Waiting times for security screening at Copenhagen Airport are usually among the shortest in the world, but a sharp increase in the number of travellers recently has caused long waits at times.
“That is unsatisfactory”, says Copenhagen Airport CEO Thomas Woldbye, who is now presenting a specific plan for bringing waiting times back to an adequate level.
In the first half of 2016, Danes increased their travel activity substantially, and Denmark became an even more attractive destination for many tourists. The effect is particularly pronounced at Copenhagen Airport, which handled 16.7 million passengers in the first seven months of the year, 10.7% more than in 2015, which was a record year. The dramatic climb in passenger numbers at Copenhagen Airport exceeds expectations, including the airport’s own forecasts:
“We’re obviously very pleased to have so many passengers travelling in and out of Copenhagen Airport, and our employees have made a huge effort to handle the higher numbers. We have expanded the airport substantially in recent years, and we will continue to do so in the years ahead to ensure that we have space and capacity for our many travellers,” said Thomas Woldbye, explaining that the efforts are mainly directed at ensuring that passengers can pass quickly and efficiently through the airport, from check-in to their departure gate:
“In the spring, we decided to accelerate the construction of a new security screening facility, and we also increased the number of lanes and added additional staff. The new security screening facility will not be ready until next year, so we’ve decided to implement a number of measures to upgrade our security screening in the short term so we can maintain a high level of service, also at security screening,” said Thomas Woldbye.
Additional staff to be recruited
Under the new plan, Copenhagen Airport will recruit special service staff to assist passengers through security in order to free up security staff to work in the screening area.
“We need more people in security. The airport security demands are increasing, and more and more passengers travel only with carry-on baggage. This and the substantial increase in passenger numbers has intensified the pressure on security screening. Our ambition is for everyone to get through security quickly and easily. This means we need more people, so we have today launched a recruiting campaign to hire 80 new employees for our security screening facility over the next 12 months,” said Thomas Woldbye.
Current dialogue about commuter traffic
Especially the many commuters who use the airport on a daily basis have been affected when the airport has been unable to meet its ambition of predictable waiting times:
“We know that commuters more than most others need their trip to be predictable. We have introduced a number of initiatives, including a special “commuter card” that allows commuters to fast track to the security checkpoint. We have ongoing discussions with the commuter associations about how to improve our service to these frequent travellers,” said Thomas Woldbye.
Several commuters have requested that a separate “domestic lane” be established at the central security screening facility. CPH will interact with the Danish Transport and Construction Agency to explore the legal aspects of establishing such a lane during morning and afternoon hours when many commuters pass through the airport.
New measuring equipment and more precise measurements
Copenhagen Airport uses sophisticated measuring equipment to determine how long passengers wait to get through security, but a review of the measuring equipment has shown that the measurements do not cover the entire area where queues can form, causing imprecise measurements during periods with extraordinarily long queues.
“Unfortunately, our measurements have not been sufficiently precise during periods with many people queueing. That is a mistake, and we would like to apologise to our passengers and customers. We have therefore installed new measuring equipment together with our supplier,” said Thomas Woldbye.
The new measuring equipment was brought into use today, and from October, it will show waiting times divided into the eastern and western parts of the security area. Today, the measurements show an average, whereas two waiting-time figures will be shown in future, making it easy for passengers to see where the waiting time is shortest. This will also be shown on the CPH app and website.
New security screening facility for more than DKK 250 million
In the spring of this year, Copenhagen Airport started building a larger security screening facility, which is scheduled to open in 2017. This construction project, representing a more than DKK 250 million (33.5M eur) investment, will double the square metres in security and add more security lanes.