DH editorial: Well-planned and executed

For many it must have been a pleasant surprise to be confronted with so-called electronic gates in the downstairs departure area of Princess Juliana International Airport SXM (see related story). Outbound travellers merely had to scan their boarding passes before going up to the security area, where their documents were, of course, checked anyway.

This part of the process certainly seemed to go more quickly, although some passengers still approached the official in the only remaining booth there after passing through the bar-code boarding pass (BCPC) e-gates, before realising they didn’t have to. The proof of the pudding may yet come when it gets really busy during the high tourism season, but early indications are promising.

In Curaçao they installed e-gates for arriving passengers, which involves admitting people to the island. However, the system currently is limited to adults with passports from the United States (US), Canada and European Union (EU).

Moreover, only those who correctly filled in online embarkation and disembarkation (ED) cards 24 hours in advance can go through the e-gates, which – as it turns out – are open only during “peak hours.” These and other aspects of their introduction at Hato Airport apparently have not gone very smoothly, also judging from a letter to the editor published in Saturday’s paper.

The latter example clearly illustrates that while automation and self-service have indeed become increasingly important in civil aviation, great care must be taken to ensure such technical developments are well-planned and executed, so they don’t end up backfiring and making things worse rather than better.

Source: Daily Herald
Well-planned and executed