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‘We’re taking care of the IT aspects in the redevelopment of Departures & Lounge 1.’ In just a single sentence, project manager Perry van Kan sums up two year’s work. Together with his colleagues, he is responsible for the new IT and security equipment in the refurbished Departure Hall. ‘Not a day goes by without developments.’
The project to redevelop Departure Hall 1 and Lounge 1 began in early 2018 to make room for more passengers and increase security capacity. It calls for a large-scale reconstruction, including a new mezzanine floor in the departure hall to accommodate the new security filter. ‘When all of that has been done, it will be our turn’, explains project manager Perry. It takes a lot of technology to get a departure hall up and running – and make sure it stays that way. This includes the security lanes for checking hand luggage and the security scanner that passengers must pass through. Then, of course, there are desks, screens, cameras and much more.’
Not a day goes by without developments in Departure Hall 1. ‘Recently, our main focus in IT has been making room for the rebuilding work, explains Perry. ‘For example, we’ve been moving screens and other equipment. But since the departure hall remains in use during refurbishment, we are continually looking for solutions to avoid causing operational problems.’ He gives an example. ‘Last month, a pole with screens on it had to be moved to enable the construction of the mezzanine floor. But the screens are still needed to keep passengers informed, so we ended up shortening the pole to keep things operational.’
Although quite a few jobs have already been done, the real IT work still lies ahead for Perry and his colleagues. ‘All in all, there are around 35 of us working on the technical update of Departure Hall & Lounge 1’, he says. ‘In the years ahead, Schiphol is committed to offering passengers a seamless flow.’ He explains: ‘That means ensuring that passengers pass through the entire travel process as quickly and conveniently as possible and can start their flights feeling relaxed. We’re providing the right IT solutions to support that.’
The factory that is building the new security lanes is located in Ouwe-Tonge in Zuid-Holland. Perry: ‘In the past, your hand luggage was x-rayed by being placed in a box that was checked via a screen. The new lanes will have CT scans, a bigger and smarter version of the equipment we used to have. Thanks to at least three generators, passengers will soon no longer need to remove laptops, phones and liquids from their bags. They can stay where they are, but still undergo the same rigorous check.’ When Perry says bigger, he is not exaggerating – the new CT scanners take up twice as much space and weigh in at 2,000 kg. That is 700 kg more than the old x-ray scanners.
The new equipment will not only bring benefits for passengers, but also for airport staff. ‘For example, the new security lanes will be fitted with a container return system’, explains Perry. ‘This will prevent the need for staff to go backwards and forwards with baskets. At the end of the conveyor belt, the containers drop down and come back up again at the front of the security lane.’ ‘Just like the balls in a bowling alley,’ he says.
BEtween now and 2020, a total of 22 security lanes will be installed on the new mezzanine floor. ‘The aim of everything we are devising and installing is to ensure that people will spend as short a time as possible in the security filter. This smooths their way as quickly as possible towards the Departure Lounge, which will soon offer even more space for eating, drinking and relaxation.’