Schiphol CLUB inks deal with SITA

03/02/14

The Amsterdam Schiphol CUTE Local User Board (CLUB), which represents the airport’s common-use technology users, has signed a new five-year contract for SITA’s AirportConnect Open passenger processing platform. According to SITA, this is deployed in a virtual environment, and helps provide an efficient journey for the airport’s 52 million passengers annually.

SITA says Schiphol has also become the first airport in Europe to future-proof its passenger processing platform by connecting it with NFC technology. Using NFC-enabled smartphones, passengers can pass through a special boarding gate at the airport with the tap of their phone. The gate automatically reads their boarding passes, even if their phones are turned off or out of battery. This same NFC equipment will also read the traditional two-dimensional boarding passes in use today.

“We’ve worked with SITA on many innovations to improve the passenger experience including common-use technology, self-service solutions and now NFC,” says Jan Bruns, chair of the Schiphol CUTE Local User Board. “As more smart phones incorporate NFC, more airlines will start asking for this technology. That’s why we have already equipped a gate with NFC and connected it to our common-use passenger processing system—and we’re inviting airlines to try it.”

In 2012, the company’s technology research team, SITA Lab, ran the world’s first live SIM-based NFC trial at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in France.

SITA says Schiphol’s NFC gate marks the first deployment of its proposed industry standard for NFC. In 2013, SITA introduced the Tap n’ Fly industry standard for NFC, which builds on the GSMA’s vision of seamless, secure and reliable SIM-based NFC worldwide. Tap n’ Fly combines a common-use applet to store passenger information and a standard boarding pass format to ensure interoperability, while also allowing airlines and airports some customisation. It is also backward compatible with existing bar-coded boarded passes.

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