A one-hour live Twitter Q&A with Michael Ibbitson, Chief Information Officer at London Gatwick Airport will take place at 12 noon today and will be your chance to quiz the man who has led Gatwick into a new technological era.
The airport is currently undergoing a £1.2 billion transformation and Michael has been at the forefront of projects that have revolutionised the way passengers use the airport and the speed at which they can travel.
A passenger using innovative technology such as iris recognition is a real possibility within the next two years following the world’s first successful trial at the airport. The initiative has the potential to cut the journey time between check-in to boarding the aircraft in half.
The new system trialled earlier in the year entails a passenger having a photograph taken of their iris when they check in luggage which is linked to the boarding pass. Anyone travelling with only hand luggage is photographed as they go through security.
This information is stored and means the passenger’s identity is verified by the image of their iris as they pass through the airport. At the boarding gate alone, this was found to save at least 15 seconds a person, saving potentially 15-20 minutes for loading an aircraft.
Another key benefit for passengers has been the launch of the self-service bag drop which allows travellers already checked in and flying with selected airlines to drop their bags without having to go to a check-in desk.
This allows you to drop your bag hours before your flight, freeing up time if you have a hotel booked. The process, which takes under a minute to complete, allows the passenger complete freedom over tagging and dropping their own luggage before heading onto their flight.
And hot on the heels of these advancements, comes one of the largest indoor Google Streetview implementations in the world. This has huge benefits to the passenger as it allows you to explore both terminals – landside and airside – before you even arrive.
This innovation allows for the passenger journey to be smoother and quicker, whether you are looking for the children’s play area, a restaurant or you are a business traveller looking for your lounge.
These are but a few of the technological changes going on at Gatwick, with ‘info tablets’ now available in the South Terminal International Departure Lounge and a brand new redesigned and responsive website that contains features such as ‘pin my flight’.
The one-hour live Twitter Q&A will be held from 12pm today, Wednesday 23 October, and a full transcript of the Q&A session will be taken and be available to share shortly after the live session.