Advances In Airport Technology

The traffic at airports today has become more complex because of the increased traffic on the ground and the growth of airport infrastructures. Taxiing is a critical phase in terms of efficiency and safety, and represents significant costs for airlines who allocate several hundred kilos of fuel to this phase alone. Currently, solutions based on airport moving maps are proposed to airlines to cope with this challenge.

First introduced in 2007 with the A380 and have become a basic function for all long-range aircraft. Recent changes in regulation have enabled implementation of the airport moving map function also on EFB, which opens up retrofit market opportunities. New functionalities such as Taxi Routing are now emerging to complement airport moving maps and go further in the facilitation of the critical taxiing phase.

The Speakers from Thales will introduce to you that the Airport Operations Function brings several benefits – at operational level, for the pilot, it reduces workload and stress and provides better situational awareness. For airlines, it leads to time and fuel savings. And in general, it enables smoother traffic on ground and increased safety.

Airlines are also looking into upgrading these tablets so that flight crews can record customer-service complaints from elite passengers during the flight, alert airline headquarters, and get a response to the passenger as soon as the plane lands, according to Kevin O’Sullivan, lead engineer on the technology for SITA (Societe Internationale de Telecommunications Aeronautiques), which organizes the tech forum.

Starting this summer, many major manufacturers of smart phones—such as Samsung, Nokia, and (according to rumors) Apple—will add near field communication (NFC) chips to their next-generation smart phones. This functionality means that the devices will be able to perform as electronic boarding passes; plus, they will store your various frequent flier account numbers in the chip. So whenever you tap your phone on an airport touch point, it will zap the relevant info to an airline’s computers, identifying you and your itinerary. This technology will replace the current barcode system, sparing you from having to fumble to find the relevant e-mail message or, alternatively, to keep refreshing the relevant screen on an airline app (like United’s) or a third-party travel-management app (like TripIt’s). Your NFC-enabled smart phone doesn’t even have to be turned on or need a working battery to connect with a gate sensor.

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