Congonhas Airport Modernizes Security and Operations

Congonhas Airport, located in São Paulo, Brazil, has adopted a real-time location system (RTLS) that guarantees the best use of resources, while reducing costs and risks. Access control, vehicle tracking and speed monitoring are performed through real-time data generation. Internal operations can be monitored and ramp-up data can be displayed on a screen that provides key performance indicators (KPIs) at any given time.

The solution stems from collaboration between Zebra Technologies, GTP-EazyComm and terminal operator Infraero. The system, which includes radio frequency identification, sensors and GPS technology, monitors vehicles and individuals entering and exiting the airport’s ramp.

A partial view of Congonhas Airport

RFID readers are installed at all access points to the “air sector” of the airport—that is, access areas to the boarding and disembarkation room. Readings are performed by eight antennas at the loading gate, four at the landing gate, four at the personal access gate to the ramp, two at the baggage gate return door, two at the freight gate, four at the west gate vehicle access area and two at the east gate for vehicle access. GTP-EazyComm provides all tags, including approximately 30,000 disposable RFID badges annually, as well as 2,000 non-disposable RFID badges, 500 passive RFID tags for equipment and 400 GPS tags for tracking vehicles.

The greatest challenges facing the deployment, according to the companies, were to install and maintain the equipment within an airport environment, and to meet safety requirements and regulations. In addition to the large coverage area, equipment was exposed to such environmental conditions as rain, sunlight and wind.

The main benefit of using RFID badges is in the automatic registration of access areas for security purposes, which allows for the analysis and identification of all individuals. Already, the use of GPS tags to track vehicles allows real-time monitoring for safety purposes, and better manages fleet use for the optimization of operations.

As there is no management system, the solution was integrated into SICOA, Infraero’s personnel and vehicle access registration system. This allows for the identification of persons, dates, times and places of access; as well as the registration of granted or denied passage; the identification and real-time monitoring of vehicles; and the identification of each vehicle’s company, license plate, type, location, date, time and speed.

The database is local, within Infraero’s infrastructure, at the airport itself. Thus, the RFID system allows the automatic capture of information simultaneously through radio frequency sensors, which does not require direct contact with scanned items. Infraero selected GTP-EazyComm, in partnership with Zebra, to design the real-time location system that includes Wi-Fi, Zebra GPS tags, location antennas, and WHERENET products and software. This combination of RFID tracking, using GPS and WHERENET tags, is Zebra’s solution for airports around the world.

According to Lucinio Baptista da Silva, Infraero’s engineer, “Previously, access to restricted areas was done only manually, through physical verification, and now this new technology joins the other existing systems for automated control over access to the ramp.” The technology employed will provide real-time information regarding location, speed, conditions and movements, helping to control people’s access to restricted areas.

Zebra’s WHERENET RTLS is capable of being read from more than a kilometer away, allowing Congonhas Airport and other companies to track assets and personnel within a large facility. With this visibility in business operations, the airport can make smarter business decisions.

According to Vanderlei Ferreira, Zebra’s general manager for Brazil, the firm offers real-time visibility and localization solutions that optimize workflow efficiency for its customers worldwide. “Collaboration with Infraero and GTP-EazyComm,” he states, “has allowed Congonhas Airport to have a valuable RTLS solution to enable airport personnel to detect and analyze ramp operations, resulting in increased efficiency and a safer environment.”

“After identifying the main points of pain at Congonhas Airport,” says Luis Araujo, GTP-EazyComm’s general director, “which was the identification of personnel and safety on the ramp, we knew that the best option was to associate with Zebra, due to its strong global reputation and high-end RFID solutions.” The next steps involve developing analytical solutions using stored data to generate better fleet management and improve airport security.