Airport’s Scottish first for self-service drops

Passengers are no longer limited to a two-hour check-in period with the new bag-drops. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Passengers are no longer limited to a two-hour check-in period with the new bag-drops. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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EDINBURGH Airport will become the first in Scotland to offer passengers the chance to check in their bags at any time before they catch their flight as part of a drive to cut waiting times.

Terminal bosses introduced new counters yesterday that allow Flybe and EasyJet customers to check in unassisted.

The system, created by Phase5 technology, is expected to make a big difference in cutting queues and could be the forerunner to Edinburgh becoming an “on arrival” airport.

It means that passengers could load luggage at any time ahead of their flight rather than being limited to the twohours before take-off.

The news comes days after Edinburgh Airport unveiled new state-of-the-art body scanners as part of a five-year £150 million investment programme.

The scanners were the first major pieces of equipment to be installed in the terminal ahead of the new airport extension, which will open later this year.

Michael Crosby, change leader at Edinburgh Airport, said the switch to technology-led check-ins would not undermine security and all bags would continue to undergo “100 per cent” X-ray screening.

He said: “The strategic objective from the bag-drop strategy is to offer choice and speed.

“It’s something the airport will drive for and there will be a small element of it this summer but long term this will be an exercise to show that it works and next summer we will do that with all airlines so Edinburgh Airport will become an on-arrival check-in airport.”

Mr Crosby said the airport was “no longer confined by BAA ownership” since the £807 million sale to Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), which owns Gatwick Airport, and was now free to choose the technology which “best matches our strategic objectives and is centred around passenger commitments”.

Laurie Price, head of aviation strategy at Mott McDonald Consultants, said airport technology could enhance passenger experience.

He said: “As long as you have the facility and with computer technology these days, why not?

“Anything that improves the lot of the passenger has got to be good. At the moment an awful lot of it is at the convenience of the airport or airline when actually what they are in business for is 
passengers.

“It would be helpful rather than acting as a retail outlet and trying to maximise the consumer spend.

“GIP has done quite a lot of innovation at Gatwick and is maybe trialling it at Edinburgh first because it’s smaller and easier to manage before they roll it out at Gatwick. Let’s hope so.”