Changi Airport Announces New Contactless Technology

Changi Airport departures

Singapore Changi recently announced that it has begun “transforming the passenger experience with new contactless and cleaning innovations for a safer, but yet seamless, airport journey”.

Changi claims that the measures taken, including touchless technology and automated cleaning robots, will be used throughout the airport in preparation for the eventual resumption of air travel to and from Singapore.

At Changi’s automated kiosks, new proximity sensors are being introduced to remove the need for travelers to touch computer screens when they check in or drop off their baggage.

Changi will be the first airport in the world to introduce infrared sensors which will allow passengers to select options displayed on the screen, or key in their travel details, by simply pointing their finger close to the associated button on the screen without touching it.

Changi states that acrylic screens will provide a secure barrier between passengers and staff for those who require the need to check in at counters staffed by customer service agents.

Changi’s non-contact passenger experience will also be extended into the immigration process. The Immigration & Checkpoints Authorities have upgraded the automated immigration lanes at Changi Airport by introducing a new biometric system that uses facial and iris recognition technology as the primary method of verifying traveler’s identity. These initiatives replace the traditional fingerprint scan.

Additionally, Changi has revealed that it is doing more to clean and disinfect the airport on a regular basis throughout the day.

Inside the terminals, autonomous cleaning robots have been modified with a nozzle that sprays a light disinfecting mist for additional protection on carpets and floors. Changi is also exploring the use of ultraviolet LEDs to clean the handrails of escalators and travelers in a safe manner.

A trial is underway researching the use of contactless infrared technology for passenger lifts. The technology is designed to allow travelers to just hover their finger over the lift button to activate it.

Such new contactless and cleaning technologies are said to build on the precautionary measures previously introduced by Changi Airport against Covid-19.

Previously introduced measures include temperature checking at key points, safe distancing, use of masks by all travelers and staff, improved cleaning and disinfection, widespread adoption of “auto” sensor-activated hand sanitizers and the use of long-lasting antimicrobial sprays on frequently touched surfaces.

While countries begin to loosen restrictions on travel, they will be careful not to cause Covid-19 cases to rebound. Governments, however, will want to be tentative about opening up their borders and may even adopt an individualized approach based on the risk level for each destination and route.

Where the risk of the virus is minimal, we are starting to see specific regions wanting to allow movement within safe zones first, such as the trans-Tasman bubble among Australia and New Zealand, which is being examined. This will allow travel between countries within a certain region, although it may still be subject to significant health checks and careful monitoring to avoid the risk of further outbreaks.

There are also countries deemed to be at greater risk, where travel corridors may be limited to certain groups of travellers or under strict conditions, such as the Singapore-China ‘fast lane’ corridor. Such restricted travel corridors would require a certain amount of movement for sensitive travel, including supported business travel.

All models require an approach that’s driven by information, information that’s based on real-time data and can cope with rapidly changing environments.

According to Tan Lye Teck, Executive Vice President of Airport Management, Passengers will expect airports to implement the highest levels of safety and hygiene in order give them peace of mind during their trip, and Changi will quickly introduce new steps when needed as the world moves into a new normal for air travel.

The announced improvements demonstrate Changi’s continued leadership amongst airports globally in the fight against the spread of Covid-19 and their continued commitment to passenger health as well as a positive airport experience. Changi will work with other aviation partners globally in order to build a high sense of trust among travelers passing through Changi Airport when air travel ultimately resumes.

Video and images courtesy of Straights Times and Changi Airport

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