Industry News




BCAS to deploy body scanners at all major Indian airports

The Indian Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) has announced that all major airports in the country will deploy body scanners within a year.

The regulator has also made it compulsory for other, smaller airports to install body scanners over the next two years.

This move is aimed at accelerating passenger clearance processes and ending manual frisking, without compromising airport security.

New body scanners will enable airport authorities to deal with the threat of non-metallic, plastic explosives and terrorism tools, including chemical, biological and radiation (CBR).

Common metal detectors are often unable to discover these materials.

BCAS joint director general Jyoti Narayan said: “Since the nature of threat is changing, a lot of technological upgrade is happening in terms of aviation security.

“We have ordered installations of body scanners as normal scanners cannot detect trace of plastic explosives and other threat material.”

Narayan announced that BCAS has already installed radiation detection systems to check baggage for CBR and plastic explosives.

BCAS is also deploying CTX machines that can scan hand luggage without having laptops and liquids removed.

A Behavioural Detection Training Programme has been launched to train crew members to identify suspicious passengers who may pose threats.

Narayan added: “We are also installing machines that detect unattended baggage for a long time. These machines will have alarm system to alert security staff.”

A mentally ill person recently climbed Mumbai Airport’s wall. To avoid the repetition of such incidents, BCAS has decided to deploy perimeter intrusion detection systems.

To increase the security on par with the US, UK and Israel, BCAS is also evaluating its bilateral airport framework with numerous countries.




Climate activists to disrupt services at Heathrow Airport with drones

Environmental activists are planning to disrupt services at London’s Heathrow Airport to protest against the government’s decision to construct a third runway at the airport.

The activists plan to halt operations at the busiest UK airport by flying toy drones on 13 September.

Heathrow Pause group told Reuters that its members will fly drones within the 5km restricted zone, outside flight paths, to compel the authority to ground all scheduled flights.

The move is aimed at placing further pressure on the government to re-assess its previously approved airport expansion project.

Last year, the government approved the construction of Heathrow’s third runway to support increasing passenger growth at the airport. The plan was subsequently passed by the House of Commons.

Several activist groups believe that the expansion will have severe environmental impact and disturb several local communities.

Heathrow Pause said: “The government’s inaction on climate change and the looming catastrophe of airport expansion gives us no choice and compels us to act.”

The airport authority condemned the plan to fly drones, calling it illegal. It added that adequate steps will be taken to stop such attempts at service disruption.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “We agree with the need to act on climate change. This is a global issue that requires constructive engagement and action. Committing criminal offences and disrupting passengers is counterproductive.”

In the last year, several flight operations were affected by drone sightings in the UK.

Last December, a drone incident at Gatwick airport forced the authority to cancel hundreds of flights, affecting around 140,000 passengers.

Earlier this year, Heathrow and Gatwick ordered military-grade anti-drone equipment to tackle such threats.




Bangalore Airport to open second runway in December

Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) will inaugurate the newly constructed second runway at Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) on 5 December.

New South Runway (NSPR) was originally scheduled to open next month but has since been delayed to ensure operational readiness.

The updated schedule of 5 December was announced after a validation flight successfully landed at KIA via the runway.

This validation procedure is essential to certify runway navigational aids and instrument procedures as recommended by civil aviation regulators.

NSPR is around 4km-long and 45m-wide. It will support the landing of Code F aircraft, including the Airbus-380, in all weather conditions.

The new runway is CAT III-B Instrument Landing System (ILS) complaint, meaning that aircraft can safely land in low visibility and foggy conditions.

In a statement, BIAL said: “The new South Runway at the Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru, nears operational readiness with the successful completion of validation flight on August 27.”

Work on NSPR and design approvals for Terminal 2 started in 2017, while construction began in mid-2018.

BIAL recently selected Unisys to integrate and manage all IT and non-IT systems for the first phase of the second terminal (T2) at Kempegowda International Airport.

The airport operator has also raised a total of Rs102.06bn ($1.44bn) to execute various other expansion projects at KIA.

Last month, Kempegowda Airport collaborated with Vision-Box and passenger carrier Vistara to introduce a fully biometric-based self-boarding solution, intended to offer easy passenger processing from registration to boarding.

BIAL is a joint venture that comprises Fairfax holding 54% and Siemens Projects Ventures owning 20%, as well as the Karnataka Government and the Airports Authority of India (AAI), which own 13% each.




Algiers Airport selects SITA for airport management solution

Technology firm SITA has secured a contract to power the new international terminal at Algeria’s Houari Boumediene International Airport, also known as Algiers Airport.

SITA will deploy its airport management solution at Terminal 4, which was opened to the public this April.

The technology vendor said that its platform will enable the airport to manage every aspect of operations, from the terminal to the airfield.

Leveraging the new solution, Algiers Airport can centrally manage baggage handling, as well as passenger processing.

SITA claims that the solution will also support the real-time distribution of resources throughout the terminal.

The company has already deployed over 156 common-use check-in and boarding gates along with 12 self-service kiosks for passengers using the new terminal.

The technology firm has also installed a baggage reconciliation system to facilitate the delivery of baggage to the right destination. The terminal also features over 320 flight display screens to keep passengers informed.

SITA added that its airport management solution will give the airport operator the latest data to better expect, plan and control the airport’s operations in real-time.

Algiers Airport’s new Terminal 4 has an annual passenger handling capacity of ten million, which will boost the airport’s overall capacity to 18 million passengers per annum.

Mexican airport operator Grupo Aeroportuario Del Pacífico (GAP) recently implemented SITA’s AirportConnect Open platform at its Mexicali International Airport.

Last month, SITA won a contract to deploy 34 common-use self-service check-in kiosks at Argentina’s Buenos Aires Ezeiza International Airport (EZE).




Menzies Aviation receives licence renewal at Princess Juliana Airport

Menzies Aviation has received a five-year renewal of its ground handling licence at Princess Juliana International Airport, located on the Caribbean island of Sint Maarten.

The extended licence will enable Menzies to continue offering ground handling services at the airport and will be valid until December 2026.

According to an estimate, Menzies Aviation will offer services to more than 7,700 annual aircraft turns for various airlines operating at the Princess Juliana Airport.

In an effort to improve the service level and passenger experience, Menzies has invested in new equipment and vehicles at its Sint Maarten station.

Commenting on the agreement, Menzies Aviation CEO Giles Wilson said: “Sint Maarten is an important station for us in the Caribbean and the extension of our ground handling licence at Princess Juliana International Airport clearly demonstrates that airport management has confidence in our services.

“Menzies’ team of professionals have been delivering a premium ground handling service in Sint Maarten since 2001, and I look forward to working with airlines flying to and from the island for an additional five years.”

Menzies Aviation has been operating at Princess Juliana Airport since 2001.

The operator recently renewed its contract with Canadian airline Westjet to provide ground handling services at Toronto Pearson International Airport, its main operational hub.

Last month, Menzies secured contracts from Air China to deliver ground handling services at Nice Airport (NCE) and cargo handling at San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

Menzies Aviation operates at 212 airports in 36 countries and is supported by a team of 32,000 staff. It serves more than 500 customers, handles 1.3 million flights and manages 1.6 million tonnes of cargo per year.




Innovative Travel installs 32 biometric kiosks at Barbados Airport

Vancouver International Airport’s Innovative Travel Solutions has installed an additional 32 biometric-enabled kiosks at Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados.

The self-service border control solution BorderXpress aims to improve overall traveller experience by accelerating the clearance process and reducing passenger waiting times.

Innovative Travel Solutions director Chris Gilliland said: “As air travel continues to experience remarkable growth, we understand the need for greater innovation to solve passenger processing challenges.

“As an airport operator ourselves, we prioritise researching and designing technology to improve the overall travellers’ experience, not only at our own airport, but across the travel industry.

“We are proud to expand our global border control solution in Barbados. This is an exciting milestone for our team as we continue to work with airports and governments around the world to meet their critical passenger processing needs.”

Grantley Adams International Airport deployed 16 BorderXpress kiosks as part of a trial programme last August.

Following the successful pilot, the airport expanded the programme to deploy a total of 48 kiosks.

The facility is available to all passengers landing at the Barbados airport. Using the biometric kiosks, passengers can scan their documents and conclude their declaration.

Eligible passengers will be able to authenticate their identity using facial recognition technology and will then move to a border services officer for final inspection.

Gilliland added: “The implementation of an additional 32 BorderXpress kiosks at Grantley Adams International Airport will ultimately simplify the border clearance process for all arriving passengers and reduce wait times significantly.

“BorderXpress continues to prove its effectiveness globally and we are excited to explore new opportunities to optimise the border clearance process for passengers, airports and governments.”

According to a study by InterVISTAS, BorderXpress kiosks cut passenger waiting times by more than 60%, resulting in cost and space savings for border authorities.




UK PM urges airports to cut ‘hassle’ and use 3D scanning technology

All major UK airports must introduce 3D baggage screening equipment before 1 December 2022 to make travelling hassle-free for passengers, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.

Once the technology has been implemented by UK airports, passengers will no longer be required to remove liquids and electronic equipment such as laptops from cabin bags. The upgrade would also end the 100ml liquid limit.

New 3D technology would aid staff to scrutinise the contents of a bag with a far more detail, using images that can be examined with much more precision.

Johnson said that the technology will boost security, speed up pre-boarding checks, and would cut down on “hassle for travellers.”

“By making journeys through UK airports easier than ever, this new equipment will help boost the vital role our airports play in securing the UK’s position as a global hub for trade, tourism and investment,” the prime minister added.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said it was essential to boost the transport industry with better technology. “As an outward looking global nation, our transport hubs are more important than ever, and investing in our security infrastructure means we are investing in our nation’s future,” he said.

Chief executive of UK Hospitality and chair of the Tourism Alliance Kate Nicholls said: “The new technology being rolled out should make for a smoother, more enjoyable passenger experience and will bolster the UK’s international reputation as traveller-friendly.”

Along with better security, the technology will also reduce the excess use of plastic making the industry more eco-friendly.

The rule for removing containers with liquids into transparent plastic bags was introduced in November 2006, when the British police said they had foiled a liquid bomb plot to blow up as many as ten airplanes using explosives hidden in drinks bottles.

While it has many advantages, CEO of radar weapons detection company Patriot One Martin Cronin, said that there should be a transition period so passengers are reassured about safety. “Despite the time consuming and inconvenient systems, many members of the public find it reassuring to physically go through each security step before boarding a plane and would be disconcerted to not do this. There should be a transition period as this technology is introduced to ensure the public has a full understanding of the changes and still feels safe.

“Those in charge of implementing this change ahead of 2022 must be careful to strike a balance between delivering security that is frictionless and unobstructive, while maintaining a level of visibility that is sufficient to reassure the public.

“It may be that multi-sensor technology, like 3D baggage scanners, would provide supplementary security rather than be a replacement measure,” said Cronin.

Cronin added that looking forward airports must also boost threat detection. “The next immediate priority should be to push out the security perimeter through the application of sensor technology to detect threats well before the fixed security screening area, in order to prevent attacks in the airport concourse,” he added.

3D scanning equipment – similar to CT scanners used in hospitals – is already being trialled at London’s Heathrow Airport since 2017. It was revealed in June 2019 that Heathrow airport will be receiving investment worth £50m for the computer tomography (CT) security scanners to “provide a more efficient and seamless search experience.”

Heathrow is hardly the first airport to move to 3D security scanning. Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, and US airports such as JFK in New York, Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta and Chicago O’Hare are already using these scanners.




Mumbai International Airport to change terminals operations

Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) in India has decided to change terminals for domestic and international flights.

An official statement from Mumbai International Airport said: “Starting October 1, IndiGo and GoAir to operate all domestic flights from T1 and international from T2 while SpiceJet to shift full operation to T2.”

The release added that all airlines operating at T1 have been assigned terminal boarding bridges.

These changes are aimed to offer improved benefits and convenience for passengers.

One of India’s businest airports, CSMIA handled more than 48 million travellers during 2018-2019. It is currently serviced by nearly 50 international and nine domestic airlines.

Each hour, its main and secondary runways manage more than 46 and 35 flight movements respectively.

In attempts to provide hassle-free passenger experiences, Mumbai International Airport offers paperless boarding, allows passenger to place orders for food via an app and go through security checks using body scanners.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) recently solicited proposals from interested firms to supply a new air traffic management (ATM) system at Mumbai Airport.

Once the system is in place in around 15 months, Mumbai Airport will be able to achieve its full capacity of 1,040 daily flights.

A subsidiary of GVK Power and Infrastructure, GVK Airport secured approval from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) last month to acquire an additional 10% stake in Mumbai International Airport.

As part of the agreement, GVK Airport will buy ACSA Global’s 10% stake for approximately $134.01m (Rs9.24bn).