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NEWS Last modified on July 20, 2011

Helsinki Airport uses Bluetooth to speed up security queues

Helsinki–Vantaa Airport has launched a new system to track how long it takes passengers to get through security in an effort to speed up queuing times at checkpoints.

Helsinki–Vantaa Airport has launched a new system to track how long it takes passengers to get through security in an effort to speed up queuing times at checkpoints.


By using the Bluetooth signal on passengers’ mobile devices, a system of sensors is able to work out how long it has taken for a passenger to queue and then pass through the security check.


The system is then able to calculate the average queuing time, which is then fed back to a display monitor.


Passengers are able to keep track of the security control queuing times on the monitors and then decide whether it would be better and faster to move to an alternative checkpoint.


Bluetooth is activated on mobile devices for using things such as headsets. The airport has been encouraging passengers to keep this function on so that the sensors can gather enough data to display an accurate average queuing time.


Pirjo Lähteelä, head of passengers and airlines at airport operator Finavia, said:


“The method is currently in the testing phase, but by the end of next month, passengers will be able to see the average queuing times on security control monitors.”


According to Lähteelä, the method both provides data for developing security control and improves customer service at Helsinki Airport.


He said: “Presenting queuing times is part of a project, in which Finavia is working to improve the smoothness and customer service of its security control operations.  


“Last spring, queuing times were significantly reduced by restructuring queue management.”


According to the airport, the privacy of passengers using Bluetooth is fully protected.


The sensors only show the Bluetooth address assigned to the device by its manufacturer and they cannot identify the passenger's telephone number or the name given to their Bluetooth device.


Similar tracking methods are already in place at Copenhagen, Oslo and London Heathrow airports.

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