SINGAPORE: Passengers at Changi Airport will soon be able to board their flights faster, with the introduction of self-boarding gates.
The Changi Airport Group (CAG) has been conducting trials of the self-boarding gates at a common gatehold room in Terminal 2 since May.
The trials are being done with German airlines Lufthansa.
With the new gates, passengers only need to scan their boarding passes using barcode readers before they proceed to board their flights.
However, ground staff will still be available to provide assistance to those who may need it.
CAG said the time taken for passengers to board their planes can be reduced by up to 50 per cent.
For example, boarding for a fully-loaded A380 aircraft with a passenger load of 500 can be completed in 15 minutes, from about 30 minutes previously.
The faster boarding time has also reduced gatehold room operations from 80 minutes to about 70 minutes.
These operations also include the required security checks at the gates.
Lufthansa said the time saved in boarding operations has ensured on-time departure of its aircraft.
The self-boarding gates are just one component of a fast and seamless travel (FAST) initiative which CAG will be rolling out across terminals at the airport.
From April 2014, the gates will be progressively introduced in common gatehold rooms in all three terminals.
CAG is also in discussions with various airlines, including Singapore Airlines, to participate in the initiative.
More self-service facilities like self check-ins and self bag drops will also be implemented soon.
These facilities will be a feature in the new T4 when it opens in 2017.
Albert Lim, vice president for Terminal & Ground Operations at CAG, said: "CAG will be working very closely with our airline partners to progressively roll out these FAST self-service initiatives across terminals in Changi Airport. This will also lay the building blocks for us when T4 opens in 2017."
Passengers welcome the improvements.
Margaret Neill said: "Everybody wants just to get settled onto the plane and strapped and off you go. So, if it speeds it up, well and good."
Another passenger, Ghislain Derdeyn, said: "Each time we travel from Singapore to home again, it has changed here (the airport) and this will be an improvement I think." - CNA/gn
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