Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, making travelling more efficient

Currently celebrating its 100th anniversary, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol shows no sign of slowing down. The airport was recently voted (Dutch link) “Best European Airport 2016” by British business travellers, and it won the 2014 Airports Going Green award for its sustainability efforts. It has also just been named the second-largest hub airport in the world, according to figures from Airport Council International (ACI).

Now the airport’s newest ambition is to become the world's best digital airport as well. As Schiphol’s digital lead, Christa Bakker, recently explained (Dutch link), Schiphol is committed to achieving this title by 2018. “It's very busy at the airport,” she said, “so we have to make many processes more efficient.” Even before reaching the airport, passengers need to overcome a number of logistical hurdles, such as dealing with traffic jams, choosing between hand baggage and checked baggage, and finding out about possible strikes or weather conditions that may lead to cancelled flights. Many of these hurdles, Bakker says, can be made easier with the Schiphol app, which is combining more and more of this information in one convenient location.

New tech to reduce waiting times  

Wayfinding in the Schiphol app is another crucial element of the seamless passenger journey. “We want to help the passenger find his way to the gate as quickly as possible,” said Schiphol’s CIO Albert van Veen. Schiphol’s wayfinding app uses data from around 2,000 beacons located throughout the airport, to enable precise location monitoring. These beacons help passengers find the fastest route to the gate and will enable a smoother experience at the security checkpoint.

Schiphol is also using this beacon data to predict and monitor the queues at security, so that the app can inform passengers in advance if waiting times are longer than average. At the same time, the airport is experimenting with facial recognition technology that will remove the need for passengers to present their passports and boarding passes at multiple stages of the airport journey.