Airport Safety & Security: Investment In Efficiency
With almost 9.8 million passengers traveling through its terminal in 2013, Edinburgh Airport is Scotland's busiest airport. More than 40 airlines serve over 100 destinations and the airport has continued to see record-breaking customer numbers in 2014. The fifth largest in the UK in terms of passenger figures, Edinburgh Airport is currently going through a period of rapid expansion.
Plans were announced in late 2013 for a new £25m terminal extension to be created at Edinburgh Airport which would house a state-of-theart security hall, airline offices and retail units. In order to accommodate the ever-increasing number of people, airlines and aircraft, the security team have been at the forefront of a major project to design and create a completely new security concept that will improve the journey for passengers and the working environment for employees. Part of a wider strategy for growth and to enhance efficiency and service, Edinburgh Airport is investing in new intelligent technology solutions to streamline airport operations. Extensive investment has been made in technology, with a new X-ray configuration that has the capability of processing in excess of 800 images per hour. Passengers will be able to benefit from faster flow, which will see waiting times significantly reduced.
Julie Matthews, Head of Security, explains: „We've been seeing significant passenger and airline growth for over a year and have recently recorded our busiest month on record. While growth like this is fantastic, it also presents a number of challenges, specifically how we as an airport with limited room to physically expand can accommodate ever-increasing numbers of passengers while continuing to provide the good customer service." The new security hall will provide a completely new facility for passengers. It's one and a half times bigger than the current hall with a double height ceiling and sky-lights to fill it with natural light. Passengers will benefit from a quicker, more efficient security check with longer lanes, bigger trays and more spacious re-packing areas. Dedicated Fast Tpeterprack lanes have also been created, with a link bridge connecting a designated parking zone in the multi-storey car park directly to the new security hall.
The design has been incredibly important and has resulted from consulting with Security Officers on simple but crucial features to make their roles easier. Julie explains; „From the beginning of the project, we've been very clear about having all of our Security Officers involved. From the design and layout of the new space to the way equipment is installed, we engaged our team throughout the entire decisionmaking process."
„We even commissioned a light study to identify the best places for the sky lights in the roof. We've also completely removed all pillars from the hall which can take up valuable space and cause obstruction to passenger flow." Having seconded two members of her team to focus exclusively on delivering the new security service, Julie has been working closely with over 250 members of the security team to roll-out a comprehensive familiarization project, making sure every member is comfortable with the changes.
Go With the Flow
Central to the ethos has been the use of intelligent technology to streamline the entire security facility. New body scanners were introduced earlier this year to help accelerate staff and passenger familiarization Created by L-3 Security and Detection Systems, these scanners will speed up the entire security process for passengers. Six Smart Lanes have been installed by Mac- Donald Humfrey, each with a Parallel Divest feature, which allows up to seven passengers per lane to simultaneously load their carry-on items into trays ready for screening. The lanes are connected to a Matrix Smartview System which links into a remote screening area. Trays that have passed security screening are then presented back to the passenger to allow them to redress. Rejected trays are separated for further screening by a Security Officer at one of sixteen search stations. A tray-return system has also been installed to ensure empty trays are returned to incoming passengers faster and more efficiently.
Speed and efficiency are crucial to any airport security facility and Edinburgh has implemented these solutions to increase throughput and minimize waiting times. Following the introduction of facial-recognition technology in 2013, the airport installed a passenger monitoring tool from UK-based Crowd Vision, which provides real-time data on crowd numbers, density and flow. The company has developed an innovative analytical capability to measure the throughput and utilization of airport security. Live dashboards will produce immediate feedback to staff on how well they are directing passengers through the process and avoiding congestion. Data collected over time will measure performance and aid planning and continuous improvement to understand effectiveness and allow for further improvement. „It's crucial that we constantly monitor passenger flow so that we can have the right number of lanes open and officers on duty. Having previously worked with London City Airport, Crowd Vision were recommended to us. Their technology means we can monitor the entire security area, with particular focus on eliminating crowding and maximizing the space we've created, which we didn't have previously", Julie explains.
The fundamental benefit of using real-time data means the security team can immediately identify any areas of congestion. The ability to understand crowds in real-time differs from other video- analysis solutions as it allows the monitoring of crowd characteristics over extended periods
of time. This, in turn, helps managers plan rosters and deploy resources to crowded locations to maintain sufficient throughput. The airport is now at the point where it is carrying out rigorous testing of the new facility, and this in itself can provide challenges to staff on the ground. Julie said: „To test our new equipment, we've been processing small groups of passengers through the new search area over the last two months. It's crucial that we use passengers as this presents staff with an environment which is as realistic as possible. We're also able to act on feedback quickly and to make any necessary changes to the process. This part of the project has been a challenge as, in order to maintain our daily airport operations, we've had to operate both current and new security search areas at the same time."
As more passengers than ever before travel through its terminal and with a 6,000m² extension nearing completion, Edinburgh Airport recently upgraded its entire analogue security surveillance system to an IP solution. Working together with Indigo Vision, the airport has gradually upgraded its entire surveillance system - both internal CCTV and external perimeter detection system - by installing 300 HD cameras across the site. Siemens acted as installers of the airport-wide surveillance upgrade. The objective was not only to improve airport site protection but also enhance procedures and efficiencies. Greater situational awareness has been provided across the airport terminal and airfield as a result of this IP upgrade. The installation of the HD cameras provides greater coverage of passenger flow. Through the security management platform, surveillance systems between the terminal, car rental facilities and car parks are now linked where they were previously standalone. Further protection is provided by Acoustic Fence Detection across the 16km of airfield perimeter fencing. This is supported by thermal imaging cameras that provide advance notice of any potential intrusion across designated alarm zones. The new 2,350m² security hall will also be monitored by 49 cameras, ensuring 100% coverage. Julie said: „We adopted a consultative approach with Siemens to establish individual requirements for particular areas of the airport that have different surveillance needs. One of the key challenges was to ensure a smooth transition from existing technology to the new, and to achieve this Siemens created a detailed asset migration plan." This enabled the security operation at Edinburgh Airport to continue largely unaffected. Edinburgh Airport's new terminal extension and security facility will open later this year.