After four years of research and development, aviation IT specialist SITA today announced successful testing of a breakthrough technology for common use passenger processing in a live airport environment.
For the last three weeks, Orlando passengers on Canadian low-cost carrier WestJet have been both checked-in and boarded using the ground-breaking CUPPS (common use passenger processing systems) technology. CUPPS will save the air transport industry millions of dollars through the introduction of the first-ever common-use IT application acceptable for use by all airports and airlines.
Francesco Violante, SITA CEO, said, “SITA takes great pride in the fact that we have been the technical lead on this collaborative project with other key industry players. It is particularly gratifying to us that the latest version of SITA’s AirportConnect Open is the only fully-integrated, field tested, common-use check-in and boarding platform capable of supporting CUPPS, legacy CUTE, proprietary and web-based applications, as well as CUSS kiosk applications.”
The system went live on 27 January and the pilot will continue until mid-April 2009. When testing is fully completed, SITA’s AirportConnect Open platform will be considered as CUPPS compliant prior to a general product launch later in the year.
CUPPS will eventually replace the current CUTE (common use terminal equipment) technology standard, which SITA brought to the market in time for use at the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984.
SITA’s vice president for airport services, Catherine Mayer, hailed the breakthrough as a major benefit to airlines, airports and passengers. “It will encourage greater take-up of common-use while bringing down costs through greater uniformity in airport business models and a more consistent approach to network connectivity. CUPPS will also support passenger processing outside of the traditional airport check-in desk environment,” she said.
Mayer added, “The overall goal was to develop a common system platform which takes advantage of new technology to facilitate business processes where airlines can use one application for any common-use installation as well as their own dedicated environment. The solution can be easily integrated with other airport systems such as flight information displays. CUPPS brings cost savings associated with check-in and boarding passengers for both airlines and airports, while simplifying these processes for the passengers.”
The development of CUPPS is an official IATA, ATA and Airports Council International sanctioned process and each has a recommended practice in place; IATA RP1797, ATA RP30.201 and ACI RP500A07. It is the first time that all three organisations have come together to mandate the development of a new standard for the industry. SITA’s business director for the airport solutions line, Larry Kretz, is the technical lead on the CUPPS project.