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11 September 2017

Airport Terminal News
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has announced its new parking products following the news of the closure of parking lot P2. To accommodate the growing number of passengers moving through the airport, a new pier and terminal is currently being planned. To make way for the construction work, parking lot P2 will disappear, but will be replaced by both new and existing parking solutions from 1 October 2017. The capacity of P1 short-term parking will be expanded with an extension next to the Hilton hotel. Parking duration will be limited to a maximum of 48 hr, as P1 will also be used for drop-off/pick-up. Short-stop parking will no longer exist at this location. Valet Parking at P6 is designed for those wanting to park for longer than 48 hr close to the terminal, and will be located at the front of car park P1. Cars will be recorded on video camera upon entry to the car park, and once the key has been handed over, the car will be parked on a secure site with camera surveillance at the airport by Schiphol staff. Smart Parking will also be renamed P3 Long-Term Parking.

As Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) embraces automation to beat the labour shortages, it is also turning to robots to keep its latest addition - Terminal 4 - sparkling clean. Changi Airport Group (CAG) has deployed four automated cleaning robots at T4 after a search that took about three years and plans to add six more in 2018. The robots - which bear cartoon faces – each cost about SGD 80,000 and can clean 1,600 m²/hr. Housekeepers are trained to programme the robot to mop, clean and pick up small items, among other tasks. Beyond the terminal floors, robots are also being used to clean car parks and toilets. CAG said this will reduce housekeeping manpower by about 20% and make its employees better skilled. Kenneth Ho, senior manager of facilities management at CAG, said Terminals 1 to 3 will soon see such cleaning technology, after studies are done on the robots’ efficacy at T4. He added that airports in New Zealand and some parts of the US use similar technology. 

BEUMER Group has attended a ceremony to mark the signing of a contract with Shanghai Pudong International Airport. The contract is for the baggage handling system (BHS) in the new Satellite Terminal, which is scheduled for completion in 2019. The Satellite Terminal is the first to be built in China, and is claimed to be the largest detached terminal in the world, with 83 departure gates and covering a total of 620,000 m². BEUMER Group was appointed to design, supply and install the BHS which will integrate four Crisplant LS-4000 tilt tray sorters, some 21 CrisClaim® carousels, and approximately 8 km of CrisBelt conveyors. The BHS will provide the Satellite Terminal with the capacity to handle up to 38 million passengers per year.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has published a report that assesses the top 30 UK airports on the quality of assistance they provide to passengers with a disability. The report, which was published on 11 August 2017, shows that the number of people with a disability requesting extra help when travelling by air continues to grow significantly and reached more than three million journeys in 2016, an increase of more than 66% since 2010. The CAA’s framework, the first of its kind in Europe, was introduced to ensure that there is a consistently high quality service for disabled passengers across all UK airports.
The CAA assesses airports against a number of measures to establish how well they are performing for disabled passengers. Where airports regularly under-perform, the CAA can take enforcement action to ensure services are improved. Of the airports reviewed, six were rated “very good”, 20 rated as “good” and four rated as “poor”. Those with “very good” and “good” ratings performed well in areas such as customer satisfaction, waiting times and engagement with disability organisations. However, East Midlands (EMA), Exeter (EXT), London Heathrow (LHR), and Manchester (MAN) Airports have been rated as “poor” and have all now committed to making improvements.

Travellers will have no more worries about finding a place to charge their mobile phones while waiting for a flight at Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport/Adams Field (LIT), AR, now that every seat in the concourse – some 806 in all – is equipped with charging points. The new high-tech seats replaced ones that were installed when the concourse was built nearly 50 years ago. The new seats are part of a USD 26 million makeover of the concourse that includes what the airport has billed as the world’s fastest airport Wi-Fi connection, technology to boost mobile phone coverage, renovated gate areas, passenger boarding bridges, flooring, additional toilets, and other improvements. The new seats cost nearly USD 700,000. Every seat has regular outlets as well as quick-charging USB ports.
Still to come at LIT, according to the airport, are upgraded retail and food offerings on the concourse, a station for nursing mothers, and a pet relief room - the latter now required by FAA to be available on the concourse.

Airport Ramp & Airfield News
The US Embassy in Liberia, through its international development organisation, USAID, has presented ground services equipment to Monrovia’s Roberts International Airport (ROB). The equipment include two aircraft cargo loaders, two baggage tugs and 15 containers dollies which the US Embassy said is in continuation of its commitment to the ROB.
During the height of the Ebola crisis in Liberia the US Embassy promised to strengthen the airport’s capacity to better connect Liberia to the global community. According to the Embassy, the airport was “the indispensable gateway for health workers, humanitarian volunteers and medical equipment supplies” that proved crucial to ending the crisis and providing needed support.

London Stansted Airport (STN) in the UK has added a new Scania-based combination sweeper to its fleet. The latest addition is based on a 250-bhp Scania P 250 DB4x2HNZ chassis and fitted with Schmidt ASC 990 sweeping and scrubbing equipment. It joins nine other Scania-based vehicles – four jet sweeper tractor units, three runway de-icers, one sweeper and one scrubbing truck – already in service at the airport. Airside operations duty manager, Giles Peeters, said that the Scania trucks were “operator-friendly vehicles”, adding: “Their reliability has proved to be exceptional over the years, and their ease of use together with the commonality of controls between the various models types in the fleet, make them a popular choice with our operators.”

Burlingame, CA-based electric transportation provider, Proterra, has been contracted to supply four zero-emission electric buses and related charging infrastructure to Raleigh-Durham Airport (RDU), NC. The Proterra Catalyst E2 buses will transport more than 100,000 passengers per month between the airport’s two ParkRDU Economy parking lots and the terminals. Funded in part by a USD 1.6 million zero-emissions vehicle grant from the FAA, the new Proterra battery-electric buses will replace four older diesel buses. The operational cost of electricity, at USD 0.19 per mile, is substantially lower than diesel which costs USD 0.84 per mile. Combine this with the improved vehicle efficiency - at 21 mpg equivalent - and reduced vehicle maintenance costs, and the authority stands to save up to USD 1.8 million during the 12-year lifetime of the buses. Scheduled to be placed in service in early 2019, the Proterra buses will be designed and built in Greenville, SC.

Israel’s IAI, in collaboration with ST Engineering, has won the Aviation Challenge 1 programme (AC1) at Changi Airport (SIN), Singapore. IAI presented the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) with a comprehensive solution for improving baggage handling for both outgoing and incoming flights at SIN. The system is intended to improve dramatically the passenger experience by reducing baggage loss and damages. In the Aviation Challenge 1 (AC1), more than 20 teams/companies participated and submit proposals; five were selected for the final stage of building a full-scale demo system, with funding from CAAS. The competition concluded with the announcement of the winning team of IAI & STD, which submitted the most comprehensive and robust end to end solution.
A multi-flight baggage handling system tracks, sorts and transfers each baggage item to its respective flight for loading onto Changi Airport standard baggage trolleys (BT). Specially designed transfer tables that are installed on existing baggage conveyors direct each baggage towards its designated BT for loading. Robotic arms carefully pick up each baggage item and place it within the BT directed to its designated flight. The BT is continuously scanned using advanced sensors to analyse the three-dimensional volume of the BT, and identify the best location to place each baggage item. IAI provided a model for a special loading device to facilitate the fast loading and unloading of baggage onto an aircraft, enabling the workers to move easily within the plane’s cargo hold, without having to bend their back within the confined space. In addition the solution provided a first-of-its-type Changi BT offloader. The offloader automatically lifts and tilts the filled Changi BT from incoming flights and transfers the baggage to the airport incoming baggage carousel. A fully loaded baggage trolley can be offloaded within approximately 1 min without the need for human workers to lift each baggage from the trolley. The system can also be modified to load and unload ULD containers.
Shaul Shahar, general manager of IAI’s Military Aircraft Group, said: “This state-of-the-art robotics and autonomous technology success reaffirms IAI as a leading provider of cutting-edge airport operations solutions. Singapore is highly respected as an early adopter of advanced high-tech solutions, with other countries closely monitoring its innovations.”

A new 220-kV power distribution station at Bahrain International Airport (BAH) was inaugurated on 16 August 2017 by Bahrain’s Electricity and Water Affairs Minister, Dr Abdulhussain Mirza. The minister said that the inauguration of this project comes within the strategic plan to provide the power required for the expansion of Bahrain International Airport and expanding the electricity transmission networks in Bahrain. The new station, built at a cost of some USD 45.61 million, will feed the new airport terminal building. It is one of 15 such 220-kV facilities, along with 48 other 66-kV substations, that will be installed in the Muharraq Governorate. The supply and installation of the plant was undertaken by Swiss company ABB, while the transformers were supplied by Korean company HHI. The cables for the project were supplied by Saudi Cables.

St Augustine, FL-based TNA Aviation Technologies recently announced the North and South American release of the TowFLEXX 5-Series HD Heavy Duty, an advanced and versatile remote-controlled electrical towbarless aircraft tug. This is the heavy-duty configuration of the proven 5-Series tug rated for a towing power of up to 165,000 lb MTOW. Its strong prime movers have a tractive motor power up to 176,000 lb. This model is especially designed and configured for significant stress and can handle aircraft on steep slopes or other unusual harsh conditions, including challenging inclined positions on aircraft carriers and offshore helicopter platforms. Michael Turwitt, Managing Partner of TNA Aviation Technologies, explained: “Customers have been asking for an affordable and compact tug system, especially in the heavy-duty weight range of 100,000 to 150,000 lb MTOW, and we’ve responded by introducing a smart and powerful electrical aircraft tow vehicle, making it much easier to overcome slopes and inclines and operating under tough environmental conditions,” adding: “The TowFLEXX HD features a special transmission and gear drive combined with many features that deliver unique functionality normally not even found in bigger and more expensive conventional tow tugs.”

Airport Safety & Security
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has begun working with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to evaluate the results from trials using contactless fingerprint verification technology. The proof-of-concept tests involved assessing the effectiveness of touch-free scanners, developed by Advanced Optical Systems, which allow a traveller’s fingerprints to serve as their boarding pass and identity document. Use of the technology is currently limited to TSA Pre members, who provide their fingerprints when they enrol in the programme. Once the scanner matches fingerprints to those in the TSA Pre system, it obtains the traveller’s boarding pass information and allows them to continue to their gate. While contact-based fingerprint technology has existed for some time, non-contact fingerprinting is still relatively new, so rigorous evaluation is needed to determine its effectiveness and impact on how passengers move through security.
The proof-of-concept assessment is based on the results of trials taking place at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL), GA, and Denver International Airport (DEN), CO. Speaking about the trials, one of the evaluators said, “Based on prior data collected at the Maryland Test Facility, we developed specific classes of use errors associated with fingerprint biometrics. Two of these include incorrect hand positioning and improper hand movement and speed. Our field observations with actual travellers were very similar to our simulated scenario tests in the lab.”

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has deployed facial recognition biometric exit technology to Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), IL, for a selection of flights. Using the flight manifest, CBP builds a flight specific photo gallery using images from the provided travel document. It then compares the live photo against the document photo in the gallery to ensure the traveller is the true bearer of the document. The deployment follows the June 2016 pilot project at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), GA, that uses facial recognition. CBP also recently deployed the technology to Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), VA, and George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston (IAH), TX, with future installations planned for additional airports in summer 2017.

Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (HYD) in Hyderabad, India, has become the first airport in the country to provide express security and check-in facilities for domestic passengers travelling without luggage. GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL), the airport operator, partnered with India’s Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to install the new Express Security Check facility at the terminal entrance. Now domestic passengers can print their boarding pass from newly installed self-service terminals in the forecourt area before proceeding to the Express Security Check, bypassing the standard check-in area, and moving directly to the boarding area. The airport handles more than 18,000 domestic departures per day, with close to 40% travelling without any checked-in baggage. Frequent flyers such as government officials and business travellers are set to immediately benefit from the Express Security Check facility.

To boost the security level at major international airports in Pakistan, the Airport Security Force (ASF) has installed full-body scanners at Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad Airports. This is the first phase of the installation and will assist ASF and various other agencies “to curb the peril of trafficking drugs”, according to the ASF. In addition, these scanners will also help in overcoming the smuggling of several other illegal imports. While speaking to the media, the Deputy Director of ASF, Imran-ul-Haq, said that these scanners had cost PKR 150 million (about USD 1.4 million). He stressed that the full-body scanners were very effective and did not have any adverse effects on human health. “After the installation of these scanners, incidents of hand-body search will be curbed,” he said.