New technologies facilitate easier air travel

New technologies facilitate easier air travel

New aviation technologies like common-use kiosks and web or mobile check-in systems to make air travel easier and customer-friendly are being increasingly introduced in India by airport operators and airlines.

Very soon, when you pass through Delhi airport's plush Terminal-3, only with hand baggage, you will be able to go straight to the security gate without checking in at the airline counter and catch your flight.

You will just have to show your e-ticket or boarding pass, retrieved from the airline site at home or in office, at a common-use kiosk at the airport entry point which would validate this travel document.

This would be made possible by a new technology called 'VeriPax', which is "going through trial stages at the T-3 now", Jim Martin, Managing Director (Asia Pacific) of global aviation technology firm ARINC, told PTI here.

ARINC, headquartered at Annapolis in the US, has already installed a series of passenger technology, including 550 passenger check-in and baggage messaging systems, at T-3. Besides providing these systems at airline counters and their back offices, it has also installed 90 hand-held scanners for the automated baggage reconciliation system at T-3 with a capacity to handle 12,800 pieces per hour.

To enhance security, ARINC has deployed its new VeriPaxSM service at T-3, where it is being implemented for the first time in India.

Security agencies use VeriPax to automatically validate boarding passes against the airport's operational database, to prevent fraudulent passengers from entering the secure hold area.

Among the other new technologies, Air India and Jet Airways have introduced 'Mobile Check-In' facility that will allow travellers to perform basic check-in functions through web-enabled mobile phones. Jet has begun using this technology for its frequent flyer members and is slated to expand its usage soon.

Asked about the use of bar-coded boarding passes on mobile phones, Martin said, "We are very close to bringing this technology fully into India. We are working with several (Indian) airlines." He refused to give further details.

Under this technology which is now being used by about 30 airlines worldwide, a passenger would get a 2D bar-coded boarding card MMSed on his mobile phone, which would be read and validated by the self-user kiosks at airports. This system would do away with paper boarding passes.

Martin said: "Our projects at Indira Gandhi International Airport Terminals 1D and T-3 are testament to the confidence DIAL has placed in ARINC to manage all their passenger technology needs. We will continue to support DIAL, with a team dedicated to growing the airport into a major hub in the region."

He said ARINC was also looking forward "to future opportunities to support the growth of aviation in India." Air India has introduced the mobile check-in facility at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bangalore on domestic travel with ARINC's competitor, SITA.

The national carrier has said the technology would reduce queues at airports considerably once people start getting used to it. The facility would be extended later to other places and international flights.

The passenger using the facility will get an electronically generated 2D bar code on his mobile, which will contain details like passenger's name, date and flight number, boarding time and gate number, seat number and class of journey.

The traveller, the airline said, will not have to wait to get his boarding pass, but his confirmation of check-in will enable the same.

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