Needless to say, airport access control plays a key role in keeping staff and passengers secure. However, increasingly, like in other industries, airport operators are using access control systems for purposes beyond security – for example improving operational efficiency as well as maximizing the passenger experience.
Air travelers are increasing by the day. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), it expects 7.2 billion passengers to travel in 2035, a near doubling of the 3.8 billion air travelers in 2016. The increase in the number of travelers has also brought competitive pressures to airports as they try to attract more airlines and increase traffic.
As such, airports find an increasing need to improve security as well as their own operational efficiency and staff management to stay viable in the competition. More and more, they turn to security systems, including access control, to get help in this regard.
Access control is used to prevent unauthorized personnel or passengers from entering secured areas and restricted zones unnecessarily. Yet when access control is combined with analytics, airport operators can also proactively monitor the boarding or deplaning of specific flights, as well as measure the impact of gate changes and security screening delays to improve airport efficiency and increase commercial revenue from non-flight related sources – that is, duty-free shops, restaurants and gift shops.
Co-working with other systems
Meanwhile, access control co-working with other systems, for example an identity management system, can also help improve efficiency.
New employees need an access badge, and the onboarding processes is often manual and requires employees to make multiple trips around their airport to get a background check, get fingerprinted and go through training. The onboarding office has to work with several different systems to complete, which is cumbersome and error prone. An identity management system, which is integrated with the access control system, streamlines the process, automates procedures and the employee begins work faster.
An identity management system integrated with access control will also help airport ensure compliance. Employees who work on the tarmac/airside must have a large amount of insurance. If an airline employee’s insurance lapses, but they still have access, the airline would have to pay a big fine. An identity management system allows the airlines and other tenants to automatically track when insurance premiums are due and when background checks need to be performed. By automating these processes, airport tenants know who can be where and when, when certifications, insurance premiums or background checks are set to expire, and can renew premiums and conduct a background check at the scheduled time. This keeps the airport in compliance, mitigates risk and saves money.
More and more, airlines working in airports are also relying on access control to improve efficiency and flight turnaround time.
Crew work periods are tightly regulated. If the security system can fully integrate the access, emigration, dispatch and time and attendance functions, it could possibly save each crew member one hour per flight cycle. This is obviously a huge efficiency improvement. Another example is the possible reduction in the turn-around time of a plane from the current 90 min to closer to 60 min. This requires dynamic dispatch and staff management. If for instance, a crewmember started the check-in process but then was not found at the next step, there are two parallel considerations. One is to see what happened to the crewmember, but the other is to dispatch a replacement crew member immediately so that flight operations would not be impacted.
Source: a&s Magazine