Australia to replace passports with facial recognition and fingerprints
In a bid to reach 90 percent automation of air traveller processing by 2020, the Australian government will start moving towards a contactless system for arrivals this year as part of the Seamless Traveller initiative announced in 2015.
Incoming passenger cards, paper passports and manned stations will be replaced by electronic stations and biometric recognition of passengers’ faces, irises and/or fingerprints.
It is understood SmartGates will become redundant.
Fairfax reported that Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection would look to trial the technology in July at Canberra Airport. The rollout is scheduled to be completed by March 2019.
For a full overview, see https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/jan/22/facial-recognition-to-replace-passports-in-security-overhaul-at-australian-airports
Flight costs from UK/Ireland to USA slashed
Dublin is to become a US gateway airport for Norwegian Air as it announces a series of new transatlantic flights from five cities in the UK and Ireland, offering passengers low-cost travel to the USA from just £69/€69 (about NZ$120) one way.
Norwegian will launch 10 new routes with 38 new weekly transatlantic flights this northern summer from Edinburgh, Belfast, Cork, Shannon and Dublin. The flights will focus on smaller US airports offering access into the New York, Boston and New England areas but carrying significantly lower landing charges, allowing Norwegian to pass on the savings to passengers.
For the full story, see https://www.btnews.co.uk/article/11427
Drone makes successful UPS delivery
While debate around the regulation of drone use in New Zealand continues, United Parcel Service (UPS) has conducted a successful test delivery of a package using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone.
The UAV, manufactured by Ohio-based Workhorse Group, delivered a package in the residential area of Tampa, Florida (US) and then returned to the truck, which had continued on its way to another delivery. UPS said the test was successful.
Workhorse Group built the drone and the electric UPS package car used in the test.
It’s wonderful to see this technology applied in such a practical way,” said Stephen Burns, Workhorse founder and CEO. “The drone is fully autonomous. It doesn’t require a pilot. So the delivery driver is free to make other deliveries while the drone is away.”
Last year, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued small unmanned aircraft systems rules that allow for some commercial use of drones and paved the way for future expanded applications. UPS was one of 35 selected from a cross section of key stakeholders to serve on the FAA’s drone advisory committee. The committee will provide the FAA recommendations on key drone integration issues that will ultimately allow for safe and secure operations of drones within the National Air Space System.
This test is different than anything we’ve done with drones so far. It has implications for future deliveries, especially in rural locations where our package cars often have to travel kilometres to make a single delivery,” said Mark Wallace, Senior Vice President of Global Engineering and Sustainability for UPS.
For more details, see https://www.pressroom.ups.com/pressroom/ContentDetailsViewer.page?ConceptType=PressReleases&id=1487696215515-866
Qantas to fly non-stop Perth to London
Qantas has confirmed it will operate non-stop flights from Perth to London using the 787-9 Dreamliner, beginning in March 2018.
The 14,498 kilometre service will be the first regular passenger service to directly link Australia with Europe.
As also mentioned in this issue, in February, Qatar Airways completed its 16-hour, 30-minute non-stop flight from Doha to Auckland. The Perth to London route is understood to take 17 hours to complete.
For more details, see http://www.qantasnewsroom.com.au/media-releases/qantas-to-fly-non-stop-perth-to-london/
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