IATA to Focus on Fast Travel, Checkpoint of the Future to Improve Air Travel
By James Shillinglaw
October 16, 2012 10:31 PM
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), at its World Passenger Symposium in Abu Dhabi, said it is trying to bring “greater value” to air travel by focusing on three major priority areas. These include a New Distribution Capability (see related TravelPulse.com story) that would completely change the way airlines are booked, simplifying airport processes with Fast Travel, and implementing a Checkpoint of the Future (CoF) for passenger security.
IATA said it is working with industry stakeholders to implement self-service options with its Fast Travel program. It says this new program gives passengers more control over their airport experience in six key processes: check-in, bag check, travel document scanning, boarding, flight re-booking and baggage tracing.
“IATA’s Global Passenger Survey reveals that 52 percent of travelers are eager to print out their own bag tags at home and 77 percent would prefer to use a self-boarding gate at an airport,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO. “Fast Travel responds to these and other consumer demands for more control over their journey. Our 2020 vision is for a fast, seamless curb to airside experience that is predictable, repeatable, secure and globally consistent. An important component of that vision is ubiquitous one-click access to Wi-Fi at airports. This will enable travel services providers to exchange data in real-time with passengers.” According to IATA, such interaction will provide a channel to provide passengers with options to add value to their journey as well as facilitating a smoother process when there are delays or other irregularities.
In addition, IATA said its Checkpoint of the Future (CoF) project will enable a walk-through security checkpoint experience without stopping, removing items of clothing and liquids, or taking computers out of bags. “CoF will replace today’s one-size-fits-all approach to screening with a model based on risk assessment,” Tyler said. “By focusing resources where the need is greatest we will make the system more secure and reduce the hassle for our customers.” According to IATA’s Global Passenger Survey, queuing time is the most frequent complaint with security.
IATA said the key to achieving the goals of CoF is the use of passenger information that is already required by many governments for purposes of customs and immigration. This could be supplemented with voluntary known traveler programs. “Sharing information about passengers is a sensitive subject, but our Passenger Survey shows that nearly three out of four air travelers would be willing to share personal information with governments to speed up security screening,” Tyler said.
According to IATA, CoF is moving forward in a staged approach. The initial focus is on making today’s checkpoints more efficient through such steps as introducing dedicated known traveler lanes, which can increase efficiency by up to 30 percent. Trials of specific CoF components are currently being carried out and Tyler urged airports, security regulators and equipment providers to join together to identify candidate airports for the first CoF trial in 2014.