Tracking technology world-first for London City Airport (LCY)

By Kevin Rozario |

London City (LCY) is the first airport anywhere to test an advanced passenger tracking technology that, among other things, will be used to significantly optimise the retail space in the cramped terminal building.


The project – which is part of a wider £73m ($123m) UK government initiative to develop so-called Internet of Things technology – has already had a pilot run at the 3.4m passenger gateway, very close to London’s financial district.


One result is the trialling of a new consumer app designed to offer services to passengers from pre-ordering breakfast at one of the food and beverage outlets to the pre-order of products in the main duty free and travel retail unit run by Aelia, as well as seat ordering and delivery within the airport itself (shown above in LCY’s departure lounge).


Speaking to TRBusiness this morning, Chief Commercial Officer Matthew Hall (below), said: “We can now track passengers from the moment they arrive in the terminal to the gate. This will revolutionise our business as we can get a much more accurate picture of how 100% of our passengers move and interact with our facilities.”


With respect to retail, Hall also expects a major transformation thanks to tracking. “We can measure dwell times, how long they spend in different stores, right down to the concentrations of passengers by aisle,” he said. “We will therefore be able to identify hot spots and cold zones and react to that.”



Statistics will be running live from this month which will allow LCY to build a historical database. “The information will be hugely valuable to retail space planning,” he added. LCY currently has 1,600sq m of retail and F&B space but has plans to increase this substantially once it gets approval – which is expects by the end of the year – for a terminal expansion.


While individual passengers are not identified using the generic passenger tracking technology, they will be – with their permission – if they use the finalised app. Both Aelia and F&B operator SSP have participated on the latter.


LCY has just introduced a Boots unit to its offer – responding directly to passenger demands – but in general Hall is upscaling the retail facilities due to the passenger profile. “We are principally a business airport (65%), with 35% leisure passengers and that ratio is not likely to change in the coming years. Around 91% of our passengers are also AB1.”


In addition, the average income of all passengers, both leisure and business, is over £100,000 ($169,000) due to the influence of the City of London on traffic, so when  tenders for new space are offered next year, luxury brands are expected to be at the front of the queue.


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