival airports. Passengers can use the app to remain updated before they commence their journey or during transit.

Check & Fly is currently available on the Apple App Store and will be launched on the Google Play Store soon.

ACI World has also launched a customer-facing web page to provide the same information.

It has introduced a web portal that will allow airports to update their data.

A mobile app called ‘Airport Check’ was rolled out to provide operators with the latest statistics. This will help airports improve their processes and measures using industry intelligence.

Furthermore, an application programming interface based on the Aviation Community Recommended Information Services was launched for application and web developers. This is expected to benefit airlines and travel agents.

ACI World director general Luis Felipe de Oliveira said: “Developing and providing tools like those on the Airport Health Measures website equip travellers with information that enables them to make travel plans with confidence. This is key to the recovery of air travel.

“ACI is supporting airports with tools and programmes like Airport Health Measures and Airport Health Accreditation to help them demonstrate to passengers, regulators, and governments that they are prioritising health and safety in a measurable, established manner.”

Last month, ACI World announced its support for universal testing of passengers as an alternative to restrictive quarantine measures.




Covid-19: Hamad Airport trials contactless technologies

Hamad International Airport (HIA) in Qatar has launched a trial of new contactless technologies as it seeks to improve the safety of its staff and passengers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The initiative involves testing happyhover and SITA Mobile Solution technology to enable contactless self-check-in and baggage drops at the airport.

The kiosk screens with happyhover technology will enable passengers to make commands through hand gestures without touching the surface.

On the other hand, the SITA Contactless Kiosk Solution allows passengers to control the kiosk screen from their mobile phones. This is enabled when the user scans QR codes to connect their mobile phone via Wi-Fi to the SITA Remote Control App.

Hamad International Airport Technology & Innovation senior vice-president Suhail Kadri said: “We are continually looking for solutions that aid the wellbeing of our passengers and employees. The happyhover and SITA technologies ensure passenger comfort and peace of mind with their intuitive user experience, allowing a range of inputs and gestures.

“The introduction of these technologies at HIA not only fits well within our strategy of frictionless travel as a leading global digital airport but also reaffirms our commitment to rebuilding passenger trust in travelling through Hamad International Airport.”

Following the Covid-19 pandemic, HIA has optimised various airport operations to ensure passenger safety.

This includes the implementation of the C2 security screening technology at the transfer security checkpoint.

It will help the security personnel to identify potential threats in passenger luggage without having to remove laptops and electronic devices, minimising contamination risks.




Tampa International Airport to offer Covid-19 tests to travellers

Tampa International Airport in the US has launched the country’s first Covid-19 testing for all departing and arriving passengers.

The testing pilot, which has been launched in collaboration with BayCare Health System, will provide two types of FDA-approved Covid-19 tests for all departing and arriving passengers.

Situated inside the Main Terminal near the Airside F shuttle, the testing site will offer both the rapid antigen test and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test.

The 15-minute rapid antigen test costs $57 and the PCR test, which costs $125, delivers results within 48 hours.

Tampa International Airport is publicly owned by Hillsborough County Aviation Authority (HCAA) and handled 22,497,953 passengers in 2019.

HCCA chairman Gary Harrod said: “Tampa International Airport has been a leader of airport health protocols since the earliest signs of the pandemic and was one of the first in the country to mandate masks, install plastic shields and apply social distancing markers through its TPA Ready launch in April.

“These innovative efforts go a long way in building traveller confidence and keeping our region safe as we continue to recover from the impacts of Covid-19.”

In another development, Oakland International Airport said it would offer free, rapid-result Covid-19 tests to employees and the public, starting 6 October 2020.

The airport is working with CityHealth Urgent Care to make the tests available at its North Field terminal complex at 9070 Earhart Road.

The expansion of the programme is planned for Hawaii travellers beginning 15 October. CityHealth and Oakland International Airport will offer pre-travel testing to Hawaii travellers free of cost.




Indra to deliver air traffic surveillance system at Athens Airport

Indra has received a contract from Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA) in Greece to deliver an air traffic surveillance system and radars at Athens International Airport.

Under the contract, Indra will deliver a new InNova Ground Advanced Surface Movement Guidance & Control System (A-SMGCS) that will enable air traffic controllers to ensure the safe movement of aircraft and vehicles.

The contract also includes the delivery of multilateration systems to identify ground and approaching aircraft.

Indra will also replace the surface movement radar with a modern system from Terma.

The deployment of new technologies will help Athens Airport to better manage air traffic when demand recovers from the impact of Covid-19.

Indra Tower Systems director Elin Blakstad said: “It is encouraging to see that air traffic authorities in Greece and other countries use the pandemic to prepare for better days by upgrading the infrastructure.

“We are delighted to be awarded this project by the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority.”

Indra is a technology and consulting company headquartered in Spain. It primarily caters to transport and defence markets.

In the 2019 financial year, Indra reported annual revenue of €3.2bn, with business operations in more than 140 countries.




SG Blocks and Grimshaw to build Covid-19 testing centres for LAX

Container-based structures designer SG Blocks and architecture firm Grimshaw have unveiled plans to bring rapid coronavirus testing centres to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in the US.

SG Blocks and Grimshaw aim to deliver modular testing centres, which offer Covid-19 test results in only two hours, on or before 1 November 2020.

The D-Tec 2 model testing pods will house a CLIA-certified laboratory and deploy the GeneFinder test, which is manufactured by South Korean firm OSANG Healthcare.

SG Blocks created the D-Tec suite of testing pods in partnership with Grimshaw. The pods upcycle disused shipping containers to create a safe environment for testing collection and on-site deployable laboratory analysis.

Clarity Mobile Venture, a joint venture with SG Blocks and Clarity Labs, will operate the laboratory.

SG Blocks chairman and CEO Paul Galvin said: “We are proud to work with LAX to help bring passengers and staff a greater sense of security and safety when it comes to air travel.

“Accessible and rapid testing are essential in our world today and through our turnkey D-Tec Testing Pods, we are pleased to be able to offer both.”

Earlier this month, LAX accelerated the implementation of touchless technologies to enable passengers to travel safely during the pandemic.

Owned and operated by Los Angeles World Airports, an agency of the government of Los Angeles, LAX covers 1,400 hectares of land and has four parallel runways.




India’s AAI to upgrade runways at seven airports

The Airports Authority of India (AAI), which maintains the country’s civil aviation infrastructure, has announced plans to upgrade runways at seven airports.

The seven airports are Jammu, Kolhapur, Jabalpur, Barapani, Kadapa, Tirupati and Tuticorin, PTI reported.

According to AAI officials, the runway at Jammu Airport will be extended from 2,042m to 2,438m. The project is expected to be completed next March.

The work at Kolhapur Airport will increase the length of the runway to 2,300m. The project has already begun and is set to be completed by December.

Projects at Jabalpur Airport and Tuticorin Airport are expected to be completed by December 2021 and March 2022 respectively.

At Barapani Airport and Kadapa Airport, the runways will be extended and strengthened, the officials told the news agency. These works will be completed by December 2020 and March 2021 respectively.

The runway at Tirupati Airport will be extended to 3,810m from the existing length of 2,286m by December next year.

With the increase in demand, these projects are expected to enable bigger aircraft to land and take off from these airports.