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Problem Solving Around Airport Passengers

7 November 2005

New Zealand Airport Suppliers Look To Help Solve Problems Created By 3.7 billion More Passengers A Year Worldwide

The number of passengers using airlines each year will double to 7.5 billion in 15 years – creating huge problems for airports worldwide.

An Airports Council International (ACI) passenger forecast says annual demand will exceed the infrastructure by about a billion passengers, with flyers facing heavy congestion and deteriorating services by 2020.

The issue is one being discussed by 500 delegates, who descend on Auckland this weekend for an ACI conference. They represent 567 members from 1540 airports in 175 countries,

A group of New Zealand airport suppliers, already exporting world-leading technology, services and other products to 80 airport authorities with 200 airports, believes it is well placed to assist this growth. They will showcase their latest technologies at this week’s ACI assembly and exhibition at Sky City Convention Centre in Auckland.

The New Zealand Airport Technology Suppliers (NZATS) group, comprising of nine companies specialising in the supply of technologies to airports around the world, has a large show site at the 15th ACI World Annual General Assembly and Exhibition. The group is supported by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

Group member Visual Footprints – which has developed world-leading new technology to help make sure that the passenger who checks in is actually the one who boards the aircraft, believes security will be one of the biggest concerns in the looming major airport upgrades.

At the ACI exhibition, Visual Footprints will present new security for domestic flights, something business development manager Rajesh Kalidindi says the aviation industry is asking for.

“Our new state of the art ‘Check In To Boarding Security’ technology is set to have a great impact in providing security to domestic passengers and airlines.

“The problem with domestic flights is there is no identification checks after a person has gone through the check-in counter and got their boarding pass. It’s easy to hand that boarding pass to someone else and nobody checks at boarding the person entering the aircraft is actually the ticket holder.”

Visual Footprints’ ‘Check In To Boarding Security’ programme photographs the ticket holder and produces a magnetic strip or number holding the visual identification of the traveller.

As the boarding pass is handed over before entering the aircraft, airline staff swipe the strip, or key in the number and visually identify the ticket holder from the photograph displayed on screen. The programme completely integrates with current computer systems used at the airport.

“We have hand many discussions with aviation clusters and airport authorities and they agree with us, that boarding cards often change hands so someone unauthorised ends up travelling. This is a huge security risk, especially in light of recent terrorist attacks,” Kalidindi says.

As well as increased security measures, airports are also enhancing terminals to accommodate rapid tourist growth.

Ray Reesby, chief executive of architectural and contract furniture manufacturer company UFL Group – an NZATS member – says New Zealand companies have the flexibility to handle special airport requirements.

“New Zealand industry, especially those companies joined together by the NZATS structure, is well placed to particularly handle the specialist services airports need with considerable speed and flexibility. The expertise required for the planning and fit out for airport terminals is available here to a world class standard.”

Reesby says having the ACI conference and exhibition in New Zealand is an excellent opportunity to show airport delegates, not only the high level of products and services produced here, but also how companies are working together efficiently to outfit airport terminal buildings.

UFL will use the exhibition to present new crowd control systems and seating designs, including stainless steel and upholstered gate lounge seating.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) are backing NZATS’s involvement in the ACI exhibition, under it’s ‘New Zealand: New Thinking’ campaign.

NZTE event manager Lynne Banford says NZATS’s exhibition space will reflect some interior components of an airport, with each of the companies technology on show including baggage conveyer belts, baggage handling and security systems, mirroring technology, departure and arrival boards, trolley systems and other aviation support technology.

“This is an amazing opportunity for New Zealand aviation companies to collectively demonstrate their products and services to high-powered industry leaders and make international connections with delegates.”

ENDS

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