Industry News 14.11.22


Abu Dhabi Airports introduces facial recognition technology
Abu Dhabi Airports has launched advanced biometrics which uses a passenger’s facial features to validate their identity, and thereby reduce the time they spend undergoing multiple passport and boarding pass checks before boarding their flight.  Smart cameras capture a passenger’s face and confirms whether they are cleared to travel. The same information is then used prior to boarding, avoiding the need for them to present their documents again.

The technology will be implemented in phases, and the first phase is currently being tested at the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facility in Abu Dhabi International Airport, the only US immigration preclearance service in the region that allows passengers to clear US immigration while they are still in Abu Dhabi.

New Indian Visa Application Centre in London to deal with backlog
A new Indian Visa Application Centre has been opened in London to deal with the catastrophic backlog in visa applications for India.  Recent sudden changes to the ability of tourists to obtain visas through third party agents meant that applications had to be made in person at India Visa Application Centres (IVACs). Since there were insufficient appointments, tens of thousands had to cancel or postpone their trips to India.

The new centre in Boston Place, Marylebone is being run by VFS Global and has opened the India Visa Application Centre (IVAC) for the Indian High Commission.

Heathrow flight departure boards installed at Canary Wharf
Flight departure boards for Heathrow are being installed at Canary Wharf Elizabeth Line station, marking the launch of the direct connection to the airport.  As of 6 November, passengers can travel from Canary Wharf direct to Heathrow airport in 45 minutes.  The boards set up at Canary Wharf include real-time information from the airport terminals.

Heathrow workers to strike during FIFA World Cup
Unite has announced that workers at Heathrow airport will go on strike during the FIFA World Cup due to a pay dispute.  The strike action involves 700 workers employed by Dnata and Menzies and is set to begin in the early hours of 18 November and last three days, ending in the early hours of 21 November.

The union says that this will particularly affect Qatar Airways, which has scheduled an additional ten flights a week during its hosting of the World Cup, which begins on 20 November.  Aside from Qatar Airways, the strike action is likely to heavily hit airlines such as Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and Emirates, as well as passengers returning to the US for the Thanksgiving holiday.  The strike action will cause “disruption, cancellations and delays” at Heathrow terminals 2, 3 and 4, according to Unite.

Travel news as a glance:

  • Air Canada launches first non-stop London-Mumbai flights on 7 Nov
  • Air France opens Clarins Spa at New York JFK lounge
  • Emirates launches codeshare with Bahrain’s Gulf Air
  • United opens grab-and-go ‘Club Fly’ lounge at Denver airport
  • The Peninsula Istanbul to open in February
  • Iberia will move into JFK Terminal 8
  • Emirates increases Newcastle service to daily
  • Cvent partners with Zoom for hybrid events solution
  • Airline traffic continues ‘strong’ recovery despite China restrictions
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