Albany International Airport Partners with GE To Transform Airport into Digital Incubator for Safe, Post-Pandemic Air Travel
Airport signs on as first customer, using GE’s Wellness Trace App to track COVID-19 cleaning protocols
NISKAYUNA, NY and COLONIE, NY – Thursday, November 12, 2020 – Albany International Airport in collaboration with GE (General Electric), have launched the first digitally-focused airport aimed at demonstrating new technologies to make air travel safer in a post-pandemic world. Highlighting today’s announcement is the Airport signing on as the launch customer for GE Aviation’s new Wellness Trace App, which the Airport has been using to track COVID-19 cleaning protocols. In the coming weeks, the Airport and GE will unveil other advanced artificial intelligence, machine learning and other digital technologies being deployed as part of this burgeoning Digital Incubator.
“We’re proud to have GE partner with Albany International Airport, as we advance our new and forward-looking Master Plan that will establish a benchmark for the future design and operation of the nation’s airports. The use of GE’s cutting-edge Wellness Trace App is a major first step in our joint efforts to integrate new digital solutions to create safer travel in a post-pandemic world,” said Philip Calderone, CEO of the Albany County Airport Authority.
“It’s exciting that Albany International Airport is partnering with GE on cutting edge technology that may help travelers feel safer since COVID-19 has changed our world,” said Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy. “Being able to scan a QR code and know the last time that surface at the airport was cleaned may alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty people are feeling as they venture out and bring back a sense of confidence. Any reassurance we can give people as they travel that they are doing so safely is important.”
“We believe the digital vision Albany International Airport is advancing is exactly the kind of template airports and airlines will need to ensure safe, healthy travel through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” said Andrew Coleman, general manager of GE Aviation’s Digital Group. “We’re proud to have Albany International sign on as our launch customer. The App is helping them closely track COVID-19 cleaning protocols today, with the potential to track other health screening as the Industry and regulators navigate safe travel in a post-pandemic world.”
WELLNESS TRACE APP
GE Aviation officially launched its commercial Wellness Trace App offering in late June 2020, in partnership with TE FOOD and Eurofins. The App, secured by blockchain technology, provides a comprehensive platform for airports and airlines to track COVID-19 screening for both passengers and employees and set protocols for tracking the cleaning of objects in the airport or aboard aircraft to ensure they are regularly disinfected. Albany Airport is GE’s first customer.
The app’s goal is to have the public light the way for safe travel. The vision for the Wellness Trace cleaning use case is to build a community similar to Waze, TripAdvisor, and Yelp. The app will offer the unique ability for the public to provide real time feedback into the cleanliness of their travel experience. For example, if a traveler needs to stop at a rest stop on their way to the airport, they can check Wellness Trace to find a clean one. If travelers need to grab a bite to eat near the airport, they can check Wellness Trace for the cleanest restaurants nearby. While in the airport, travelers can walk with confidence knowing the environment around them is now transparent and they can access cleaning information with just a quick scan from their mobile phone camera. The most exciting part is that travelers get a voice and can become part of a community where their voice will be heard, and the experience is free for the public. Albany Airport will be the first customer added to the Wellness Trace community, but GE Aviation is actively working to onboard many others right now.
Albany Airport initiated a three-month trial, during which its operations staff will use Wellness Trace to track cleaning and sanitation protocols for key areas and objects around the Airport. More than 45 QR barcode stickers have been placed in areas and on objects throughout the Airport. Using the Wellness Trace App from a mobile phone or tablet, operations staff will be able to validate the cleaning of objects by scanning each QR barcode.
Passengers will be able to simply scan the QR barcode stickers with their mobile device and receive an instant status update for when a given object or area was last cleaned.
Following the three-month trial, GE Aviation and Albany Airport officials will review the experience to discuss any updates or improvements that could be made to App. They also will discuss the feasibility of expanding use of the App for health screening.
Wellness Trace is part of GE’s blockchain solutions portfolio that is expanding its definition of safety in the future by offering food traceability solutions, fuel assurance solutions, and maintenance solutions. For more information check out www.geaviation.com/wellnesstrace
New Digital Incubator Technologies to be added by GE Research
In the following weeks, GE will introduce new digital technologies to test and trial from its Research Lab in Niskayuna, NY. These advanced technologies involving the use of AI, machine learning and predictive analytics and modeling studies that will help the Airport stay ahead of changes it needs to make to ensure the safest possible footprint as air travel makes a gradual return to pre-pandemic levels. The Airport will provide a real-time environment for developing and advancing these technologies.
About Albany International Airport
As the major air center for the Capital Region, Northeastern New York and Western New England, the Albany International Airport offers a wide range of facilities and services. A recently completed multi-million- dollar capital redevelopment project included a new 230,000 square foot terminal, parking garage, air traffic control tower, and cargo facility. The airport has also embarked on a five-year $232 million Capital Plan to improve and maintain safety and to meet the needs of air travelers and air carriers well into the 21st Century.
About GE Aviation
GE Aviation, an operating unit of GE (NYSE: GE), is a world-leading provider of commercial and military jet engines, avionics, digital solutions and electrical power systems for aircraft. GE is the world's Digital Industrial Company, transforming industry with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive. With people, services, technology and scale, GE delivers better outcomes for customers by speaking the language of industry. www.geaviation.com/digital
Todd Alhart, GE Research t. 1 518 387 7914 [email protected]
Jennifer Villarreal, GE Aviation t. 1 616 241 8643 [email protected]