Caroline Cook visited São Paulo to attend the second edition of Brazil’s airport infrastructure event.
When it was launched in 2011, the Airport Infrastructure Expo (AIE) was the first exhibition in Latin America to focus on airport infrastructure. Its second edition – held from April 24 to 26 earlier this year at the Transamérica Expo Center – continued the trend, welcoming visitors from all over the world to view the industry’s latest technologies.
The annual show is run by its founder, Sator Eventos, in an attempt to develop Brazil’s infrastructure. The company’s vision is to have at least one Brazilian gateway among the 30 best airports in the world by 2021.
This year’s exhibition comprised the second seminar on airport infrastructure in Latin America, the first workshop in Brazilian travel retail, the Brazilian bidding process workshop and the Business Roundtables.
In comparison to other shows that I’ve attended, AIE’s visitor numbers were fairly modest. A total of 2,604 exhibition visitors attended the event, which housed 131 exhibitors from 19 countries.
Across three days, this amount appears low, but there is no doubt that the show met with much success. General opinion across exhibitors and visitors alike was that the Latin American airports industry is on the cusp of major growth. The obvious catalysts of this growth in Brazil are the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, which many companies felt presented airports with the opportunity to expand their offerings and embrace new technology.
This year’s show featured a novel concept, The Terminal of the Future. This 7,535 sq ft (700m2) space filled a substantial part of the 64,583 sq ft (6,000m2) exhibition hall, and imitated a passenger terminal filled with the technology and equipment found at more modern airports.
“The idea is to reproduce the exact sensation of entering an ultra-modern terminal with operational systems found only in airports considered a reference to the rest of the world,” explained Paula Faria, Director of Sator.
The ‘terminal’ featured tow tractors; luggage loaders; energy generators from Rucker; firetrucks from Lavrita; and runway maintenance equipment from RCS Contracting.
Smiths Detection used the space to exhibit its metal detector and x-ray systems, as well as liquid scanners and explosive and drugs detectors. Arinc provided operational software and Engine supplied its radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology. Access control systems were also shown, along with Ikusi’s flight information technology.
Excitement further spread when a new event, the Aviation Expo, was proposed by Sator. The new exhibition, which will commence in 2013 and run alongside AIE, will explore Latin American aviation equipment and the services supply chain.
“With the precedent set by Airport Infra Expo and the synergy between the companies, [the show] revealed the need to create a meeting and business point for the commercial aviation sector,” explained Ms Faria.
The new AIE Road Show is also set to be launched later this year. This compact model has been designed to replicate the main show in other countries across the Latin American region. Its first edition will be held in Santiago, Chile, from October 17 to 18.
The manufacturer of recording and replay technology, Ricochet AS, was pleased to announce a recent contract win from Infraero, to supply communications, navigation and surveillance systems to ten airports across Brazil. As the largest Latin American contract ever signed by Ricochet, and the second within Brazil, the company was pleased to provide the airports – the biggest of which is Guarulhos International, São Paulo – with audio and screen recording within the air traffic control (ATC) area.
The technology enables centralised monitoring and replay of remote sites from a central location, meaning that an investigation group can reconstruct a scene. Customers can choose how long the system retains its recording. Ricochet plans to have all ten installations completed by the end of this year, with the assistance of its project partner, Thorey Invest Negócios e Tecnologia Ltda.
Another company promoting its recent contract wins was Cassioli Brasil, a Latin American subsidiary of its Italian parent company. Whilst the company also supplies material handling equipment, its main focus at the show was its baggage handling division.
Since the start of this year, Cassioli has installed a R$6 million baggage handling system to Guarulhos’ Terminal 4. The five million passengers per annum (mppa) terminal now enjoys 34 check-in conveyor belts and two new baggage carousels. These carousels are the first to be manufactured and installed in Brazil, bringing the country up-to-date with North American and European technologies.
Cassioli is also preparing for installations at other Brazilian airports, including those in São Luis, Natal and Rio de Janeiro.
Further interest surrounded Germany’s Beumer/Crisplant stand, which showcased the company’s baggage handling capabilities and turnkey solutions. Beumer began infiltrating the region at the start of the year, creating contacts and spreading intelligence about its automation and control systems. Now, the company is preparing to install what it says is the biggest handling system in the region. The new terminal in Bogotá will receive an entire R$91.4 million baggage solution, including two sorters and 120 check-in desks, over two phases for both international and domestic travellers. The new system is scheduled to be operational in August.
However, despite its advances in the baggage handling industry, Beumer is drawing more attention to its temporary terminal solutions. The company says it creates individual concepts for each passenger after a study of their requirements, including ‘one-way terminals’, which can work for departing or arriving passengers depending on the time of day. After deciding on the best type of infrastructure, for example, fabric or a tent structure, the terminal is installed, rented and then dismantled.
Beumer believes this will help airports that need temporary solutions for heightened traffic levels. For example, most Brazilian airports process around 2,000 bags an hour, but during the FIFA World Cup, this number could increase to up to 8,000 an hour. Standard temporary terminals can take between five months and a year to be installed.
Peter van der Klooster, International Sales Manager for materials handling company Transnorm, told me that the Latin American market had been growing for several years, but that many in the region were wary of new technologies. An example is Transnorm’s belt curve conveyors for baggage handling systems which, despite their “higher functionality”, are taking time to become as popular in Latin America as they are in the rest of the world, according to Mr van der Klooster.
However, with one customer, Infraero, and a range of supplies to system integrators, Transnorm has still played a role in several projects, including Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Brasília and Campinas.
German company Sittig launched its airport voice announcement system, Pax Guide, at the show. Despite the technology’s first instalment in Frankfurt eight years ago, the company’s representatives told me that AIE provided Latin America’s first chance to see the system and its features.
Pax Guide provides IP-based, multilingual voice announcements from its SQL-database, which hosts the flight tables, announcement orders, availability status of various zones as well as system status and logs. The system’s advantages include its easy integration with existing hardware and its high level of automation, meaning that an operator’s workload and that of other resources are decreased.
Technilux’s stand exemplified the variety of products that the company offers, including runway lighting, NAVAIDs, aircraft docking (supplied in partnership with German Safegate), meteorology, ATC, control and management systems and security.
Among Technilux’s many accomplishments, it has just won a contract with Infraero to refurbish the runway at Brasília’s airport, which it hopes to complete within a year. A demonstration of the company’s automated, laser-based docking system has also been installed at Galeão International Airport in Rio de Janeiro, although a firm order has not been booked yet.
Among the security companies at the show was Safran Morpho, promoting its CTX explosive detection systems (EDS) for checked baggage screening. Included in the range is the CTX 5800, which combines advanced HD3D imaging technology in a compact machine. Despite its smaller size, the 5800 can process up to 500 bags per hour (BPH) and has a lower false alarm rate.
Its larger sister product, the CTX 9800 DSi, introduces the clarity data acquisition system, which delivers “unprecedented” high-resolution, 3-D imaging. Its 3ft 3in (1m)-wide conveyor belt and tunnel can turn at speeds of 1ft per second (0.3m/s).
Earlier this year, Rapiscan Systems announced a US$900 million six-year contract to provide turnkey security solutions in Mexico. The win was awarded by Servicio de Adminstración Tributaria (SAT), the Mexican tax and customs authority, to provide a programme of cargo and vehicle security screening systems and services throughout the country.
With a wide range of its products, Rapiscan will provide a comprehensive x-ray screening programme, comprising technology, staffing, systems integration and maintenance support at ports of entry, including airports, across Mexico. The contract is designed to tackle issues with contraband and undeclared materials.
Mexican company Jorbee showcased its range of vehicle access control systems, with a significant focus on airport car parks. Its products are installed across Mexico, and work is currently being undertaken in Costa Rica.
The systems include automatic licence plate recognition, parking rates and payments. The equipment can also keep track of space availability in a car park.
Kieling & Dittrich Tecnologia (K&D), Brazil, launched its new Luggage Tracking system at the show. The radio frequency identification (RFID) system can track both luggage and passengers through an airport, and identify which bags belong to whom.
With the new system, passenger information is submitted to the RFID reader, including the individual’s photograph and mobile telephone number. This information is linked to the passenger’s boarding pass, and so can be traced throughout the airport each time the boarding pass is read. For example, at the boarding gate, K&D’s system will know if the passenger is at the gate or in their seat, and whether the individual’s baggage has reached the aircraft.
Similarly, during arrivals the system can again track passengers and their baggage. It can tell when a traveller has picked up the correct amount of baggage from the carousel, ensuring fewer thefts and security risks due to unattended items.
The system can also send SMS messages to the person’s mobile phone regarding the location and progress of their baggage.
According to K&D, the concept for this new system has been in the company for a decade, but has only become a reality recently due to lower manufacturing costs.
Not every exhibitor at AIE was promoting products to improve operations at an airport. For example, Brazilian company Tecno2000 appealed to the passenger terminal market with its public seating range, including the Altena system.
The Altena is designed for use in high-traffic areas and is manufactured with surface-treated aluminium seats and backs. With a reduced number of components, assembly and maintenance is much simpler and, according to the company, has a higher life cycle than other seating systems. The seats can be coupled in rows or configured back to back.
Caroline Cook visited São Paulo to attend the second edition of Brazil’s airport infrastructure event.