Checkpoint Not Chokepoint: achieving true transformation of the aviation ecosystem

Rising passenger expectations and the need for improved security effectiveness in the face of an evolving global threat create urgent demand for checkpoint transformation. This transformation is informed by data, streamlined through process, enabled through technology innovation, and driven by collaboration between airports, government agencies, and industry. Realising truly transformative checkpoint evolution relies on action and change at all points across the aviation ecosystem. Alex Mirkow and P.J. Rivera offer their perspective on a checkpoint transformation approach that can meet both security needs and customer demands through collaborative transformation across the aviation ecosystem.

Imagine a seamless, no-touch security screening process that enables you to quickly move through security, having time to enjoy all of the amenities that modern, global airports have to offer. You arrive at the airport via a car-share service that automatically sent your estimated arrival time to your airline (and shared flight updates with you during transit), and you quickly undergo biometric identity verification (you enrolled at home earlier in the week) after stepping foot into your terminal – no need to scramble for your boarding pass or wait in line to get your documents checked. You then use your smartphone to navigate to the checkpoint that’s not only closest to your gate, but also the one with no line. Then, rather than untie and remove shoes, jackets, and scarves, all while trying to navigate your carry-on luggage to the X-ray machine, you simply walk (at your own pace) through the first open passenger lane, placing your luggage through a parallel screening lane (no lifting required), all with plenty of time to spare. You then navigate to the nearest preferred passenger lounge (via your smartphone, of course!), relax before your flight, order your favourite snack and catch up with your emails, all before your smartphone notifies you that it’s time to board. You proceed to your gate, seamlessly passing through border check (since your information was sent when your biometrics were scanned upon entering into the screening process), and get ready for take-off.

True checkpoint transformation that enables this type of seamless, customised passenger screening experience requires attention to all facets of the aviation ecosystem – each and every piece of the aviation passenger journey. It cannot be achieved alone by simply focusing on one part of this journey; rather, checkpoint transformation is achieved through close collaboration between ecosystem stakeholders, including airports, airlines, and government and private sector innovators, and the integration of data, technology, and process components.

Airports embarking on a checkpoint transformation journey should balance their focus across the aviation ecosystem and carefully consider the evolving requirements of the passenger journey and checkpoint screening experience:
– Technology innovation that enables a seamless screening experience
– Improved resource allocation that focuses attention on the highest risk passengers
– Process optimisation that maximises screening efficiency and passenger satisfaction
– Data integration that informs and enables all points of the passenger journey

Achieving this type of transformation depends on coordination and partnership with a wide array of aviation stakeholders to enable a seamless screening process. It relies on thoughtful collection of data that allows greater understanding of who is travelling, and when.

It leverages innovations in technology, including the use of biometrics and facial recognition, behavioural detection technologies and methodologies, and advanced screening capabilities such as computed tomography (CT), millimetre wave, and variable screening algorithms. And, it is promoted by thoughtful design that creates agility, flexibility, and seamless flow throughout the airport.