Automating passenger processing using border kiosk technology has the potential to provide a solution that is secure, efficient and innovative – all of which may work together to transform the traveller experience. Chris Gilliland, Director of Innovative Travel Solutions, Vancouver Airport Authority, briefs Ross Falconer on the first implementation of BORDERXPRESS in Europe at Pafos and Larnaka airports.
As passenger traffic continues to grow, it is crucial for airports to future-proof their facilities. The automation of passenger processing using border kiosk technology is one way in which progressive airports are doing just that.
The BORDERXPRESS technology developed by Innovative Travel Solutions, an independent business unit of Vancouver International Airport (YVR), had, as of the end of 2018, processed almost 250 million passengers at 42 airport and seaport locations around the world. Significantly, the first implementation of BORDERXPRESS in Europe took place at Pafos and Larnaka airports in July 2018, with the installation of 74 kiosks.
BORDERXPRESS uses self-service, biometric-enabled kiosks in a two-step process to expedite border clearance, and is said to reduce passenger wait times by more than 60%. “This leads to overall operating efficiency and space savings by more than 50%, because it allows airports to expand passenger traffic without having to add additional space or staffing resources,” explains Chris Gilliland, Director of Innovative Travel Solutions, Vancouver Airport Authority. “The kiosks also allow border officers to focus on maintaining the safety of the border, which is of paramount importance to airports and a condition of governments when considering automation.”
The kiosks are fully accessible to all passengers regardless of age or mobility, and can be configured with up to 35 languages. They can, therefore, essentially process any passenger, including families travelling as a group.
“The expansion of BORDERXPRESS into Europe was a significant milestone for Innovative Travel Solutions, as it represents our entry into an important and very promising market,” says Gilliland. “The timing is also ideal as the European travel industry has the impending new European Union Entry/Exit System requirements, scheduled to launch in 2020. The region has amplified its emphasis on modernising border management as it seeks to help Member States plan for increased traffic flow and reinforce security infrastructure.”
Hermes Airports, which operates Pafos and Larnaka airports, and its partners in the Cyprus government, recognised the value of BORDERXPRESS to provide a solution that would move travellers through the airports securely and efficiently. Gilliland comments that initial feedback from both airports is positive. “Lines have essentially been eliminated and they are seeing positive results across several key customer satisfaction metrics. We’re confident that over time, and as more travellers use the kiosks, the results will continue to trend upwards and will further show the impact BORDERXPRESS has had on improving passenger processing at these airports.”
Building on the success of BORDERXPRESS, YVR’s Innovative Travel Solutions has partnered with Glidepath to launch a new self-service bag drop solution, CHECKITXPRESS. The first CHECKITXPRESS bag drop was introduced at Vancouver International Airport in May 2018 and there are now 10 at the airport, with more planned to roll out later this year.
Gilliland explains that YVR’s Innovative Travel Solutions continues to look for new ways to use technology to improve efficiencies and transform the traveller experience – not just at home at YVR, but around the world and across the industry.
“The success we have experienced in Cyprus has opened additional opportunities in Europe to improve the traveller’s experience through BORDERXPRESS technology. We plan to build off this success and tap into these important markets as the need for secure and efficient border control solutions continues to rise.”