GBM, IBM and Gulf Air introduces self service check-in kiosks

Gulf Air has rolled check-in kiosks to airports in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Muscat, with help from Gulf Business Machines and IBM

  • E-Mail
By  Mark Sutton Published  July 16, 2003

Gulf Business Machines (GBM) has completed the deployment of a new check in kiosk project for Gulf Air. Gulf Air passengers travelling from Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Muscat will now be able to check-in themselves using the IBM-based kiosks, that are located at airports across the region.

The self-service kiosks allow passengers who are travelling with just hand luggage, to process their own check in details. The kiosk identifies the user from their frequent flyer card, credit card of airline coupon, checks up to four passengers onto the flight, for both single and multiple sector travel, and prints all the necessary vouchers, including executive lounge invitations.

Tariq Sultan, vice president of information technology at Gulf Air commented: “This IBM e-business technology enables Gulf Air to enhance passenger handling as well as provide a number of additional conveniences for our passengers. In addition to being able to view and select seats from a graphical seat map, passengers can have their frequent flyer points credited to their Gulf Air Frequent Flyer cards or to partner airline’s cards, if they are flying on a multi-sector code share flight.”

The kiosk technology was jointly developed by IBM Middle East, IBM Canada, GBM and Gulf Air. The devices run on Windows 2000, and incorporates a touch-activated screen connected to an IBM Net Vista PC. The kiosks were built in North America, then shipped to the region and installed by GBM and IBM.

GBM and IBM had prior experience with airport control systems, which was one of the reasons why the distributor was chosen to work on the project, according to Abdulla Ishaq, general manager of Bahrain Business Machines, GBM’s Bahrain operation.

“GBM was chosen for the project for several reasons, including our unique relationship with IBM, which is the largest vendor of standards compliant self-service kiosks, having completed some 2500 similar deployments for the travel and transportation industries worldwide,” Ishaq said.

The distributor was also responsible for the back end systems that link the kiosks to the usual check-in systems, as well as setting up the facility to manage the kiosks remotely. Gulf Air now plans to roll out more kiosks to other locations such as hotels. For the actual kiosks, IBM believes that it will be possible to develop a wide range of additional functionality, said Thierry Gynch of IBM Middle East.

“These kiosks are part of IBM’s blueprint for airline CRM (customer relationship management) and contribute to our multi-channel delivery strategy, throughout the passenger’s travel experience,” Gynch explained.

“Potential future applications could include e-check-in with a baggage drop facility; e-ticketing that enables tickets to be purchased at the kiosks using credit cards; and integration of the kiosks with wireless devices such as PDAs for wireless anytime, anywhere check-in facilities. Other future applications could include automatic passport reading at the kiosks using iris recognition or fingerprint reading; as well as other conveniences such as the ability to purchase car hire vouchers,” he added.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code