AIRPORTS IN THE SPOTLIGHT
January 2019

As 2018 drew to a close events at Gatwick airport stole the headlines, pushing plotting Parliamentarians and all talk of Brexit firmly off the news agenda for several days. The holidays are always a busy time for transport hubs and they are usually marred by some form of disruption – industrial action or adverse weather conditions. This Christmas it was rogue drones!

Christmas chaos

Chaos reigned at Gatwick as the airport closed for around seventeen hours whilst the authorities searched for the perpetrators. An estimated 140,000 passengers suffered cancellations or delays and around 1000 flights were disrupted over the 19th and 20th of December.

Whilst an incredulous general public wondered how such a relatively low-tech event could bring such a hi-tech operation to its knees the police and security forces were concerned about the vulnerability of other UK airports.

With a new military technology in place at Gatwick to address rogue drones, it looks as though the chance of further incidents has been eliminated.

Smooth operator

Technology plays a critical part in the smooth operation of an airport. It is used to improve the passenger experience, enhance security and streamline processes to increase productivity. The overall aim being to move people and their luggage through the airport as securely, efficiently and quickly as possible.

Passenger numbers are huge. According to a recent Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) report up to 12th December 2018 UK airports had handled a total of 290,044,519 passengers. Over 79 million through Heathrow and nearly 46 million through Gatwick.

From check-in and bag drop to security and passport control, investment in digital technology is enabling airports to handle increasing passenger numbers.

E-Passport Gates and Self-Service Kiosks

E-Passport gates, also known as Automated Border Control (ABC) gates are operated by the UK Border Force in 13 UK airport arrivals halls. Facial recognition technology is used to verify the user's identity against the data stored in the chip in their biometric passport.

Self-service kiosks are being used by airlines and airports for check-in, printing bag tags and enabling passengers to purchase additional services, such as seat upgrades and meal options, from the airline.

The benefits

Improved passenger experience by reducing queues and bottlenecks
Secure, speedy and seamless passenger processing
Enables airports to meet the challenge of increased passenger numbers by decentralising the processing of a significant number of people
Cost-effective
Better use of airport staff and resources
What if it all goes wrong?

As we all know technology is a wonderful thing until it goes awry! Whilst the benefits of E-Passport gates and self-service kiosks are undisputed their availability is critical. If the technology fails it all goes horribly wrong. Regular and preventative maintenance is key in reducing downtime.

Howe Green has supplied duct runs of floor access covers for many of the UK airports operating e-Passport gates and self-service kiosks, including Birmingham, Gatwick, Heathrow, Manchester and Stansted. The duct covers provide easy and safe access to cabling located under the flooring.

The Howe Green 7500 Series Medium-Duty Floor Access Duct Covers are the most suitable product for a busy airport environment. The 7500 Series is for use with all types of solid and hard flooring finishes and can accommodate up to 5-tonne pneumatic tyre wheel load (cars and light delivery vehicles).

The duct covers are very quick and easy to install into the flooring finish ensuring that there is the least possible disturbance to the smooth operation of the airport. When maintenance is required the covers can easily be removed using lifting keys or an access cover skate, again keeping any disruption to a minimum. The configuration of ducts can be tailor-made to suit your exact requirements.

The duct covers can be manufactured in aluminium or in stainless steel, which is preferable if a thicker non-wearing flooring is to be installed. There are options for a double seal, to provide the highest levels of hygiene and security, and for a 2-hour fire rating to BS476: Part 20: 1987.

Find out more…

If you want to ensure that the building services being used to drive the technology behind the smooth operation of your airport are easily accessible give our Technical team a call on 01920 463230.