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Icelandic airport uses Wi-Fi to improve services and efficiency

The swiftly expanding Keflavik Airport in Reykjavík is using a combination of sensors and Wi-Fi to monitor passenger movement and improve airport efficiency

Keflavik Airport in Reykjavík is using sensors that connect wirelessly to mobile phones to track passenger movements in the airport. It aims to use the technology to improve customer experience and deploy resources more usefully.

The airport more than doubled its passenger numbers between 2010 and 2015 to 5 million – and expects 6.7 million passengers in 2016. It said management needs to better understand traveller behaviour.

The system will give passengers waiting times and airport resource planners will get real-time data. 

The airport is using BlipTrack from Denmark-based Blip Systems, which was design and implemented by Lockheed Martin. BlipTrack – which measures passenger movement through terminals in real-time – is used at 25 airports globally.

The sensors only register each device’s unique ID and do not pick up any sensitive personal information.

The airport uses the data to monitor security line congestion, which helps it respond quickly to disruptions to ensure passengers pass through efficiently.

“We use the data to see when levels of service are breached and to find the reasons. This has helped us identify the problems we had with our work shifts starting a bit too late,” said Guðmundur Gautason, project manager of operation research at Keflavik Airport.

He said that, before the system was installed, planners did not have the information they needed at hand. “Now we are able to make more informed decisions in security.”

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The data is also used to provide minute-by-minute live forecasts of waiting times.

Hanna M. Hermannsdóttir, a specialist in operation research at Keflavik Airport, said the technology could in the future be used at border control lines. “This will allow our passengers to be more at ease and enjoy our retail and restaurant area for longer periods of time, instead of rushing to the gate long before scheduled."

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