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Air France passengers in Toulouse experience a seamless journey with NFC-based smartphones

Air France, Orange, SITA, Toulouse-Blagnac Airport and RESA have joined forces to provide the first seamless boarding experience in Europe with Near Field Communications (NFC) technology. Over the next six months, the Touch&Pass app will allow a panel of passengers travelling on Air France flights from Toulouse-Blagnac to Paris-Orly to use their Orange NFC-based smartphones to quickly and conveniently move through the airport—from the airport entrance until they board their plane.

The technology will enable passengers to automatically receive their NFC boarding pass on their smartphones using their usual check-in method. By simply tapping their mobile on dedicated readers in the airport, they will then be able to quickly and easily pass through the different steps of their journey, including priority lanes for security control, lounge access and boarding.

The boarding pass will be read automatically, even if the phone is locked, or the battery is dead. By leveraging the technical specification developed by SITA, the RESA reader can retrieve the correct boarding pass, even if there are multiple boarding passes present on the phone. In addition to saving time, passengers will benefit from a comfortable, stress-free journey, with no need to search for and display a barcode or a printed document.

Jean-Christophe Gaudeau, Ground Product Innovation Manager at Air France KLM, said: "Air France is committed to constantly searching for new products, innovative solutions and services that can improve the travel experience for our customers and make their trip easier before, during and after their flight.  Air France's participation in the testing of NFC technology at boarding illustrates its desire to be a pioneer in the field of innovation for the benefit of our passengers.”

Jim Peters, Chief Technology Officer, SITA, said: “This is a perfect example of how SITA and our strategic research arm, SITA Lab, collaborate with our partners to test a variety of new technologies and lead innovation in the air transport industry. This trial with Air France and Orange marks the first NFC boarding pass that provides a truly interoperable and scalable solution for the industry.”

Thierry Millet, Vice President of Mobile Payments and Contactless Program at Orange, said, “NFC technology allows Air France passengers to test this new way to embark. It’s simpler and faster. The new solution relies on two industry standards: an IATA standard from the air transport industry and an NFC standard from GSMA for the mobile industry. This opens the door to a large-scale industrial roll-out.”

Renaud Willard, Sales & Marketing Director, RESA, said, “Making passenger facilitation its top priority, RESA has seamlessly integrated NFC technology into the daily operations of Toulouse-Blagnac Airport. NFC brings speed, easiness and a paperless experience to the airport environment. Passengers don’t have to think any longer about their boarding pass, the battery life of their smartphone or the rotation of their screen. They just walk through the airport, simply tapping their phone on the RESA readers.”

Air France and Orange will invite a few hundred Air France Gold and Platinum Flying Blue members to participate in the trial. Orange will provide the NFC infrastructure and SIM cards for the trial. SITA has developed the NFC specifications that enable this technology to work in an airport environment, a toolkit for mobile integration and the boarding pass delivery infrastructure between Air France and Orange. Air France will provide the Touch&Pass NFC apps for the smartphones, and RESA will provide the check-in, boarding, and fast-lane processing systems for Toulouse-Blagnac Airport, including e-Gates for security checks and self-boarding.

The trial will run until 31 Dec, 2014 on the popular flight from Toulouse-Blagnac Airport to Paris-Orly Airport.

Toulouse-Blagnac Airport is the fifth-largest airport in France based on passenger traffic and a leading business airport. In 2013, the airport served more than 7.5 million passengers, up 0.1% from the year before. The airport provides services to 32 airlines with regularly scheduled flights to 16 domestic locations and 43 international connections.

 
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