The air transport industry stands on the threshold of a new era as Continental Airlines, the world’s fifth largest airline, is now successfully boarding its first passengers at Orlando International Airport using the new breakthrough technology, common use passenger processing system (CUPPS), which will save the industry millions.
SITA, the air transport IT specialist, has now fulfilled one of the main requirements for CUPPS to be approved as the new standard for passenger processing by airlines and airports worldwide: the successful deployment of the technology with two airlines out of the same airport. SITA and the Canadian low-cost carrier, WestJet, deployed the technology in January for all passengers checking in and boarding all WestJet flights out of Orlando International Airport.
Bill Miller, managing director IT Services, Continental Airlines, said: “Continental Airlines is very happy to be working with SITA and Orlando International Airport to introduce the first-ever, common-use IT application acceptable for use by all airports and airlines. We were delighted to be given the opportunity to test here in Orlando.
“SITA is providing the CUPPS platform and we are very satisfied with the results we are seeing through running on it the application InfoConnect developed by Attachmate, our terminal emulator provider. CUPPS will have enormous benefits for our industry when it goes mainstream.”
SITA took the technical lead on the development of the CUPPS technology over the last four years working in collaboration with other key industry players. Orlando, Continental and SITA are all participants in the International Air Transport Association (IATA) CUPPS Management Group. The development of CUPPS is an official IATA and Airports Council International sanctioned process and marks the first time that all three organisations have come together to mandate the development of a new standard for the industry.
John Vinelli, manager, Information Technology, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, said: “The CUPPS technology will make a significant difference to airlines as it will replace the CUTE standard and avoid airlines having to develop their own applications to work with different platforms. Orlando is pleased to have been involved in delivering this technology to the industry.”
Orlando International Airport currently uses SITA’s AirportConnect Open. This platform 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 common use self service (CUSS) kiosk applications. SITA’s CUPPS solution is inter-operable with other CUPPS platforms i.e. SITA’s CUPPS application can run on multiple vendor platforms and therefore eliminate the cost to the airline of certifying the application on each platform.
Catherine Mayer, SITA’s vice-president for Airport Service, said: “SITA is very pleased to be the first CUPPS provider to successfully fulfil the original CUPPS pilot requirements working with two airline’s CUPPS applications. We have designed a CUPPS module which allows any existing SITA AirportConnect Open customer to upgrade their platform software to support CUPPS applications. This will lead to greater acceptance of common-use and better use of network connectivity.
“CUPPS can be easily integrated with other airport systems such as flight information displays. It brings cost savings associated with check-in and boarding passengers for both airlines and airports and also supports check-in off the airport campus.”
SITA will officially release its CUPPS product later this year after the CUPPS technical specification has been published.