New Security Systems for Weeze Aiport
The Short-Range Overview
The Weeze airport is anything but a travel lightweight in the region: it is reachable within one hour by no less than 10 million potential air travelers. The heart of the western Ruhr, the Rhineland and large parts of the Netherlands between Arnheim and Eindhoven all belong to its catchment area. Now this young airport has updated and improved its security measures, amongst other things with an invisible ‚turnstile‘ to control passengers in the arrivals area and an automated pass card control. The choice of the security managers in Weeze fell to systems from Nedap.
Originally the Tornados of the Royal Air Force stood in Weeze: the British maintained a military air base there in the 50s. After the British drew down, the region suffered under their absence and not least because they were important consumers in the region. A new usage concept with a future soon promised to blossom: out of the former military airport should grow a ‚euregional‘ center for air transport, logistics and industry. A Dutch investor group took over development of the Weeze Airport, and very successfully too. Shortly after the handover, a large hangar was converted into a passenger terminal, a new apron was established and the flight operations systems were renovated. The German ATC set up a tower, and almost exactly seven years ago on 1 May 2003 the new airport started scheduled flights.
Turnstile in the Arrivals Area
The distances here in Weeze are short. But exactly these short distances can make it difficult for security staff to keep abreast of the flow of visitors, and their numbers were impressive right from the start. A respectable 207,992 passengers already passed through in the first year and by 2009 this had risen to 2,403,073 travelers, spread over 24,016 different aircraft movements. Early on and after the experience of the first year a need was identified for a reliable ‚turnstile‘ system, as Claus Buschfeld, Head of Security at Weeze airport explains. „It must ensure that, in the arrivals area, passengers who have already been checked cannot go the wrong way and return to the secure airside area of the airport once they have been able to make contact with people who have not been checked."
„The turnstile is not visible for passengers and functions effectively like an electronic fence", says Kester Brands from Nedap.
It works together with cameras that are connected to the control room in the arrivals area of the airport. Automatic direction recognition detects every passenger that walks in the wrong direction. The result is an automatic visual and acoustic alarm so that the security staff can quickly intervene.
Special functions are also available, such as presenting an employee badge for authorized access from groundside without this illegal return protection system being activated. And if an authorized badge is presented twice, the employee can change the door opening and alarm times.
Automated Visual Pass Card Control
The illegal return protection system is integrated into the AEOS security management system from Nedap, which is particularly well suited to the administration of biometric access control methods. Additionally, using the AEOS photo event monitor allows easy visual check management: the crew and anyone else who wants to gain access to the apron and to the aircraft is automatically visually checked because their pass card picture is compared to a stored photograph of them. At the same time, the software checks their current access authority and whether the pass card is indeed still valid. If it will soon expire, the owner is informed at once so that they have a chance to renew it in time.
The decision for the new technology fell after a comprehensive viewing of various products that were being offered on the market, reports Claus Buschfeld. Nedap convinced him with their flexible availability. Very important also, however, was that with regard to the system settings he could freely choose the functionality he wanted. „With the old system, we could do virtually nothing. Somebody had to come out to us from the manufacturers for every change to the templates in the access control system, for every change in contacts or times. Now I can easily make all the adjustments myself."
This advantage has also been noticeable in the simplified administration of visitor registration: visitors are given day passes with special access rights, either by application in advance or just when they turn up at the entrance. The passes can be simply and intuitively made on the AEOS system by the security staff. Here it can also be seen when and how often a pass has already been made for a particular person so that they can also be refused entry if there are any security issues.
Using the Nedap system allows the organization of the integrity checks required by the Aviation Security Act to be well matched to the relevant data protection regulations: the law broadly states that workers at an airport are not allowed to access those parts of the airport that lie beyond the publicly accessible areas unless their integrity has been confirmed. This is however the job of the air security authorities to whom the airport sends its new employees and also the sub-contractors from other companies to be checked. At the Weeze airport this currently involves around 3,000 employees, including those of external companies.
For reasons of data protection the administration of this procedure - which is due every five years for every one of these employees - is not done with names but instead with numbers that are assigned to them. In this way, data protection is guaranteed during communication with the authorities; only those responsible on both sides can decode the numbers. AEOS solves this issue so that data can be sent electronically to the authorities - entry of data into the appropriate fields on the form is uncomplicated. This also includes invoicing: every integrity check costs money that can be charged to the external companies.
The head of security is evidently very enthusiastic, above all because of the freedom to implement new ideas: „An excellent system that leaves lots of options open. As users, we are independent from the programmers and therefore work more cost-efficiently". Claus Buschfeld also emphasizes the quality of service: „The customer does not have to adapt to the manufacturer - Nedap adapts to its customers."