Airport creates package of measures anticipating the travel season
New boarding card checks, new digital services, a new centrepiece: Over the last few months, Cologne Bonn Airport has engaged in extensive preparation for the start of the summer flight schedule, introducing numerous innovations to optimise processes in its terminals and provide passengers with a pleasant travel experience. These include new digital information desks in the terminals and additional automatic bag drop machines. By the main summer travel season, central boarding card control will be extended and provided with new e-gates and routes leading to passenger security. The new Airport Operations Control Center (AOCC) is also set to start up regular operations this week. To implement its extensive range of measures, the airport has invested a total of around 10 million euros.
“We have got a whole package of improvements up and running, increasing travel comfort for passengers and optimising the operational processes within the airport. These include, alongside the new digital services and conversions in the terminal, our new Airport Operations Control Center, which is now taking up live operations as planned,” says Thilo Schmid, Chairman of the Board of Flughafen Köln/Bonn GmbH.
Summer schedule starts: positive outlook for Easter
With the start of the summer schedule on 27 March, the airport is seeing passenger numbers rise once more. The first travel surge of the year is upon us. In three weeks, the Easter holidays will see up to 30,000 passengers a day take off or land at Cologne Bonn Airport. Overall, for both weeks of holiday, the airport is expecting 465,000 passengers – eight percent more than last year. The airport expects the positive trend to continue over the course of the year to come. Through the summer, 25 airlines will offer flights to 115 international destinations in 33 countries.
In the summer holidays, passenger numbers are set to rise above 2022 levels (to 80% of 2019). During some spikes, numbers are expected to exceed 2019. “We are glad people are once again feeling the travel itch, a positive development that we, together with all process partners and service providers working with us at the airport, have laid the best possible preparations for,” says Schmid.
A new control centre for overarching airport operations
Right on time before the start of the summer schedule, the new Airport Operations Control Center (AOCC) will assume live operations on 15 March. In the new control centre, built at a cost of 5 million euros in just a few months since last autumn, all central operational processes at the airport are brought together and controlled – 24/7. At the 24 work stations in the 500-square-metre AOCC, employees of the airport work side-by-side with service providers, authorities and partners. “The AOCC is the modern centrepiece of the airport. Collating all information and ensuring short decision-making paths guarantee that airport operations and processes are optimised and efficiently controlled – even, for example, during severe weather events,” Schmid says.
New boarding pass controls and toilet modernisation
In the terminal too, various innovations have been introduced. By summer, the central boarding card checks at the start of passenger screening in Terminal 1 will have been extended. To improve passenger flow and increase capacity, the number of “e-gates” is to be increased to four. In doing so, separate access will be created at the boarding pass checks for passengers and for users of the new service “CGNGateWay”, which allows the pre-booking of a fixed time slot for security checks. There are also access routes for people with limited mobility and a fast lane. In the area in front of security, a digital guidance system will be installed to automatically channel passenger streams. “With this new concept, we make getting to security checkpoints easier for passengers and ensure better distribution of passenger streams,” says Schmid. To improve quality of stay, opposite the boarding card checks, a new seating area and children’s corner have been set up. In addition, the toilets in Terminal 1 are to be rebuilt and renewed over the next few months.
Automatic bag drop and digital information desks
Also new are the 8 automatic bag drop machines allowing passengers of Eurowings to hand in their luggage fully independently. With the procurement of these additional self-bag-drop machines, the number of such devices in the airport has tripled to 12. Using them, passengers can check in and print their baggage labels. Even passengers who have already checked in online can use this service. At the same time, the number of baggage check-in desks has risen to six. The 3 digital information desks in the terminals are a further innovation. There, passengers with questions can start a video chat with the service staff at the airport.
Travel information for passengers
With good planning and preparation, passengers can ensure they get their journey off to a relaxing start. Here are some tips:
- Check in online.
- Find out from your airline about the time check-in opens and ensure you leave enough time.
- If you book with Eurowings, you can check in the evening before if you wish.
- Book a time slot for security checks under “CGNGateWay”.
- Only take one piece of hand baggage with you. The less you have, the faster you get through security.
- Liquids an creams (up to 100 ml per container) must be placed in a 1-litre plastic bag.
- Don’t put technological devices at the bottom of your bag – they need to be taken out at security.
- Check your passport is valid and that you have the right documents for travel.
You can find further tips for travellers at the airport homepage, www.koeln-bonn-airport.de/fluege/smart-fliegen.