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How technology could help airports


Technology could soon be used to track airline passengers and communicate directly with them on their way to their flights, an engineering figure has predicted.

Arup director Richard Matthews said engineers would have an important role to play in helping airports use data and communications to keep flight schedules running smoothly.

Matthews was speaking ahead of the New Civil Engineer Airports conference in London later this month.

He said technology could transform the way airports worked, with the possibilities including fully-automated check-in; different formats for security checks; and more control over passenger flow.

“Late passengers have huge repercussions for airports,” said Matthews, who will present at the conference alongside Morgan Sindall director Keith Cannin, Jacobs aviation technical lead Andrew Gibson and WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff aviation director Tim Morrison.

“The ideal would be for airlines to know exactly where passengers are when they get into the airport. I could imagine them using text messages to remind people to get to their flights. Telling you that you’re going the wrong way to desk 23 and so on.”

Engineers are working on effective ways of managing all of the data that exists on passengers, flights, weather, traffic conditions and other factors, according to Matthews.

“If you had enough data you could say ’Passenger X is held up by a crash on road Y, so there is no point holding the flight’.

“You could make operations run so much more smoothly.”

Matthews said two factors holding back use of data were concerns over privacy and lack of familiarity with certain technology.

The New Civil Engineer Airports conference will take place at the America Square Conference Centre on 25 and 26 May.

Heathrow strategy director Emma Gilthorpe and Gatwick corporate affairs and sustainability director Charles Kirwan-Taylor will go head-to-head over their rival expansion plans at the event.  

Book your place here.



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