Aruba Happy Flow™, the Best Immigration & Arrivals Initiative of 2015

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The 5th Future Travel Experience Awards in Las Vegas distinguished the game-changing passenger flow system last week as an outstanding effort to improve the passenger experience. Happy Flow™ is the end-result of an unprecedented multi-stakeholder collaboration composed of Aruba Airport Authority, the Aruba Government, Schiphol Group, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Vision-Box, the working group that made the Aruba Happy Flow possible.

It is called Happy Flow™ and it received the Best Immigration and Arrivals Initiative Award at Future Travel Experience Global, which took place in Las Vegas September 9 to 11. First implemented on the “happy island” of Aruba, Happy Flow™ is the end-result of an unprecedented multi-stakeholder collaboration composed of Aruba Airport Authority, the Aruba Government, Schiphol Group, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Vision-Box, the working group that made the Aruba Happy Flow possible.

After going live in May of 2015, the Aruba Happy Flow project has been on the aviation’s industry experts’ lips as no other initiative in a while. Why? Because it represents a huge leap forward in the passenger airport experience, representing a radical simplification of the passenger flow-control process. From check-in to boarding, facial biometric technology guarantees passenger identification at every step, meaning the passenger can put away their travel documents after checking in, going through a sequence of self-service touch-points, only looking at cameras that recognize their face almost on the go, making the Face the identification “document” throughout the process. No uncomfortable ID checks, no queues, no stops. Your face is your personal trigger to interact with all the stakeholders, thus authorizing the processing of your data to progress in hassle-free mode throughout your journey at the airport!

This innovative and groundbreaking process earned the Happy Flow system the prestigious Future Travel Experience Award for Best Immigration & Arrivals Initiative at FTE’s Annual Global event. Jean-François Lennon, Vision-Box’s Vice President for Global Business Development and Sales had this to say, “We’re extremely proud of this award. It’s the confirmation that the whole Air and Transport Industry is ready for a new aviation era in passenger experience. Happy Flow™ is ready to reshape identification processes through an unparalleled passenger-centric flow, at every airport that wishes to deliver the best and empower their customers, secure their processes, become more efficient and profitable”.

Manuel van Lijf, Senior Manager for Product Innovation at Air France – KLM also expressed his enthusiasm: “KLM is very honored to have received the award on behalf of the Happy Flow consortium. It proves that the further innovation and optimization of the passenger experience at airports lies not in improving the individual touchpoints anymore but in the collaboration of all the stakeholders at the airport, and by applying state of the art technology. Only in this way can we improve the passenger experience and make his airport journey a pleasure. KLM has invested in the Aruba Happy Flow to work with and learn from the best industry parties. Aruba airport is the first of many more airports in the Air France KLM network we are discussing with to implement Happy Flow.”

Leading the way is in fact Aruba’s Queen Beatrix International Airport, the first airport in the world to provide a 100% self-service passenger experience, based on traveler-centric biometric technology. Replacing outdated clearance procedures, traditionally performed by border and airport agents, the solution is based on the implementation of the most innovative self-service biometric touch-points for passengers – common-use self-service biometric check-in kiosks, baggage-drop and eGates. At check-in, the passenger enrolls his biometric data and travel documents, whilst a virtual Passenger Data Envelope is created. Across their journey at the airport, at each subsequent step, namely bag drop, security, immigration and boarding, passengers are recognized via a face camera in just a few seconds, receiving approval to move forward, while the envelope is continuously updated with the relevant information such as biometric captures, real-time passenger status, among others. The stored information is then processed and shared selectively and privately with the relevant authorities, for each specific transaction.

However, it takes more than innovative biometric passenger-centric touch-points to make this work. Vision-Box implemented a comprehensive, holistic approach to passenger processing, putting in place a holistic common-use management software suite that collects all information from the passenger touch-points, source intelligent data from 3rd party systems enriching the envelope of the Passenger data, and ultimately offers a ground-breaking orchestration engine to all the stakeholders involved. vb orchestra™ is the new generation common-use platform dedicated to the management of the whole security infrastructure, the configuration of all traveler based workflows, the optimization of all passenger handling operations, combining all the complex and typically segregated Airline, Airport and Government systems into a comprehensive set of intelligent shared layers. This allows data to be distributed among the different stakeholders according to the Privacy by Design principles, delivering modeling and predictive capability in a big data capacity approach.

The Prime Minister Eman of Aruba said “I am honored that Aruba’s Happy Flow has received this prestigious award. Public private cooperation is the basis for this unique and innovative project that will change passenger facilitation. Aruba is proud to participate in this project for which our outstanding airport and immigration service provide the facility. As a prime tourist destination Aruba is always aiming at providing the best experience for our visitors and Happy Flow does just that. For Aruba this is a strategic project as the Happy flow system will also provide the necessary foundation for our goal; a first EU-Schengen pre-clearance facility.”


In fact, another innovational leap forward of the Happy Flow system is the aim to create a first pre-clearance border control process for passengers travelling from Aruba to the EU-Schengen area, extending the passenger experience well beyond the Aruba terminal. The 2-year pilot project has the unique and visionary goal to establish a process where a passenger departing from Aruba and intending to enter the EU-Schengen space is pre-cleared before take-off. In case a passenger does not fulfill the requirements needed to enter the EU or is unable to fly because of other safety concerns, the appropriate measures are immediately triggered and the respective authorities notified anticipatively.

Increasing number of happy passengers

KLM passengers with European, US and Canadian electronic passports travelling from Aruba’s Queen Beatrix International Airport to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol are already using Happy Flow™ upon invitation, and the number of eligible passengers invited to join is gradually increasing. In fact, children starting from 8 year-old and families are now using Happy Flow™, making it an attractive, seamless and stylish option for families to enjoy their holidays until the last minute! This makes for truly happy passengers!

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Catarina Meleiro
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