Gold Coast, Australia | November 26, 2014– Melbourne Airport has been selected number one for innovation at the 2014 Australian Airports Association’s (AAA) National Airport Industry Awards. The airport won the SITA Innovation Award in recognition of its new and innovative passenger self-service initiatives, including its popular self-service bag drop.

Key leaders and executives from Australian airports gathered last night at the Gold Coast Convention Centre for the awards ceremony. The annual event celebrates and honours contributions and achievements that Australian airports and individuals have made to the country’s airport industry.

Sarah Renner, Executive Planning and Development at Melbourne Airport accepted the award from Jason Coleman, SITA Vice President Sales, Asia Pacific, who said: “Melbourne Airport is the deserving winner of this year’s SITA Innovation Award for their excellence in deploying self-service innovations. Through these innovations the airport has greatly improved operations and enhanced customer service. SITA works very closely with airports like Melbourne bringing innovations and improvements to transform travel into a more seamless and pleasant experience.”

Melbourne | February 18, 2014– SITA is delivering technology advances to Melbourne Airport’s passengers as the airport switches all of its passenger services to SITA’s common-use platform. The airport’s switch follows the recent successful implementation of SITA’s common-use passenger self-service kiosks and automated bag drop. SITA’s AirportConnect Open common-use platform will now power all 275 workstations, including check-in counters and boarding gates, throughout the airport’s international terminal.

The investment in SITA’s technology will allow the airport operator to maximize the use of its terminal facilities and enhance the experience for the 25 international airlines and 30 million passengers who currently use the airport. The new facilities are  part of Melbourne Airport’s biggest transformation since it opened more than 40 years ago, which will see up to $10 billion invested over 20 years and passenger numbers doubling to 60 million by 2030.

Chris Woodruff, CEO, Melbourne Airport, said: “Over the next two years Melbourne Airport is investing $1 billion in a development plan which includes the transformation of our international terminal. By working together with SITA and using technology in new ways we will be able to improve our processes to make the journey smoother for passengers and the airlines that serve them.

“SITA’s flexibility, innovation and dedication to our industry were why we chose to partner with SITA. We believe this partnership will benefit us as well as airlines, ground handlers and passengers as we work with SITA to introduce innovations for more efficient operations.”

In September 2013, Melbourne Airport was one of the first airports in the world to introduce international Common-Use Self-Service (CUSS) bag drops. Working with technology partners SITA and BCS Group, it now provides self-service units so passengers can ‘tag and drop’ their bags without queuing for a staff member. The bag drops are proving successful with more than 90,000 bags self-checked by passengers since implementation. This process now takes passengers an average of only thirty seconds.

Ilya Gutlin, SITA President, Asia Pacific, said: “Melbourne Airport is focusing on serving both its passengers and airlines better. By implementing SITA’s common-use platform across the airport, Melbourne is delivering a world-class, future-proofed system from which to launch innovative services.

“This switch to SITA by Melbourne Airport cements our partnership at this exciting time of the airport’s expansion and development.”

SITA’s platform at Melbourne Airport complements the six steps of the IATA Fast Travel initiative, which is designed to improve passenger processing and the overall passenger experience through innovation, automation and processing efficiency. The delivery of CUSS check-in is part of this initiative.

The move to SITA’s platform is underway and full implementation is expected by the end of this month.