Home' Australian Aviation Magazine : January February 2010 Contents 35
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2010 AUSTRALIAN AVIATION
are provisioning for long term growth, both
in the airline and in the number of ways we
serve our customers," he added.
However, the announcement by Joyce
was greeted with suspicion from the Aus-
tralian Services Union, which represents
Qantas's customer service staff. " e pro-
posal has potential wide ranging effects on
jobs, work, occupational health and safety
and earnings; not to mention how this is
actually going to make check-in faster!"
e union wrote in a bulletin to members
issued on November 12.
Ironically, the day after the announce-
ment when Qantas executives met with
ASU officials to talk further about the
proposal, Qantas's global check-in system
crashed, forcing staff to manually check-in
passengers, which the union says exposes a
potential weakness in the airline's plans to
use more electronic systems.
However, Grant notes that the airline
plans to put the system through its paces
before it is rolled out, with a thorough
evaluation based on a number of criteria to
take place beforehand.
Still, the pace of the upgrade is moving
fast, with the first implementation set to
roll out in Perth Airport from mid year,
where Qantas has also been involved in a
major upgrade to its busy and constrained
terminal. "It is expected the initial develop-
ment of technology and implementation
for the first port, Perth, will cost approxi-
mately $40 million," said Grant.
Following this, the upgrade will then
be rolled out at Sydney towards the end
of the year and Melbourne in early 2011.
Adelaide, Brisbane and Canberra are also
expected to follow in 2011. Qantas has not
yet identified if it will add it to other ports
in the network.
While it hasn't been implemented yet,
Qantas says that it has already received
a positive response to the concept. " e
response from customers, in our market
research, to this major innovation has been
overwhelmingly positive," said Grant.
With Qantas facing more competition,
particularly from Virgin Blue's push into
the business market, the airline notes that
it is aimed at premium travellers who are
time constrained. " e changes will provide
new added services for our Frequent Flyers,
particularly business travellers who are time
poor and looking for ease and efficiency
when they fly," said Grant.
Joyce also told reporters at the luncheon
that the airline is examining other ways to
cut down wasted time at the airport. "Af-
ter your flight, there is still another clear
point of pain, which is baggage collection.
We are working on a separate project
to improve that process too, cutting the
timelag from disembarkation to baggage
pick up and speeding you on your way
faster than ever."
Similarly, Qantas is also targeting
improvements in security screening, which
has been a major bottleneck at a number of
airports around the country. "We all know
security is vital and none of us will tolerate
any compromise here. So as part of the
project we are developing new technologies
and associated processes to speed up the
security process without compromising our
rigorous security protocols," said Joyce.
As the airline works to reduce wasted time
for passengers and make their journey easier,
the concept appears to also have operational
benefits. In particular, it appears that as
check-in will be more efficient more pas-
sengers will be able to be processed and board
their flights quicker. Ultimately, this could
allow for greater passenger and aircraft move-
ments through the terminals, allowing the
airline to use the terminals more efficiently.
Similarly, other airlines have built the
case for investing in web check-in and ki-
osks to gain such efficiencies to build their
capacity. is will be particularly important
at airports where there are limits to the
physical expansion of the terminal.
In any case, Joyce says that the changes
are major, and are reflective of a Qan-
tas which embraces the future. "We are
pushing the boundaries here and we will
obviously be working in close concert with
various regulatory and other authorities
and partners in the aviation industry. But
we are not afraid to step into the future
and I've asked our people to work to an
However, with similar systems in use by
other carriers, such as Air New Zealand,
it appears that it will be down to Qan-
tas to make sure that the rollout of the
Airport of the Future goes as smoothly
as possible, other wise it risks tarnishing
the premium image it is trying to gain
through the exercise.
SMART BAGS Frequent flyers will have RFID bag tags, and be able to place their checked baggage on a belt
where an RFID interrogator will read the information and direct the bag accordingly. (Qantas)
SMOOTHER PASSAGE? Frequent flyers with cards fitted with smart chips will use dedicated readers around
the terminal concourse to check-in, while casual flyers will use check-in kiosks. (Qantas)
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