The EU to Allocate €270 million to Member States for Customs Control Equipment Over the Next Three Years

The first call for proposals was launched in October 2021, resulting in a total funding of more than €270 million for over 240 strategic Border Crossing Points and customs laboratories across the EU. This will allow Member States to purchase, maintain or upgrade state-of-the-art customs equipment such as new scanners, radiation monitors, teams of sniffer dogs and other non-intrusive detectors for border crossing points as well as a variety of laboratory equipment for goods analysis.

Part of the Integrated Border Management Fund, CCEI supports Member States to finance detection equipment for goods crossing the EU’s external borders. The initiative has the twin aims of improving customs performance by contributing to adequate and equivalent results of customs controls throughout the EU, while helping EU customs authorities act as one single entity. The instrument is part of the long-term EU budget for 2021-2027, with a financial envelope of €1 billion.

Import Control System 2 (ICS2) Release 2

New requirements for inbound air shipments to the EU

Beginning 1 March 2023, all freight forwarders, air carriers, express couriers, and postal operators transporting goods to or through the European Union (including Norway and Switzerland) will be required to submit advance cargo information in the form of a complete entry summary declaration (ENS), under the second phase of the EU’s new customs pre-arrival security and safety programme – Import Control System 2 (ICS2) Release 2.

Economic operators’ responsibility to comply with ICS2 Release 2 requirements

From 1 March 2023, economic operators involved in handling, sending, shipping and transporting cargo, express or postal consignments to or via the EU by air have to comply with new advance data reporting requirements for pre-loading and pre-arrival customs risk assessments.

By collecting data about all goods entering the EU prior to their loading and arrival, ICS2 supports effective risk-based customs controls while facilitating free flow of legitimate trade across the EU’s external borders. ICS2 will simplify the movement of goods between customs offices at the first point of entry and final destination in the EU. For economic operators, ICS2 will streamline requests for additional information and pre-departure risk screening by customs authorities.

In addition to air carriers’ ENS filing responsibilities under the multiple filing regime of Release 2, freight forwarders, express couriers, and postal operators will also be legally responsible for providing data. They either have to share it with the air carriers, who will then complete the ENS filing requirements, or submit the data directly to ICS2. Postal operators and express couriers, who have previously been declaring partial information regarding inbound shipments (under ICS2 Phase 1), will now also be required to coordinate with their air carrier to submit all required data.  

Those in the air transport sector who are currently filing advance cargo information into Import Control System (ICS) will have to gradually start filing this data into ICS2 during the operational roll-out of Release 2.

Preparing for ICS2 Release 2: Conformance Testing

Economic operators are strongly advised to prepare in advance for Release 2, in order to avoid the risk of delays and non-compliance.

To help prepare for the introduction of ICS2 Release 2, the European Commission will make available a conformance testing environment from July 2022 until February 2023, to be able to verify the economic operator’s ability to access and exchange messages with customs authorities through the intended ICS2 trader interface. This conformance testing is mandatory for all economic operators concerned.

Economic operators responsible for filing ENS data to ICS2 should determine whether they have an existing Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number. If not, they should contact the EU customs authority of their choice to get this number and to receive support in preparing for ICS2 Release 2. They should also evaluate their trade operations for the handling of imports into the EU and contact their selected customs authority to connect and take part in the upcoming Release 2 conformance testing. 

What is ICS2 Release 2?

The EU Import Control System 2 (ICS2) is a large-scale initiative to enhance customs oversight of the movement of goods prior to their arrival at the EU external borders (air, maritime, land and inland waterways). ICS2 enables customs authorities to identify high-risk consignments that necessitate early intervention, while facilitating legitimate trade into the customs territory of the EU, Norway, and Switzerland.

The system is being implemented in three releases. Having successfully completed Release 1 covering the pre-loading process for postal and express consignments by air on 15 March 2021, Release 2 is the next step in the system’s implementation, and it will go live on 1 March 2023. Release 3 will be implemented from 1 March 2024, requiring operators carrying goods on maritime and inland waterways, roads and railways to comply with the new regulations.

The European Commission is leading the operational delivery of ICS2 in close collaboration with customs authorities in Member States, Norway and Switzerland and industry stakeholders.

Two detailed factsheets are available to guide through the procedures related to ICS2 Release 2: 

  • Factsheet 1: What economic operators who are directly affected by the second release need to do to get their IT systems ready in time. For further information please visit (link).
  • Factsheet 2: What the new data reporting requirements are under Release 2 for freight forwarders, EU express couriers, postal operators with facilities outside the EU, and air carriers, irrespective of whether these operators are legally established within or outside of the European Union. For further information please visit (link).

Facial Recognition Aids Travelers at DFW

Travelers can now go through security at DFW Airport without taking out an ID, saving time at the airport and making the travel experience smoother with Mobile ID. The program helps travelers move through different points of interest without handing over a boarding pass or ID. The program require travelers to have TSA PreCheck and a AAdvantage number to take advantage of the program.

The Mobile ID program can be used at:

  • TSA PreCheck: by sharing their American Airlines Mobile ID QR code and scanning their face at security to pass through the checkpoint OR
  • The Admirals Club: Travelers can skip the line for lounge entry with Mobile ID. Travelers can scan their face on a tablet to verify their lounge membership.

American Airlines Mobile ID is available through the airside: Digital Identity app and accepted and verified by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and American Airlines for club services.

Hartsfield-Jackson and Airport Partners Prepare for Busy Independence Day Weekend  

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) and its partners are preparing to host a predicted 1.7 million passengers during the holiday period from Thursday, June 30, 2022 to Tuesday, July 1, 2022. 

Officials from ATL, the Atlanta Police Department (APD), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are taking steps to ensure that passengers have a safe, efficient and enjoyable experience as they travel with their families and loved ones through the Airport.

“To ease passenger flow here at ATL, we are working diligently and have implemented solid plans to enhance customer service efficiency,” said Jan Lennon, deputy general manager of Operations. “The ATL team and our partners are ready to provide our visitors a best-in-class travel experience that continues to make our airport the busiest and most efficient in the world.”  

ATL officials remain committed to providing a secure environment. Local, state and federal law enforcement officials remain hypervigilant to any threats posed to the traveling community and will maintain a robust and visible presence at Hartsfield-Jackson.

As ATL works to ease congestion and facilitate passenger travel during this busy holiday travel period, officials offer passengers the following travel tips:

  • Arrive inside the Airport two hours before domestic departure flight times, three hours for international flights. 
  • Utilize mass transit like MARTA, rideshare options like Lyft and Uber, and taxis. 
  • Check the Airport’s website (www.atl.com) for real-time updates on parking availability, security wait times and current concessionaire offerings.
  • The Airport’s social media channels (@ATLAirport) also offer helpful, immediate operational information. 

Airport officials encourage all passengers to thoroughly inspect their luggage and belongings prior to arriving at the Airport to ensure they are not bringing any prohibited items through the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints. As a reminder, all firearms and ammunition must be properly packaged and placed in checked bags. To comply with TSA regulations, visit the “What Can I Bring?” page on TSA’s website (TSA.gov) for more detailed information.  

Chargebacks911 Takes to the Skies With AirlinePros in a New Partnership to Tackle Fraud

Chargebacks911, the leading dispute technology specialists, today announces its new partnership with AirlinePros, a representation and distribution firm for airlines and travel suppliers, to defeat fraud and friendly fraud for travel industry merchants.

Like other major online merchants, travel industry partners including airlines, hotels, and online travel agencies, took a big hit from chargebacks filed wrongly against them during the pandemic. People are traveling once again, with the bounce-back beginning in 2021, with global passenger numbers up almost 30% to 2.3 billion. However, this was still only around half of 2019’s 4.5 billion travelers. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), it will be 2024 before passenger figures return to 2019 levels. In part, this is due to a lack of personnel such as pilots, which leads to cancellations and disruption that ultimately means customers are dissatisfied and therefore seek refunds.

AirlinePros recognized the struggles their partners were experiencing and sought with Chargebacks911 to solve this problem and assist travel providers worldwide to reduce the losses associated with chargebacks wrongly filed against them. Data sets provided by Chargebacks911 will include negative and positive information about disputes and chargebacks, which help fight friendly fraud as well as cases of true criminal fraudulent activity.,” Achma Asokan Foster, CEO, AirlinePros, said. “For us, this is a key issue that we’ve identified for the airline industry on an ongoing basis. So, we acted by bringing in the expertise, experience, and knowledge of Chargebacks911, to deal with the thousands of chargebacks resulting from the disruptions due to the pandemic and any other reason. We believe that Chargebacks911 will play an important role both in a preventative capacity and improve the overall customer experience for our client airlines and the industry at large.”

Harlan Hutson, director of Strategic Partnerships at Chargebacks911, adds: “Chargebacks911 is well-versed in supporting merchants in the travel space, with deep knowledge and understanding of how the industry works when it comes to fraudulent activity. Airlines are particularly unique in this world, with added complexities and multiple players along the chain, so we are delighted to be able to offer our unparalleled expertise and solutions to AirlinePros clients as it works to get the industry back to normal.”

TSA Trials Pangiam’s AI-Driven Solution to Improve Airport Threat Detection

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has selected transport security technologists Pangiam to demonstrate its artificial intelligence (AI)-driven accessible screening solution that has the potential to transform aviation security worldwide.

Project DARTMOUTH, the collaboration between Pangiam and Google Cloud, utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) and pattern analysis technologies to digest and analyse vast amounts of data in real-time to identify potential prohibited items in carry-on baggage.

“As TSA and other security agencies adopt 3D Computed Tomography (CT), this application of AI represents a potentially transformative leap in aviation security, making air travel safer and more consistent, while allowing TSA’s highly trained officers to focus on bags that pose the greatest risk. Our aim is to utilize AI and computer vision technologies to enhance security by providing TSA and security officers with powerful tools to detect prohibitive items that may pose a threat to aviation security is a significant step toward setting a new security standard with worldwide implications,” said Alexis Long, product director, Pangiam. 

TSA’s Innovation Task Force (ITF) issued a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for transportation security solutions in December 2021 to identify innovative solutions that are rigorously evaluated and then demonstrated in a live operational environment. ITF’s mission is to identify and demonstrate emerging solutions that increase security effectiveness and efficiency, improve passenger experience, and to deliver solutions that secure the freedom of movement throughout the nation’s transportation system.  

The first series of Project DARTMOUTH trials is set to begin at TSA’s System Integration Facility (TSIF) – a 128,000 square-foot lab that serves as a testing ground for state-of-the-art technologies for possible implementation at airport security checkpoints.  While TSA is the first to debut Project DARTMOUTH initiative in North America, Pangiam is also working with AGS Airports Group on trials at Aberdeen, Glasgow, and Southampton airport in the UK.  

Pangiam’s AI-based solution is built to Open Architecture standards and therefore, can be interoperable with hardware and equipment in a “plug and play” manner, allowing security operations to be transformed quickly through software innovation. 

Veovo Lands at Lehigh Valley International Airport and Argentinian Airports

Veovo Lands at Lehigh Valley International Airport and Argentinian Airports

Lehigh Valley Intl. Airport (ABE) and Aeropuertos Argentina 2000, operators of Argentina’s two busiest airports, Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (AEP) and Aeropuerto Internacional Ezeiza (EZE) have all selected Veovo Passenger Predictability solution to optimize TSA security operations and improve passenger flow.

Through a partnership between Veovo and the Lehigh-Northampton Airport (LNAA), Lehigh Valley International Airport now has detailed passenger movement insights at TSA security lines. It enables the airport to share invaluable real-time information with passengers, improve resource planning and efficiently handle increased passenger volume.

Veovo says their Passenger Predictability solution combines 3D cameras and powerful cloud analytics software to provide key performance indicators, like occupancy, throughput and wait times. The predicted wait times are now presented to travelers on Lehigh Airport’s website, social media platforms and digital displays at the TSA security entrance.

“We gain critical insight on passenger flow at our facility, which we share on a multitude of communication platforms. Also, it can be used as a reconnaissance tool for planning your itinerary. For example, if you are departing on a Sunday morning flight, passengers can check the week before to see estimated wait times in their travel window,” said Glenn Kurcon, director of information systems & technology, LNAA.

Lehigh Valley International joins other U. S. airports, including JFK, Newark, and Cincinnati, that have selected Veovo to provide situational awareness and make intelligent decisions to balance performance, customer experience and efficiency.

Additionally, the two Argentinian airports have implemented Veovo’s Passenger Predictability solution to optimize operations and improve passenger flow in various processes, including security, immigration, baggage hall and border control.

The AI-powered cloud software measures passenger movement and offers live and predictive insight into customer behavior. By aggregating data from multiple sensors and data sources, the analytics platform delivers valuable metrics such as occupancy, predicted wait times and lane productivity. This allows airports and their partners to take more informed decisions and make passenger processing as efficient and smooth as possible.

The integration with live queue wait-time information displays and airport apps gives passengers have accurate information, the company says. (Continues next page).

“As travelers return to the skies, we see that airports of all sizes are switching on to the power of real data and predictive insight to automate planning, improve real-time decision-making, and deliver exceptional passenger experiences. We are delighted to partner with Lehigh Valley International Airport to help make TSA security processing as smooth and efficient as possible,” says James Williamson, CEO at Veovo.

In May 2021, the LNAA began the construction of a new security checkpoint/terminal connector.

“The Veovo system is completely transferrable into the new space, which adds another enhancement for passengers and ensures ABE maintains a competitive edge while delivering the LNAA’s vision of being the best regional airport system in North America,” said Thomas Stoudt, executive director at LNAA.

“This technology allows Aeropuertos Argentina 2000 to have complete passenger flow visibility, helping us make informed decisions to deliver a better-quality passenger experience,” Sebastián Villar Guarino, AA2000, Ezeiza general manager, said. “This is a key step in the AA2000 strategy to develop a smart and digital airport.”

Digitalization is Critical to Curb Mishandled Baggage as Rates Spike Amid Growing Passenger Volumes

Digitalization is Critical to Curb Mishandled Baggage as Rates Spike Amid Growing Passenger Volumes

The global mishandled baggage rate has spiked by 24% to 4.35 bags per thousand passengers in 2021 as the industry recovers from the pandemic, according to the recently released SITA Baggage IT Insights 2022 report.

The report shows passenger traffic has evolved since 2020, with most of the 2021 recovery being driven by domestic travel, but the resumption of international and long-haul flights is contributing to an increase in mishandling.

Transfer bags continue to account for most mishandled bags. An increase in long-haul flights with connections in 2021 has pushed up the bags delayed at transfer to 41%, which is a four point increase from 2020. The mishandling rate at the global level on international routes is 8.7, yet only 1.85 for domestic routes. Put differently, at a global level, the likelihood of mishandling a bag is about 4.7 times higher on international routes compared to domestic routes.

Delayed bags accounted for 71% of all mishandled bags in 2021 – a two point increase from 2020. At the same time, the number of lost and stolen bags increased slightly to 6%, while those damaged and pilfered decreased to 23%.

Airlines, ground handlers, and airports have downsized to maintain viability during the pandemic, which has impacted resources and expertise dedicated to baggage management. Unaddressed, this challenge may see the mishandling rate continue to creep up and become much higher than it was pre-pandemic.

“The industry now needs to do more with less,” said David Lavorel, CEO, SITA. “As we emerge from the pandemic, our customers’ focus remains on safely managing the end-to-end transport of passengers’ baggage, but now they must also reduce the total cost and training required. There is significant pressure to increase operational efficiency, which is accelerating digitalization.”

In 2021 investment in self-service initiatives continued to increase. A large majority of airports and almost all airlines are prioritizing touchless bag tagging options that rely on kiosks and passengers’ mobile devices. Implementation of unassisted bag drop is increasing, with 90% of airlines and three-quarters of airports planning to make touchless unassisted self-bag drop available by 2024.

Digitalization also ensures that the recovery progresses efficiently, saving resources and ensuring operations can quickly adapt to fluctuating passenger numbers. There is no better way to ensure efficiency in baggage operations than to avoid mishandling in the first place, preventing the additional costs and resources required to repatriate bags to their owners.

“SITA has worked to refine its baggage portfolio to do just that, with the introduction of innovative solutions such as SITA WorldTracer Lost and Found Property, an artificial intelligence-enabled solution that solves a million-dollar headache for the air transport industry: how to quickly return items left behind on aircraft or in airports to their owners. Using cutting-edge technology such as computer vision, machine learning, and natural language processing, WorldTracer Lost and Found Property searches a global database of images and descriptions to match the found item to a missing item report.

“We will continue to collaborate and support the industry to reduce mishandled baggage rates while driving operational efficiencies and sustainable solutions when needed the most,” said Lavorel.

Teledyne FLIR Introduces Hadron 640R Dual Thermal-Visible Camera for Unmanned Systems

Teledyne FLIR Introduces Hadron 640R Dual Thermal-Visible Camera for Unmanned Systems

Teledyne FLIR has release of its high-performance Hadron 640R combined radiometric thermal and visible dual camera module. The Hadron 640R design is optimized for integration into unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), unmanned ground vehicles (UGV), robotic platforms, and emerging AI-ready applications where battery life and run time are mission critical.

The 640 x 512 resolution Boson longwave infrared (LWIR) thermal camera inside the Hadron 640R can see through total darkness, smoke, most fog, glare, and provide temperature measurements for every pixel in the scene. The addition of the high definition 64 MP visible camera enables the Hadron 640R to provide both thermal and visible imagery compatible with today’s on-device processors for AI and machine-learning applications at the edge.

“The Hadron 640R provides integrators the opportunity to deploy a high-performance dual-camera module into a variety of unmanned form factors from UAS to UGV thanks to its incredibly small size, weight, and power requirement,” said Michael Walters, vice president product management, Teledyne FLIR. “It is designed to maximize efficiency and its IP-54 rating protects the module from intrusion of dust and water from the outside environment.”

The Hadron 640R reduces development costs and time-to-market for integrators and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) product developers by offering a complete system through a single supplier, Teledyne FLIR. This includes offering drivers for market-leading processors from NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and more, plus industry-leading integration support and service from a support team of experts. It also offers flexible 60 Hz video output via USB or MIPI compatibility. Hadron 640R is a dual use product and is classified under U. S. Department of Commerce jurisdiction.

Qognify Selected by Václav Havel Airport Prague

Qognify Selected by Václav Havel Airport Prague

Qognify announced that Prague Airport has selected Qognify EIM (Situator) to interconnect its security systems and provide security control room personnel with a single incident management interface, as well as the ability to verify the validity of identification cards using mobile devices throughout the airport.

Prague Airport operates Václav Havel Airport Prague in the Czech Republic. The international airport is one of the fastest growing in Europe, in the 10-25 million passenger category and handles 15 million passengers, with direct flights to more than 160 destinations worldwide. Approximately 2,400 people are employed by the airport with an estimated additional 14,000 people working for companies operating at the airport or linked to its operations.

Prague Airport says one of their core values is to ensure and continuously improve its superior level of air travel safety. The airport operates many security systems, and it wanted a platform to interconnect them, to correlate information and enable security scenarios and procedures for dealing incidents to be set up. In doing so, it would provide the security control room staff with one effective tool, providing an overall overview, the ability to manage situations and speed up incident response.

This new platform has been built with Qognify EIM – an Enterprise Incident Management solution the company says has been proven at some of the world’s largest and busiest airports for more than 10 years. Using Qognify EIM, airport safety and security systems including CCTV, electronic access control, electrical fire alarm, emergency alarm system, perimeter security, oversized cargo entry control, errand system and airport mapping have been integrated.

These systems that were previously running in isolation now communicate bi-directionally with Qognify EIM, giving security control room personnel a single incident management interface. Now, when an alarm is triggered from any of the interconnected security systems within Qognify EIM, alerts are clearly displayed and presented to the security control room personnel on an on-screen map. From this single interface they can take the necessary action, whether that is to clear and reset the alarm, or to dispatch available resources to the incident. Appropriate guidance is automatically presented on-screen in the form of a checklist, to ensure all the required actions and procedures for dealing with the event are adhered to in line with airport best practice and the latest regulation.

Qognify EIM is not confined to the security control room, with it also being used by personnel on their mobile devices to verify the validity of identification cards of employees in the airport area, as well as for assigning tasks and sending support materials.

“Qognify EIM is perfect for an international airport such as Václav Havel, that want to take a more holistic approach to handling incidents,” said Oliver Schmidt, sales manager EMEA, EIM at Qognify. “By integrating and optimizing its many security systems, through our enterprise-class software solution, it is able to provide the airport with enhanced situational awareness.”

The entire Qognify EIM solution is fully localized in the Czech language, enabling further possible future expansion and connection of new systems or technologies.