Last month we saw an interesting news release from SITA about biometric passports and the European Unions’ use of this technology for fast-tracking through airport security.

Here is a bit of the news release: NAPLES – 19 January 2016 – Naples International Airport is offering passengers from the European Union who hold a biometric passport, a fast track through the airport with the introduction of self-service immigration control technology from air transport IT specialist, SITA.  Using world-leading facial recognition technology to confirm that the passenger is the passport holder, SITA’s iBorders BorderAutomation ABCGates provide a smooth “walk-through” experience. The Automated Border Control Gates (ABCGates) confirm that the passenger has an authentic, valid passport and is authorized to enter the country while fingerprint verification is also provided to further enhance security when required. With an average processing time of only 20 seconds, this process enables eligible passengers to use self-service facilities to reduce wait times and optimize passenger flow through the airport. The ABCGates (departures and arrivals) allows more than 2,000 passengers a day to clear immigration at the airport using this latest technology.

Alessandro Fidato, Director of Infrastructure & Operations at Naples International Airport said: “The new technology has helped improve the passenger experience at Naples Airport by speeding them through immigration while ensuring that we meet the highest security standards at Italy’s borders. The ABCGates are really a win-win technology for airports.”

Dave Bakker, SITA President, Europe, noted: “We continue to work with airlines, airports and government agencies around the globe to provide the best-in-class self-service border technology. Through the use of biometrics, we are able to enhance the passenger experience by providing a swift passage through immigration while adhering to the highest possible security standards.”

So we asked a few more questions of Mr. Bakker and he told IFExpress the following:

1. IFExpress: How long have the ABCGates in Naples been in operation?

Answer: “The first four  iBorders® BorderAutomation ABCGates went into operation at Naples International Airport’s departures in September last year while four additional ABCGates were introduced into arrivals in January this year. “

2. If an optical condition occurs (like an eye operation) to a pax who has signed up for optical recognition and fails the test, what happens?

Answer: “Whenever a passenger is not successfully processed by the gate, an agent at a monitoring station is called for intervention.

3. IFExpress: How many eyes are scanned for each person?

Answer: “The ABCGates use facial recognition technology and fingerprint matching.

4. IFExpress: Is there a cost for the application and setup for the passenger?

Answer: “Any traveller from the EU holding a valid e-Passport can use the ABCGates. There is no cost for the traveller to use the ABCGates.”

5. IFExpress: Actually, what equipment is involved?

Answer: “The most important and visible element are the e-gates themselves. They include gates with passport readers, face recognition cameras and fingerprint readers, as well as the necessary software to allow integration of the data into the authorities’ databases.”

6. IFExpress: Any test results on percent error you can mention?

Answer: “For security reasons, the exact percentage is confidential. However, the ABCGates are configured to be compliant with the Frontex guidelines for processing travellers in the EU in a self-service environment.”

7. IFExpress: How long have the ABCGates been in the dev/test phase?

Answer: “SITA’s ABCGates were first launched two years ago, after 18 months of development.”

8. IFExpress: Is this more accurate or reliable than fingerprints?

Answer: “The type of biometrics used depends on the government requirements. Our ABCGates can accommodate all ICAO-approved biometrics. In the case of Naples, both facial recognition and fingerprint matching are included.”

9. IFExpress: Can you give our readers a bit more on how this database works?

Answer: A: “Each travelers details including their biometrics are captured and vetted at the time they apply for their e-Passport.  When the traveler uses the ABC Gate their live biometrics are checked against the biometric data stored securely on the e-Passport chip.  At the same time the passport details are checked against central government databases to ensure that the passenger is eligible to cross the border.”

Finally, Dave Bakker told IFExpress: We continue to work with airlines, airports and government agencies around the globe to provide the best-in-class self-service border technology. Through the use of biometrics, we are able to enhance the passenger experience by providing a swift passage through immigration while adhering to the highest possible security standards.”


On another front, Panasonic signed a multi-year contract for high throughput capacity on Telesat’s new Telstar 12 VANTAGE satellite. In this latest agreement, Panasonic has contracted for nearly all the high throughput satellite (HTS) Ku-band capacity covering the Mediterranean, Europe and Middle East on Telesat’s new Telstar 12 VANTAGE. Telstar 12 Vantage became fully operational at 15 degrees West in December 2015 and will provide Panasonic with HTS capacity over key aero routes from Western Europe to the Middle East enabling them to bring the very latest in in-flight Wi-Fi to carriers across the region. Panasonic will also be using the HTS capacity of Telstar 12 VANTAGE to expand their mobile broadband offerings to growing maritime markets in the Mediterranean and European waterways as well as to oil and gas operators in the North Sea.

“Telesat is highly respected for their ability to design innovative satellites,” said David Bruner, Vice President, Global Communications Services at Panasonic Avionics. “Their cooperation in adjusting the position of the HTS spot beams on Telstar 12 VANTAGE to meet Panasonic’s requirements was outstanding. This further optimizes the service for Panasonic and gives us an edge in winning mobile broadband business in the air and at sea. Panasonic now has Ku-band capacity on four Telesat satellites and, with this latest contract for nearly all the HTS Ku-band covering the Mediterranean, Europe and Middle East on Telstar 12 VANTAGE, we are well positioned to expand in maritime and energy markets across Europe. Panasonic values our close ties to the Telesat team and we are truly excited to be making use of Telstar 12 VANTAGE – the first satellite with significant HTS Ku-band over the Mediterranean and North Sea.”  Also note Bruner; “The story here from Panasonic’s perspective is that by April we will have high throughout capacity online continuously and overlapping from the west coast of the US to the Middle East. By October all the way to Asia. Next year we complete the initial HTS coverage with a new satellite over the Pacific, Eutelsat 172B.” This might be a good time to view the map coverage of Telstar 12 VANTAGE.


Lastly, Thales just closed a big sale deal  for AVANT IFE and connectivity with Singapore Airlines for their A350 aircraft and IFExpress will have more on the deal soon! Stay Tuned!


Notes:

  • Over the next twenty years, the folks at Boeing see an Asia-Pacific demand of some 14,550 aircraft valued at over $550 B!
  • Last week we found an amazing, crazy video. You are never going to believe what the band OK Go does to an aircraft interior, never. The tune “Upside Down & Inside Out” should give you a hint. The band traveled to Russia to work with S7 Airlines and film the video, described on the OK Go Facebook page as “the craziest thing they’ve ever done.” It is… OK Go breaks gravity habit in spacey ‘Upside Down & Inside Out’ video
  • Correction: Last week we noted some trade show information that occurred at the Aircraft Interiors Middle East event this year. Mr. Botts, who reported on the show and award event for us noted flydubai as the overall winner and mentioned an IFE vendor whose equipment he thought was on their planes – he was wrong. The correct IFE vendor is Lumexis. In fact, flydubai was the launch customer for Lumexis’ FTTS IFE system. Here are links to flydubai’s past awards: 2014, 2015, and 2016. Mea Culpa!

Interesting Industry News:


And Finally, a B727 Story…

For some time now we have been following the reconstruction and re-certification of a 53 year old Boeing 727 by an ex-Boeing good-guy, Robert Bogash. The plane is destined for Boeing’s Museum of Flight but is located some 50 Kilometers away in Everett, WA. Bob is driven and never gives up, I know because many years ago, I worked with him. The rebuilding process is documented on his website and we have a link for you below and has well over one million “hits” so far. Mostly, we wanted to show our readers the challenge in re-certifing an older plane destined to fly this spring. Mr. Bogash and the team have documented virtually every step in the process (text and images) and if you ever worked in aircraft maintenance or certification, this is for you. If not, you are going to learn a lot about the B727! We asked Bob, what it took to get the job done so far and he said: “Patience.  Persistence. Hard Work. Long Journey. I’ve probably got about 600-700 hours into it — in the last 5 or 6 weeks, that is… We are shooting to fly March 1 – weather is the big unknown and determinant. That’s me in the Left Seat in the video, and yes, I will fly the trip down to Boeing Field, but not as Pilot in Command. Thanks for the kudos. Daily E1 Status Reports are being provided in near Real Time on my Status Page.”  Also, he noted; “It’s also important that they look into buying a souvenir that will fly on the flight or contribute directly, since none of this comes free, and I’ve blown my budget.”