Airlines Continue to Test NFC for Boarding; BLE Piloted for Airport Navigation

France-based telco Orange and Air France, along with airline industry and information technology services provider SITA have launched a trial of an NFC boarding pass application for the airline’s route from Toulouse to Paris, and SITA is also piloting Bluetooth low energy beacons at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

The six-month trial of NFC boarding passes involves a few hundred Air France Flying Blue frequent flyer club members with NFC-enabled handsets from Orange, who will be able to tap NFC readers in French airports, Toulouse-Blagnac and Paris-Orly, to board airplanes and access airport lounges and priority lanes for airport security. Participating passengers will check in at the Toulouse airport as they normally would, but their boarding pass information will be stored on a SIM card in their smartphones, rather than on a paper boarding pass or in an electronic bar code.

“To our knowledge, this is the first time in the world that the full boarding pass data, as defined by IATA, is stored in the passenger mobile phone,” SITA’s NFC program director, Stephane Gruber, told NFC Times. Earlier trials involving such airlines as Japan Airlines and Scandinavian Airlines have introduced mobile-NFC boarding, but use frequent flyer numbers.

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