"With NFC technology, the mobile phone simplifies the passage of the flyer through the airport," says the CEO of the first airport in the world to pilot the use of NFC phones to improve the airline passenger experience.
France's Toulouse-Blagnac Airport is to be the first in the world to enable passengers to pass through the airport's checks, controls and gates using only an NFC mobile phone.
Fifty airport users are to test the new service this summer, using BlackBerry NFC phones equipped with an Orange NFC SIM. Air transport IT specialist Sita, which recently unveiled an NFC airport concept at its offices in Geneva, has also partnered with the airport, phone maker and mobile network operator for the project.
"The phone will effectively become the passengers' pass allowing them access to car parking, the boarding area via a premium access zone and to a premium passenger lounge," says Sita. "At the same time, passengers will receive up to the minute information such as changes to their flight times, departure hall or boarding gate."
Arriving at Toulouse-Blagnac airport, the passengers' NFC mobile phones will act as their security pass for a dedicated high priority path through the airport. Passengers taking part in the trial will be able to access the P1 car park using their smartphone, which will hold details on the parking lot in the memory. They will then be able to gain access to the departures hall via a premium access zone and use their phone to access the "La Croix du Sud" private lounge.
"With NFC technology, the mobile phone simplifies the passage of the flyer through the airport," explains Jean-Michel Vernhes, CEO of Toulouse-Blagnac Airport. "The mobile phone now becomes a personalised tool, displaying the required information at the right moment; it also enables the flyer to better manage his time, optimizing his choices. For Toulouse-Blagnac airport, the approach is to give flyers access to leading-edge technologies that enhance and facilitate the passenger experience at the airport, in providing new premium services."
"Overall, a passenger using an NFC-enabled device can be processed faster than any of the boarding processes available today," says Sita Lab director Renaud Irminger. "Using the GSMA SIM-based NFC technology during the passenger journey provides many benefits over current technology: it is extremely secure; will work when the device is powered off; does not require the passenger to launch an app or retrieve an SMS or an email; and is not affected by reading problems caused by dirty screens."