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SecurityWorld Online Magazine

CCTV Surveillance

Access Control

Biometric ID

Alarm & Detection

Security Parts & Devices

Integration & Convergence

Access Control

Airlines Make Access Easy

European low-fares airline, easyJet, improved their access control system to accommodate the changing requirements of the growing business. But how?

By Honeywell Security


easyJet is a European low-fares airline and flies passengers between 72 European airports.  (Photo by Honeywell Security)




Now in their 11th year, easyJet, Europe’s leading low-fares airline, flies passengers between 72 European airports across an extensive network of routes.  easyJet’s HQ, easyLand, is situated at London Luton Airport and close by is the easyJet Training Academy and Hangar 89, their new offices/aircraft maintenance facility which is opening in October 2006.  easyJet has 16 European bases and all sites are operational seven days a week.  easyJet is not a traditional company; it operates a low-cost business model and has a strong emphasis on flexibility and individual accountability.  As a business that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, staff need constant access to the operation centres. 




easyJet had been using a number of stand-alone access control systems that had become outdated and could no longer accommodate the changing requirements of the growing business.  The access control had become expensive and time consuming to operate, as the numbers of users grew.

easyJet currently employs 4,000 staff of which 3,500 are cabin crew and another 500 management and admin staff.  Any member of crew may be required to fly to and from any of easyJet’s European destinations at any time.  This is a unique approach, which easyJet considers to be more cost effective and flexible -- meaning that no aircraft or crew are idle.

As a result, easyJet required an access control system that could centrally manage all doors at all bases around the U.K. and Europe -- allowing a more efficient, manageable but secure process for staff access to all authorised areas, whilst improving the responsiveness of the system to changing situations.  easyJet’s Property Department manages its access control requirements and Jo Huggett, easyJet’s Regional Facilities Manager, was responsible for sourcing the new access control solution.  With assistance from Building Services Consultancy NorWood Consultants, they specified an access control system from Honeywell Security, to be installed and maintained by Total Security Protection (TSP).  As the project commenced it became obvious that the Training Academy, then relocating to a newly refurbished building, would also need an access control system.  This became even more important following the installation of a new£1m cabin and emergency evacuation training facility within the Academy.




Using easyJet’s internal IT network, the Property Department can now manage the access control for all buildings across Europe -- from any location.  The access control software allows each reader to be programmed individually if required; for example, at one of easyJet’s crew rooms at an airport, or for all readers across the system to be updated simultaneously with information regarding access requirements or changes for staff and contractors.  It also provides system reports on usage at different locations, times and days.  Jo comments, “The reporting system is easy to use and provides extensive information.  For example, I can check everything from whether doors are being left open to monitoring subcontractor access.”

Total Security Protection (TSP) is one of Honeywell Security’s leading installation partners, specialising in CCTV and access control solutions.  TSP’s ability to provide a dedicated installation team to work across Europe was a key requirement for easyJet.  easyJet admits that it is a demanding customer; it gave TSP just three weeks from agreement of the security system to completion of the installation at the Training Academy.  Following this success, an access control system was next installed at easyLand.  Bases at Bristol International Airport and Milan Malpensa Airport have now been brought on-line, and the access control solution will be rolled out to 12 more easyJet bases across Europe.

easyJet chose Honeywell because of its reputation as a reliable global security brand, whose product have a proven track record at other airports and airlines around the world and are used extensively in similar multi-national enterprise level solutions.  Jo Huggett comments, “Honeywell and TSP won the project on competitive tender, offering the best solution, the best package and the most flexible approach. Honeywell is our partner of choice.”




The Department of Transport authorises approval for airlines to produce their own ID cards and so far, only easyJet and one other airline have this licence.  To maintain simplicity and reduce costs, easyJet wanted the ID and access control functions to merge, working towards a system whereby staff would only need one card for all ID and access requirements, Jo adds, “Enabling operational integrity and flexibility -- wherever staff work.”  To date, this has been implemented for all non cabin crew staff.

The photo ID cards are produced and managed via the access control software -- which provides a central database of all staff and contractors -- from which the Property team can view, modify, add or delete card holder data, and produce new or replacement ID cards.  Jo adds, “We had lots of specialist requirements of the system -- all of which were possible through the standard software package.?




Seamless Transition

The door readers were changed in just two days to minimise disruption to staff.  Jo Huggett explains, “This is a very fast moving business, decisions are made quickly and we needed the transition from the old to new system to be quick and smooth.  TSP has managed a seamless transition to the Honeywell system.”



Running Smoothly

Should a member of staff lose their ID card it can be cancelled centrally with immediate effect -- so that access is denied at all bases -- and a replacement card can be created quickly and easily with a new access code.  In addition, the access system automatically disables any staff cards that have not been used at any of the readers within a 30-day period.  Jo Huggett adds, “The headache has been lifted.  We can now solve most problems at the touch of a button.  Access control is just a small part of the Property function, and it’s a benefit that we do not need to focus on it all the time.  It just runs along smoothly in the background.”

The access control system runs across the company’s WAN, with no bandwidth or IT department concerns.


Emergency Training Center

In addition to the installation of the new access control system at easyJet’s Training Academy, TSP also installed a Honeywell Digital Video Recorder (DVR) in the Emergency Evacuation Training room.  easyJet had a requirement to capture images of all staff training on the emergency slides.  The recordings are required for health and safety purposes, and for future reference to check events.  All recordings are stored for seven years.  The DVR provides one terabyte of storage and images are regularly copied to DVD for archiving as part of the health and safety requirement.  Between 250 to 400 people attend the Training Academy each month. 


Flexible Working Methods

When a decision is made easyJet expects instant delivery.  Their standards are high and flexibility is key to success.  easyJet runs on a very flat informal system and wanted to work with a pan-European security company that would offer flexibility to meet their current business needs, and change as the business needs changed.  TSP has provided a future-proof solution and an installation team that is flexible enough to deal with changes at short notice.  Jo Huggett concludes, “We try to be fair with our service providers -- they are all important partnerships for us.  We try to do what’s right for them and for us.  Our aim is ‘Keep it low cost and keep passengers flying, whilst ensuring security remains our top priority’.



Honeywell Security ( is a global supplier and distributor of electronic security systems and solutions.


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