Incheon International Airport (IIAC) is the nation’s largest airport in South Korea, recognized as a world class airport with excellence in services, facilities and operational efficiency. The airport is recognized as the best airport in the world In terms of its level of service provided to passengers, thus winning ACI ‘Best Airport Worldwide’ awards in 2005, 2006, and 2007 and IATA Eagle Award in 2008. Incheon International Airport boasts the second largest cargo capacity in the world and 10th largest passenger capacity, processing over 31 million annual passengers.As of June 2008, the airport employs 35,000 employees, accommodating 71 airlines to 169 cities worldwide. To achieve and maintain excellence in service, creating efficient processes and minimizing waiting time for passenger processing is a key challenge for a mega airports like Incheon International Airport. The airport needed a fully integrated electronic passport system that enables seamless passenger data processing & exchange between airport, immigration and airlines.
The fundamental objective of the whole IIAC project was to enhance passenger processing processes to an integrated system that will operate in conjunction with airlines and Immigration Services. Performance of the passport reader in terms of speed and accuracy were the main consideration criteria.
The project, initiated by the Korean government, was spearheaded by Samsung SDS, the nation’s largest system integrator. The project aimed to implement e-passport check-in, autogate systems, an unmanned immigration counter and an automatic boarding gate, a self-serving boarding gate without boarding pass.
The IIAC requirements were a major challenge for Suprema. The electronic passport reader needed to fit into various application throughout the whole APIS (Airport Passenger Information System) processes from check-in, over autogates to the self-serve boarding gates. Also, there were number of regulatory requirements that took consideration from the government's upcoming electronic passport projects whose timeline and contents were not finalized at the initial stages of the project.
Technical issues raised by airlines were another major consideration. While conforming to current ICAO standards, the passport reader had to be compatible with airlines’ pre-existing passenger check-in system from ARINC. Key challenges for e-passport check-in, autogate system and automatic boarding gates were to enhance accuracy of read data, easy user adoption and high processing speed.
Suprema also faced challenges on the equipment design and function. To persuade all stakeholder to adopt new passport reader from a new vendor, the equipment must offer significant improvements in functionality and user convenience compared to current passport reader from pre-existing vendor.
The key components of the Suprema contribution for the IIAC project were the development, production and integration of over 500 passport readers throughout the site for different departments and organizations that varied from Department of Justice, Immigration Service, over airlines to the airport itself. In response to the IIAC and the airlines' requirements, Suprema provided 31 units of RealPass-V passport readers, 455 units of RealPass-S passport readers and 22 units of QPass-M RF readers.
RealPass-V is full-page e-passport reader that enables one-step reading of the visual data page and RF chip data from ICAO standard documents and cards. Designed for high-level security at immigration clearance, RealPass-V processes a wide range of data from OCR, photos, characters and even RFID from e-passports. The RealPass-V were installed across immigration counters, autogates and self-serve boarding gates in the airport.
RealPass-S is a compact electronic passport reader for airline check-in counters. It also offers single step reading of OCR characters and RF chip data of ICAO standard travel documents and cards. The device is fully compatible with the ARINC iMUSE system and adopted lay-on type scanning to enhance recognition speed and accuracy.