Stuttgart Airport chooses Access in a drive for efficiency and reliability following trials

The Challenge

Stuttgart Airport has recently undergone a major refurbishment, including refreshing all hardware at check-in desks and boarding gates. Effective and efficient management of passengers is always a prime consideration when installing new equipment and the airport operator was equally concerned to reduce operational costs by minimising maintenance call-outs. There was also a requirement to ensure compliance with Common Use Terminal Equipment (CUTE) standards throughout the airport.

New IT peripherals, including keyboards and boarding gate readers (BGRs), were needed. The challenge was to identify products that would improve the experience of passengers by being easier and quicker for agents to use. The airport was keen to establish alternative products to help reduce operational costs.

 

In the case of boarding gate readers, there was one further factor to consider. The new airport is much brighter than the old building and has been designed to bring in as much natural light as possible. This produces a much more pleasing environment for passengers and those that work there but bright light presents challenges for the optical scanners in boarding gate readers. In addition, the increased use of PDAs and mobile phones to carry barcodes for check-in, demands a new level of performance from boarding gate readers to ensure reliable, first-time reading of the data. The use of boarding passes on mobile devices is growing in popularity, with some 10-15% of Lufthansa passengers already using this technology.

The Solution

Before making a decision on which products to recommend, the airport’s preferred systems integration partner, SITA, undertook a series of tests to evaluate BGRs and keyboards used at check-in and boarding gates. SITA set up two test counters to compare the performance of products from Access IS and from a competing company. The Access boarding gate reader was the BGR120S model and the keyboards were from its ATB423 family.

The desks were operated for two weeks then every agent that used the equipment was surveyed to establish their experience of the systems. There was a clear preference for the Access products. The “face-up” bar code readers proved to be much faster than the traditional “face-down” scanners. They were also unaffected by the increased ambient light levels because of the inherent enclosure design shielding the scanning engine. Furthermore, agents could easily see how to position the bar code accurately, whether it was printed on paper, on a conventional boarding card or presented as a bar code on a mobile phone or PDA.

Access’ BGR120S boarding gate reader offered two further advantages. Firstly, it could be used with existing receipt printers, so there was no need to replace equipment that was still functioning well. Secondly, the bright red and green indicators on top of the reader, and the integrated sounder, made it very easy for agents to see when a successful scan had been achieved.

The Outcome

With it’s advanced bar code reading technology and face-up reading design, the Access equipment demonstrated its ability to significantly reduced the passenger processing time when compared with last generation BGRs and other devices on trial. When aggregated over an agent boarding a full flight, the saving can run into minutes.

Susanne Hermann, Stuttgart Airport’s manager traffic operations, comments: “SITA’s thorough evaluation of different products made this decision a relatively easy one – there was a very clear preference for the Access BGRs and keyboards based on their real-world performance. They are very fast, easy to use and read bar codes reliably from mobile phone screens or paper boarding passes. Feedback from the airlines and from agents was very positive.”

85 Access boarding gate readers and 238 keyboards were installed as part of the refurbishment project.

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For More Information

For more information on our range of keyboards and boarding gate readers go to:
www.access-is.com/airports

For more information on the benefits of face-up bar coded boarding passes go to:
www.access-is.com/face-up

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