Automated border solution helps reduce wait times for passengers at Italy’s fastest-growing airport
Bologna, Italy | January 31, 2017– Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport is to speed up the immigration process for passengers from the European Union who hold a biometric passport with the introduction of new 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 will provide passengers with 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 under 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 allows more than 10,000 passengers a day to clear immigration at the airport using this latest technology.

Nazareno Ventola, CEO of Aeroporto di Bologna, said: “Today passengers increasingly demand more self-service options across their journey that help provide a quick and seamless journey through the airport. SITA’s ABCGates help us meet this demand while ensuring we can accommodate an increasing number of travelers, particularly during peak arrival periods.”

In 2016 Bologna Airport was the fastest-growing airport among Italy’s 15 busiest airports, with more than 7 million passengers last year. Streamlining the immigration process on arrival with the deployment of the ABCGates will allow the airport to accommodate more passengers during busy peak periods.

Dave Bakker, SITA President, Europe, said: “Not only do passengers value the convenience of self-service technology but it helps airports improve the passenger flow through the airport. Our ABCGates are a good example of how we have worked with airports across Italy to provide ease-of-use while supporting the country’s ability to manage its borders, keeping them safe and secure.”

SITA is a world leader in providing border control technology with about 30 governments globally using SITA’s iBorders® systems and capabilities to keep their borders secure and transform their border security operations. Bologna is the fourth airport in Italy to introduce ABCGates to fast track immigration.

  • Automatic advance security checks now being run on all passengers exiting Australia

Sydney, Australia | April 7, 2016– Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection (the Department) is now running automated checks on all passengers departing the country. The Outward Advance Passenger Processing (APP) program uses iBorders® from SITA, the global provider of border security and IT solutions to governments, airlines and airports. SITA’s iBorders system provides real-time, integration between the airlines’ systems and the Department’s border management systems.

Outward APP, which provides interactive advanced passenger information (i-API), was put in place following legislation enacted by the Australian Government to help improve Australia’s border integrity and national security. As part of these measures, airlines are required to provide data for all travellers departing Australia in advance of their flight. The airline transmits each passenger’s data to the Department during check-in, receiving in response a ‘board’/’no board’ message in real-time. Passengers who are pre-cleared for departure through this process are allowed to quickly self-process through passport control by using the SmartGate in Australia’s international airports.

In addition to providing a more streamlined departure process using automated e-gates, the process also facilitates the identification of passengers who may be a security concern ahead of departure. SITA’s iBorders enables the Department to receive passenger data from the airlines with enough time to pre-process travellers before they arrive at the border.

John Gibbon, Assistant Secretary Traveller Branch at the Department, said: “Outward APP delivers a faster and more seamless experience for travellers, while meeting our business needs to manage threats and ensure the integrity of Australia’s border.”

SITA’s work with the Department started as a trial with a limited number of airlines. Full implementation coincided with the commencement of the Foreign Fighters legislation amendments and today the Outward APP program includes all airlines and all flights out of Australia. In total, 47 airlines are now fully certified and running around two million transactions a month through the Australian Outward APP program powered by iBorders.

Ilya Gutlin, SITA President, Asia Pacific, said: “Australia has long been recognized as a leader and innovator in the area of border management. This sophisticated Outward APP program builds on the existing solutions that SITA has been providing to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection since 2000, when the country geared up for the influx of arrivals for the Olympic Games. Working in sync with the airlines, Australia now runs advance, automatic checks on every passenger arriving or departing the country, making the journey smoother for authorized travellers while addressing issues with persons of interest.”

Around 30 governments globally use SITA’s iBorders® systems and capabilities to keep their borders secure and transform their border security operations.

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.”

Atlanta | August 6, 2015– SITA, the global provider of border security and IT solutions to governments, airlines and airports, today announced that McCarran International Airport (LAS) is the first to deploy Phase 4.0 automated passport control (APC) kiosks, speeding more international travelers through the customs and border process. Now, business or tourist visa holders, Mexican travelers with border crossing cards, and airline crew members will be able to use the kiosks upon arrival in the U.S.

Rosemary Vassiliadis, Clark County Director of Aviation, said: “McCarran welcomed nearly 43 million travelers in 2014 – the most since 2008 – with much of that growth coming from outside the U.S. We expect the volume of international travel will continue to rise, and offering the speed and convenience of SITA’s APC self-service kiosks for passport processing to a greater number of travelers will allow us to accommodate that growth while continuing to deliver an exceptional guest experience.”

McCarran first deployed SITA’s APC Kiosks in March, increasing efficiency at the border by allowing passengers to provide their travel document, biometric data and customs declaration prior to speaking to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer. Phase 4.0 increases eligibility from the previously established 38 “visa waiver” countries outlined by Customs and Border Protection to virtually all of McCarran’s international arrivals.

Beyond extending eligibility to a greater number of travelers, the Phase 4 SITA kiosks feature enhanced embedded video, making it simpler and more intuitive for first-time users, and consistent with the Global Entry experience.

Paul Houghton, SITA President, Americas, said: “SITA is helping airports worldwide deliver an end-to-end, hassle-free and secure passenger journey. Whether at check-in or upon arrival, automating routine and often time-consuming processes like passport control has proven to significantly cut wait times, enabling airports to improve operational efficiency and passenger satisfaction. In the U.S. our automated passport control kiosks have reduced wait times for passengers by as much as 40 percent.”

The need for more efficient and secure border processing will likely continue, as the National Travel and Tourism Office projects nearly six percent annual growth rates in international visitor volume to the U.S. over the 2014-2019 timeframe. Phase 4.0 will allow travelers from the countries with the largest total growth percentages – China (172%), Colombia (72%), India (47%), Brazil (43%), and Mexico (38%) – to process themselves through the kiosks.

SITA is a world leader in providing border control technology and has developed its border control solutions in close collaboration with border agency partners worldwide, as well as airlines, airports and industry groups. SITA’s iBorders® portfolio provides the air transport community with a complete set of capabilities to transform border security and facilitate the travel experience through information, intelligence, optimized interactions with passengers and comprehensive insights to enhance every aspect of border operations.

More than 30 governments globally use SITA’s iBorders® systems and capabilities to keep their borders secure and transform their border security operations. Many international airports in the USA, including JFK New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Diego and Tampa, have biometric immigration kiosks provided by SITA.

  • US airport and airline executives share best practices, address growing demand for border efficiency and security

Atlanta | May 21, 2015– SITA, the global provider of border security and IT solutions to governments, airlines and airports, today announced the formation of the SITA Border Automation User Group. The inaugural meeting, hosted by Orlando International Airport May 20-21, explored how to drive greater efficiency and passenger satisfaction as the demand for automation grows.

The most recent SITA Passenger Trends Survey found that U.S. air travelers rank time-consuming security procedures among the top two areas for improvement. This frustration is likely to worsen, as international travel to the U.S. is projected to grow by up to 6 percent each year over the 2014-2019 timeframe.

Paul Houghton, SITA President, Americas, said: “SITA is committed to working together with our customers and early adopters of border automation technology to deliver the best passenger experience. Our automated passport control (APC) kiosks, which are already widely used in the US, and our automated border control gates, are part of an end-to-end suite of solutions designed to facilitate and provide a more secure passenger journey throughout the airport and across borders.”

SITA brought together airlines, airports and government representatives from across the US, along with experts in border technology, to explore ways to improve the passenger experience while maintaining security. The two-day session included discussions on best practices for integrating next-generation technology such as beacons, mobile apps and Wi-Fi, as well as how to optimize Federal Inspection Station (FIS) design.

John Newsome, Director, Information Technology, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, said: “GOAA began processing international travelers from visa waiver countries with Phase 3 SITA APC Kiosks more than a year ago. We reduced the time required to complete the immigration process for those travelers to 90 seconds, or often much less, reducing stress for our travelers and impact on our facilities. Since the launch and based on the measured improvements, GOAA has added kiosks to both of our FIS facilities, and we are eager to continue improving the experience for international travelers by partnering with SITA to drive further border automation innovation.”

SITA is a world leader in providing border control technology and has developed its border control solutions in close collaboration with border agency partners worldwide, as well as airlines, airports and industry groups. SITA’s iBorders® portfolio provides the air transport community with a complete set of capabilities to transform border security and facilitate the travel experience through information, intelligence, optimized interactions with passengers and comprehensive insights to enhance every aspect of border operations.

Around 30 governments globally use SITA’s iBorders® systems and capabilities to keep their borders secure and transform their border security operations. Many international airports in the USA, including JFK New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Diego and Tampa, have biometric immigration kiosks provided by SITA. And more are coming on stream; by the end of 2015 SITA will have provided close to 450 kiosks to 11 international airports, around half of all APC kiosks in use.

  • Kiosks Securely Process Passengers in 60 seconds

Abu Dhabi, UAE | February 2, 2015– Passengers travelling to the United States can now pre-clear U.S. Customs and Immigration at Abu Dhabi International Airport using new automated passport control (APC) kiosks from air transport and government IT specialist, SITA. Introduced in December 2014, the self-service kiosks use advanced biometric technology to streamline border control procedures and process passengers securely in less than 60 seconds.

The new kiosks in Abu Dhabi enable passengers to provide their travel documents, biometric data and customs declaration prior to speaking to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer. This increases efficiency by off-loading work from the immigration counters to the kiosks. SITA collaborated with the United States Customs and Border Protection Agency as well as Abu Dhabi Airports and Etihad, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, on this project.

Richard Hill, Etihad Airways’ Chief Operations Officer, said: “Since its opening in January last year, U.S. preclearance has been extremely popular with passengers flying from Abu Dhabi to the United States where they arrive as domestic passengers. The process has been greatly enhanced by the introduction of automated passport control kiosks which allow passengers to pass through border controls quickly and seamlessly, significantly improving their travel experience.”

Hani El-Assaad, President, SITA Middle East, India and Africa, said: “SITA is pioneering solutions in self-service border technology all around the world. Our APC kiosks use the latest biometrics to facilitate fast, accurate and secure passenger processing at the border. This ensures that airports, airlines and governments can provide a warm welcome, while still providing a high level of border security. For airports like Abu Dhabi which are experiencing strong passenger growth, these kinds of automated solutions are becoming increasingly important to help manage greater volumes of passengers securely and efficiently.”

Passengers from the United States, Canada and the 38 countries that are part of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program can use the kiosks in Abu Dhabi for self-service immigration. The whole process takes less than 60 seconds. Passengers simply scan their passports to identify themselves, provide their fingerprints and a camera on the kiosk captures their face biometric. The passport and biometric information captured is then cross-referenced to verify the passenger is who they claim to be and then checked against government watch lists. There are several immigration questions the passenger needs to answer on the kiosk touch screen, and once cleared, the kiosk prints out a receipt to show as they exit the customs hall.

SITA is a world leader in providing border control technology and has developed its border control solutions in close collaboration with border agency partners worldwide, as well as airlines, airports and industry groups. Around 30 governments globally use SITA’s iBorders® systems and capabilities to keep their borders secure and transform their border security operations.

  • SITA provides biometrics kiosks to fast-track international arrivals

Orlando, FL | February 19, 2014–  Orlando International Airport is the first to offer international travelers from visa waiver countries the option to ‘land, touch and go’, using SITA’s Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks to self-process for faster US border clearance. The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) announced today that arriving passengers from 37 visa waiver countries can now enjoy quick and easy processing at US customs and immigration.

Orlando is the only airport in the United States to use these high-tech biometric kiosks which allow international travelers, from countries that participate in the U.S. visa waiver program, to self-process into the US. Ten biometric APC kiosks are now available for US citizens, Canadians and visa waiver travelers to complete their Customs Declaration form on a touch-screen, have their passports scanned and fingerprints and photograph taken prior to, and in preparation for, their interview with the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer. The pre-processing these kiosks perform significantly reduces the time to complete the clearance process.

Phil Brown, Executive Director of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, said: “These kiosks are the first to go live for international travelers arriving in the USA and are a great addition to Orlando International Airport. We have a growing number of wide-body aircraft arriving within 90 minutes of each other every afternoon and 90 percent of travelers are arriving from visa waiver countries. Since we installed these new kiosks we have seen a dramatic increase in the total number of travelers processed per minute.”

Paul Houghton, SITA President, Americas, said: “This is another great improvement in the “Orlando Experience”, the airport’s initiative to improve customer satisfaction. SITA specializes in using innovative technology to improve the passenger experience at airports around the world. Innovation in border management is a win-win situation. This change is expected to save millions of dollars for the government and the USA travel and tourism industry.”

The iBorders™ solution implemented by SITA in partnership with Vision-Box® automatically verifies and validates the passenger’s travel documents, checks flight information, captures an ICAO-compliant face image and up to 10 fingerprints, as well as obtaining the customs declaration data required by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP). This full process can be completed in 90 seconds or less.  At the end of the self-service process, travelers receive a receipt to be presented to the CBP officer for the final clearance, at a fast-track dedicated lane.

The kiosks are complimentary to use and do not require registration in advance; however, travelers must have previously entered the U.S. and have fingerprints on file with CBP. They are designed with the passenger experience in mind. They have intuitive, user-friendly interfaces, clear instructions and feedback, combined with quick proactive adjustments for each passenger including adjusting automatically to their height.

SITA is in discussions with international airports across the USA to install these kiosks as quickly as possible to help reduce the unwelcome waiting times which international travelers have experienced in recent years.

A paper outlining the efficiencies that Phase III APC Kiosks can deliver is available here.