Changi plans more self-boarding gates

SINGAPORE - Changi Airport will roll out more self-boarding gates at its terminals from April, following a successful trial which showed boarding time cut by up to half. With the new self-boarding gates, the boarding process will be streamlined at the gatehold rooms and passengers will scan their boarding passes themselves using the barcode readers before they board the plane. However, ground staff will also be on hand to help those who need assistance.

Security checks will remain in place at these self-boarding gates to verify the passenger's identity and ensure that prohibited items are not taken onboard the plane.

Changi Airport Group (CAG) and Lufthansa airline embarked on a trial at Changi's Terminal 2 in May with "encouraging" results so far, the airport operator said.

Boarding time for an Airbus A380 aircraft with a load of 500 passengers can take place in 15 minutes, down from about 30 minutes previously, making the boarding experience both quicker and smoother for passengers.

For airlines and ground-handlers, this will also mean staff can be freed to perform other duties such as providing customer service.

CAG said that the self-boarding gates are a part of a larger push to implement automated airport processes which the airport operator will be introducing across its terminals at Changi. Aside from fast and seamless travel, it will help the airport and its partners tackle the existing manpower crunch in Singapore even as passenger traffic continues on an upward trend.

The upcoming Terminal 4 is expected to leverage on more self-service options, from check-in to baggage drop off to automated immigration clearance, CAG has said previously. T4 will open its doors in 2017.

Other airports are also looking for ways to improve the passenger experience and effectively use resources without compromising safety and security. London's Heathrow and Amsterdam's Schiphol will take part in Smart Security pilots next year to test first-generation check-points, together with the International Air Transport Association and Airports Council International. This will include integrating technology to improve security screening as well as putting in place new procedures to facilitate risk-based screening.