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Edinburgh Airport installs biometric system to track passenger movements

John E Dunn | May 31, 2013
MFlow Journey allows better queue management

Edinburgh Airport has become the latest site to deploy Human Recognition Systems' MFlow Journey queue measurement system to track and react to the movement of passengers through check-in, security and passport control.

Due to go live this month, the system is one of a new breed of passenger management technologies that allow airports to spot bottlenecks in real time, reducing queuing time during peak hours.

An anonymous facial image is taken of each passenger as they check in and the time it takes each to reach certain waypoints plotted over time. If this time breaches a pre-set parameter for enough passengers, alerts can be generated.

The principle is that moving passengers from check in to the terminal increases their satisfaction with that airport and boosts the amount of time they have to spend money in the retail outlets that generate profit for airports.

The system can also be used to track the movement of passengers through the airport as a whole.

"As the system doesn't rely on people carrying Bluetooth or Wi-Fi technology, we are able to collate highly accurate data on the movement of passengers through security screening and then make informed decisions about how we manage this area of the airport in the long term," said Edinburgh Airport's IT head, Graeme Agnew.

MFlow is already in use at Global Infrastructure Partners' other UK air terminals, Gatwick and London City Airport. The firm acquired Edinburgh Airport, which handles 13,000 passengers per day, in 2012.

"The aviation industry is continually looking at innovative ways to provide real-time insight into passengers' journeys as they move through the airport - biometric technology is an effective and efficient way to provide this data," commented Human Recognition Systems' aviation business unit manager, Jim Slevin.

"Capable of being deployed as a complete end-to-end solution, from check in to departure, MFlow Journey is changing the way that airports manage operational challenges and measure passenger experience."

In a separate announcement earlier this month, Edinburgh Airport carrier EasyJet announced that it was trialling digital boarding passes issued on Apple and Android mobiles.


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