IMS EMEA Newsletter Issue 2 - March 2010


Manchester Trial Pursues Print Savings


Vol2-3by Brendan Gallagher

ARINC and UK airport operator Manchester Airports Group are carrying out a trial that could lead to significant reductions in the cost of printing baggage tags and boarding passes.

“One of the advantages of our vMUSE common-use passenger processing system is its ability to work with commercial off-the-shelf printers as well as the more costly specialist devices to produce boarding passes and baggage tags,” says Sean Littlewood, ARINC site manager at the airport.

The trial is designed to assess the robustness, reliability and other characteristics of the printers in the airport environment. It started in November and is due to finish next month. The printers, from well known suppliers like Citizen, Epson and Fujitsu, are being installed in turn at three check-in desks and two gates for flights operated by British leisure carriers ThomsonFly and Monarch.

“We're using the new devices on the desks and corresponding equipment at each gate,” says Littlewood. “A total of seven different printers are being evaluated. We are also trialling new models of boarding gate reader (BGR), which produce a small receipt detailing name, flight number and seat for the passenger to carry on to the aircraft.”

As well as checking the ability of the printers to perform reliably and withstand the physical rigours of life at a busy airport, the trial team is assessing them on criteria such as unit cost, length of service life, cost of consumables per print-out, print quality and barcode readability, and ease of installation, set-up and use.

Littlewood expects the trial to provide a wealth of information that will contribute to ARINC's efforts to minimise the cost of solutions for its airport customers. “In the first instance it will give us a clearer understanding of how off-the-shelf printers perform in the airport environment, what airline staff think of them, and whether the new style of boarding pass is favourably received by passengers,” he says. “Then we'll make use of that knowledge to help us in future proposals when the customer is looking for a lower-cost solution.”



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