London Gatwick Airport has extensively adopted the use of self-service bag drops (SSBD) at check-in and recently identified the need for hybrid counters that offer both traditional manned passenger check-in and self-service options.

Gatwick Airport Limited enlisted furniture specialist Gate Technologies AF Ltd to work in collaboration with its SSBD supplier Materna IPS to devise a hybrid solution that combined both check-in methods whilst retaining the unique counter style that GT AF had previously developed for the airport.

GT AF worked closely with Materna IPS to create a design that would perfectly integrate their state-of-the-art passenger handling system. The process started with modelling in 3D, leading to the construction of a finished material prototype. After stakeholder comment, the next step was to supply and install four units as a trial in Gatwick’s North Terminal. Following a successful test period, the units are now in use by Canadian airline Air Transat.

The Gatwick hybrid is a completely bespoke unit, designed as a freestanding console that is incorporated into a modified standard desk. Featuring a passport and boarding pass reader, bag tag and receipt printers, facial recognition, and payment modules, the unit has the capability to operate as either a single or two-stage check-in. Document scanners operate from below and above, further speeding up passenger processing, and will accommodate and read from tablet-size devices.

The console is only 445mm wide so as to intrude as little as possible into the desk footprint and not compromise space available for conventional check-in procedures. The counter is fitted out with full CUTE equipment and operates independently from the console.

After successful rollout at Gatwick, GT AF is now offering this enhanced facility to other airports wishing to add flexibility to existing installations, without disrupting existing check-in and BHS layouts.