How DFW airport envisions post-COVID travel

An American Airlines airliner sits near a hanger at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Texas. (Reuters)
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Updated 13 July 2020

How DFW airport envisions post-COVID travel

  • The airport is working with American Airlines — whose home base is DFW — to roll out a self-check-in for luggage

CHICAGO: With COVID-19 ravaging the aviation industry, airlines and airports worldwide are reining in costs and halting new spending, except in one area: Reassuring pandemic-wary passengers about travel.

“Whatever the new normal ... it’s going to be more and more around self-service,” Sean Donohue, CEO of Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport (DFW), told Reuters in an interview.

The airport is working with American Airlines — whose home base is DFW — to roll out a self-check-in for luggage, and all of its restrooms will be entirely touchless by the end of July with technology developed by Infax Inc. They will have hands-free sinks, soap, flushing toilets, and paper towel dispensers, which will be equipped with sensors to alert workers when supplies are low.

“One of the biggest complaints airports receive are restrooms,” Donohue said.

Dallas is piloting three technology options for luggage check-ins: Amadeus’s ICM, SITA, and Materna IPS.

DFW has become the world’s busiest airport, according to figures from travel analytics firm Cirium, thanks in part to a strategy by large global carrier American to concentrate much of its pandemic flying through its Texas hub.

Last year DFW rolled out biometric boarding — where your face is your boarding pass — for international flights and is taking advantage of the lull in international traffic to work with US Customs and Border Protection to use the VeriScan technology for arriving passengers too, he said.

Delta Air Lines opened the first US biometric terminal in Atlanta in 2018, and some airports in Europe and Asia also use facial recognition technology. It has spurred some concerns, however, with a US government study finding racial bias in the technology and the European Union earlier this year considered banning it in public places over privacy concerns.

The Dallas airport is also testing new technology around better sanitization, beginning with ultraviolet technology that can kill germs before they circulate into the HVAC system.

But it has also deployed electrostatic foggers and hired a “hit team” of 150 people who are going through the terminals physically sanitizing high-touch areas.

“Technology is critical because it can be very efficient,” Donohue said, but customers “being able to visualize what’s happening is reassuring as well.”

DFW has invested millions of dollars above its cleaning and sanitation budget since the pandemic broke out, while suspending about $100 million of capital programs and reducing its second-half operating costs by about 20 percent as it addresses COVID-19’s steep hit to the industry, which only months ago was preparing for growth.


Apple, Google drop Fortnite from app stores over payments

Updated 13 min 23 sec ago

Apple, Google drop Fortnite from app stores over payments

  • Google said Fortnite will remain available on Android, just not through its app store
  • Apple and Google both take a 30% cut from in-app revenue purchases in games

NEW YORK: Apple and Google dropped the popular game Fortnite from their app stores after the game’s developer introduced a direct payment plan that bypasses their platforms.
Apple and Google both take a 30% cut from in-app revenue purchases in games, which has long been a sore spot with developers.
Fortnite is free, but users can pay for in game accoutrements like weapons and skins. Its developer, Epic Games, said in a blog post Thursday that it was introducing Epic Direct payments, a direct payment plan for Apple’s iOS and Google Play. Epic said the system is the same payment system it already uses to process payments on PC and Mac computers and Android phones.
Apple and Google said the service violates their guidelines.
“Epic enabled a feature in its app which was not reviewed or approved by Apple, and they did so with the express intent of violating the App Store guidelines regarding in-app payments that apply to every developer who sells digital goods or services,” Apple said in statement.
Google said Fortnite will remain available on Android, just not through its app store. Android users can download the app from other app stores, although that’s generally not an option for iPhone users.
Epic Games did not immediately return a request for comment. Epic’s Fortnite Twitter account said the company would debut a new short film called “Nineteen Eighty-Fortnite,” a seeming parody of Apple’s iconic “1984” commercial that introduced the Macintosh computer. It has also filed a complaint against Apple in the US District Court in Northern California for dropping Fortnite.