Nationwide's improved security

November 2007 Access Control & Identity Management


Nationwide Airlines has experienced phenomenal growth since it was formed in 1991, but that has not diverted the company's focus on excellence, confirmed by winning the Diners Club 'Best Domestic Airline' award in 2005 and 2006. The same standards were naturally to be applied when Nationwide took the decision to move its head office to a new facility built to requirement in a more central location in Rivonia.

The development of the new head office prompted Nationwide to review security on several fronts. The solution had to reflect the modern, sleek and highly functional image of the company and its new building. But the main requirement was for complete protection and control of access to the call centre and booking facilities and systems, which were to be consolidated in the new building.

As Roger Whittle, managing director at Nationwide explains, "Today, high levels of security have become compulsory in every aspect and process of airline operations.

"Nationwide has committed to implementing a broad range of security measures throughout the business and ensuring our head office building, systems and personnel are adequately protected and controlled is obviously of paramount importance."

IDtek consulted with Nationwide management over a two-month period when construction was underway and then worked at the site of the new offices to ensure that the correct power and data cable provisions were made before commencing installation.


While Nationwide's main requirement for the new system was uninterrupted operational security at the head office. Whittle adds, "Another important factor in deciding to implement IDtek's proposed solution was the potential future benefits of utilising state-driven initiatives in identity management.

"Nationwide is excited about the way in which biometric technology is being applied globally in air travel."

For example, a scan of a passenger's fingerprint at check-in can now link passengers to their bags. A second scan, carried out at the departure gate, ensures that the person who checked in the baggage is the same person who is boarding the aircraft. This process could also prevent the switching of boarding cards. Trip-related data is automatically erased when the customer completes the journey.

Another interesting example is the willingness of business travellers to exchange personal information for faster travel. Frequent flyers with British Airways from JFK to Heathrow can obtain a card that holds fingerprint images allowing them access to a special fast-track security lane.

"It is important for customers to understand that, in addition to security issues, biometric systems can assist with airlines' and airports' desire to smooth the passenger's experience," comments Whittle.

IDtek met regularly with Whittle to assess potential risks at the new premises. Thorrold comments: "Once the client was satisfied that Sagem fingerprint biometrics would serve the company's requirements, design elements such as precise positioning were finalised."


Nationwide approached IDtek after the company's successful implementation of biometric identity control at OR Tambo International. Julian Thorrold, sales executive at IDtek comments, "We met with Nationwide management to introduce them to Sagem fingerprint biometrics and they liked what they saw."

"Nationwide was, in part, attracted to IDtek's proposed solution because it is clear that the South African Government believes that Sagem fingerprint biometrics offer the most effective solution to identity management," explains Thorrold.

Nationwide believes that the company will, in the future, be able to develop additional benefits from adopting the same Sagem technology, such as background checks on staff and on-site identity verification.

IDtek's proposed solution offered compelling benefits to Nationwide and the company mandated IDtek to implement the solution. A total of 150 users in the building gain access to a variety of restricted areas that are monitored by 10 Sagem MA100s and three Sagem OMA200s fingerprint biometric readers. These readers control all restricted doors. This system is backed-up by an intruder detection system from GE Security featuring integrated CCTV support.


"One should include security requirements at the design stage of new buildings. When we got on site, certain slabs had been completed so some core drilling, to accommodate concealed cabling sleeves, was required for the protection of biometric and infra-red beam devices," comments Thorrold.

"IDtek's solution has been so successful that we have awarded IDtek the mandate to immediately begin a roll-out of the solution to our Lanseria operation so we can control and monitor these employees from head office," concludes Whittle.


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