An electric car sharing service, the rollout of WeChat Pay and a new grab-and-go F&B service provide further evidence of the innovation that is rife across Europe’s airports. By Ryan Ghee
Remote screening increases flexibility at Tallinn Airport
The process of moving passengers through an airport needs to be secure, seamless, rapid and deliver a positive experience for travellers. Vanderlande cooperates closely with airports to achieve this and to provide the core components of the security process through innovative systems and intelligent software solutions.
“The use of remote screening offers multiple advantages to airports, such as increased flexibility when allocating resources,” says Mark Elliott, Director Products & Partners, Vanderlande.
In 2017, the company installed a new security checkpoint solution – PAX OPTIMA – at Tallinn Airport. PAX OPTIMA’s advanced CIP (centralised image processing) software ensures that airports have increased flexibility when it comes to allocating their resources, as screening agents can share the workload to counter the effects of traffic variation. By simply adding more agents in the remote screening room, airports can reach higher throughput at the checkpoint without the need to open more lanes.
Elliott explains that space constraints were one of the most challenging parameters at the airport. Through the additional integration of the spacing conveyor module, the lane footprints were significantly reduced while safeguarding high passenger flows.
To reduce manual tray handling to a minimum – and optimise staff requirements – all lanes were equipped with an ‘empty tray recognition system’ for automatic tray stacking and returns.
“We congratulate Tallinn Airport on winning the ACI EUROPE Best Airport Award in the ‘Under 5 million passengers category’, and are very proud of the contribution we were able to make with PAX OPTIMA to the improved security procedures,” Elliott adds.
Gatwick partners with Bluecity to launch electric car sharing service
Passengers, staff and local residents can now reserve and pick up a 100% electric car at Gatwick Airport, and return it to any of 300 compatible pick-up/drop-off points across London or back at Gatwick.
The service is being rolled out in partnership with Bluecity, which operates a pan-London electric vehicle car sharing service with 100 cars currently available in total. Discussions are also ongoing with local authorities and business groups about expanding the network further in London and in areas surrounding the airport.
Operating in a similar way to existing cycle schemes across London, 10 cars and charging points are currently available on Gatwick’s South Terminal forecourt. This is Bluecity’s first airport hub and discussions are in progress to increase capacity.
The new point-to-point service gives people using the airport a convenient, zero emissions travel option for getting directly on and off the airport. Customers are able to reserve a car in seconds via the Bluecity app. Local residents are also encouraged to use the service and Gatwick staff have been offered the opportunity to trial the service for free.
Chinese passengers offered WeChat Pay at Nice Côte d’Azur Airport
Lagardère Travel Retail France is deploying WeChat Pay in 14 duty free and fashion shops at Nice Côte d’Azur Airport. With more than 800 million users, WeChat Pay is very widely used in China, where more than 70% of transactions are conducted via mobile devices.
“This solution is a perfect fit with our promise to offer passengers entering our shops a creative, expert service which offers a simplified and pleasant shopping experience,” says Anne-Gaël Normand, Director of Aeroboutique Shopping Operations at Lagardère Travel Retail France.
With this new initiative, Lagardère Travel Retail France shares Nice Côte d’Azur Airport’s ambition to tailor the shopping experience for Chinese travellers by developing new, bespoke services.
Chinese passengers also have access to a dedicated website via the airport’s free Wi-Fi, also available in Mandarin. The site gives them quick access to real-time flight information, transportation, information about VAT refunds and links to tourist sites.
Other services for Chinese customers have also been rolled out in the departure lounges, such as Chinese cuisine, a link to the China Daily website on shared tablets, and the Côte magazine in Chinese. Since 2018, airport signage has been translated into Mandarin and a dedicated welcome booth is available in each terminal with an interactive Mandarin-only display point.
Lufthansa introduces ‘Delights to Go’ at Munich Airport
Lufthansa has introduced a grab-and-go F&B service at Munich Airport. The new catering option is initially being tested at the airport for six months. Centrally located in Terminal 2 near Gate G19, Lufthansa passengers with lounge access can now collect snacks and drinks in a dedicated self-service area. This offer is complimentary and can be accessed using a boarding pass at the entrance to the area. Using an interactive screen, guests can select one of three “connoisseur” boxes. The categories include Classic (including a tuna wrap or Greek salad, for instance), Balance (including a main such as a sprout sandwich with pear and fig mustard) or Local (including a Munich sausage salad, for example). These components are complemented by a sweet or savoury snack, a piece of fresh fruit and a small bottle of water. The offer is updated every two weeks. Each guest also has a choice between coffee, tea, water or a variety of juices. The meal is packed into a paper bag and passengers can immediately proceed to the departure gate to catch their flight.
Lufthansa developed this quick refreshment option after conducting a field test at a Frankfurt Senator Lounge. The results showed that many lounge guests in a hurry wanted an efficient, time-saving catering option in the form of a to-go offer.
Dublin Airport eases transfers with new €16m facility
Dublin Airport has opened a new €16 million facility designed especially for transfer passengers. Built adjacent to Pier 4 close to Terminal 2, the new transfer area will greatly enhance Dublin Airport’s ability to compete for transfer traffic between Europe and North America and improve the quality of the product available for transferring passengers.
The new building has the capacity to welcome four times more connecting passengers than is currently being handled, according to Dublin Airport’s Managing Director Vincent Harrison.
“We have been growing Dublin Airport as a connecting gateway between Europe and North America steadily over the past five years and this new transfer facility will help us to further expand that business,” he says.
The number of passengers transferring at Dublin Airport has increased from 550,000 in 2013 to almost 1.6 million passengers last year, and connecting passenger numbers are up a further 17% this year. The new three-storey facility comprises airline information desks, boarding card checkpoints, and immigration and customs facilities for transfer passengers to complete a one-stop flight connection process within Pier 4. It also accommodates an additional access route for passengers bussed from other areas of the airport.