New tech to speed up airport

Self-service, check-in "pods'' are part of a suite of changes coming to Queenstown Airport in September and October as part of a two-year, multimillion-dollar upgrade to the facilities. Photo: Makebardow
Self-service, check-in "pods'' are part of a suite of changes coming to Queenstown Airport in September and October as part of a two-year, multimillion-dollar upgrade to the facilities. Photo: Makebardo
Queenstown Airport will become the first in the world to use fully integrated, self-service technology which aims to reduce terminal congestion by up to 60%.

The airport has enlisted Melbourne-based Elenium Automation to provide the end-to-end product, expected to be operational by the end of October.

New equipment includes technology changes to eight boarding gates, installation of three common-use, self-service, check-in ''pods'', featuring 15 Elenium kiosks, 12 common-use ''drop counters'' and a state-of-the-art, self-service bag drop which could read a bag tag barcode in 70 milliseconds, irrespective of bag placement, with a 97% success rate.

The check-in pods will enable any passenger on any airline other than Air New Zealand, which has its own, to use the self check-in facility.

The drop counters mean passengers on any airline could use any bag drop counter - at present, specific counters were allocated to each airline operating in Queenstown.

The investment is part of Queenstown Airport's two-year, multimillion-dollar ''Project Pathway'' programme of capital work, announced last October, to increase terminal capacity and related infrastructure to cater for about 2.8million passenger movements, or 1.4million passengers, a year.

Upgrades to six areas at the airport - border agency; customer check-in; security screening; domestic gate lounges; commercial transfer area; and baggage make-up unit - are planned.

Queenstown Airport Corporation commercial and customer experience general manager Olivia Pierre said the new technology aimed to improve passenger satisfaction.

Elenium Automation chief executive and co-founder Aaron Hornlimann said the project represented a ''significant modernisation'' for the 84-year-old regional airport, and a ''leap forward'' for Elenium.

''We're thrilled to be partnering with Queenstown Airport to prove that significant efficiency and passenger experience gains can be achieved anywhere, not just at large airports.

''Our ultimate vision is for passengers to simply walk through the airport unencumbered.

''It will be exciting to see this approach being phased in at Queenstown.''

Queenstown Airport, of which 24.99% is owned by Auckland International Airport Ltd, is now New Zealand's fourth-busiest, experiencing exponential passenger growth year on year.

The airport's June passenger statistics show the total number of people travelling through the terminal increased by 4%, to 150,011, compared to June 2018.

While domestic traffic was up just 1% on last year, to 106,119, international traffic increased by 12%, to 43,892.

Twelve-month passenger numbers reached 2,321,347 - an 8% increase on the previous 12 months.

tracey.roxburgh@odt.co.nz

Add a Comment