Implementing self-boarding solutions at Heathrow Airport

The challenge

Heathrow Airport and its customer airlines wished to develop self-boarding solutions to streamline the passenger departure journey.

Self-boarding products and processes can bring many benefits for an airport, its airlines and their customers: operational expenditure savings, increased throughput and capacity, and improved customer experience and choice to name a few. However, to fully realise the benefits of self-boarding, the process and mix of technology must be right for the airport and customers.

Heathrow Airport engaged o&i consulting to help them achieve this.

Our role

Working with the airport operator, international carriers, and technology providers, o&i consulting has helped to deliver a common use international self-boarding solution at Heathrow Airport.

A key element of our work has been in making informed technology choices, ensuring compatibility between technologies, and conducting thorough testing and trialling of these systems. It has also been important to design a solution that meets the intricacies of airline operational requirements (passport, visa validations), control authority requirements including passenger and baggage reconciliation (UK AAA), and the airline boarding process.

o&i consulting has provided process and layout design to integrate these requirements, the elected equipment, and stakeholder requests, and set up and managed trials of the end-to-end processes in live operation.

The self-boarding solution will help to enhance the passenger’s airport and airline experience, as well as providing the passenger with more choice and control over their journey through the airport. By speeding up the boarding activity, this will also mean that the airline staff are able to spend more time with customers who require or desire greater assistance.

o&i expertise on this project

  • Determined the requirements specification for self-boarding at Heathrow
  • Market research of available technologies and determined appropriate combination for Heathrow Airport
  • Self-boarding end-to-end process design
  • Layout design to integrate new equipment
  • Set up and management of process and equipment trials
  • Solution implementation
  • Issues management and contingency planning
  • Stakeholder engagement and management


Project Key Facts

Title: Implementing self-boarding solutions at Heathrow Airport

Client: Heathrow Airport

Theme: Automation – self-boarding