Global air transport IT provider SITA announced a seven-year deal with Miami International Airport to implement technology to transform the experience for the airport’s nearly 40 million passengers. This is part of the airport’s US $6.4bn capital improvement programme and includes implementation of SITA’s sophisticated self-service technologies and virtualisation.
As part of the deal, Miami International will be the first airport in North America to have the passenger processing platform, SITA AirportConnect Open, deployed in a virtual environment, across the entire airport. The implementation will also meet the industry’s latest common-use passenger processing system (CUPPS) standards.
Virtualisation allows the airport to run the latest technologies and incorporate upgrades to its system efficiently and cost-effectively, while allowing airlines to seamlessly operate at any desk, gate or work station throughout the airport. In total, SITA’s advanced technology will run more than 750 workstations and 60 common-use self-service (CUSS) kiosks.
SITA will also pilot cutting-edge passenger technologies with the airport to investigate new and better services for passengers. This could include self-boarding gates and exploring new technology, such as near field communication (NFC), which allows passengers with smartphones to move through airport checkpoints with a simple tap of their phone. SITA is the industry leader in this area; its technology research team SITA Lab ran the world’s first live SIM-based NFC trial in an airport.
Maurice Jenkins, director information systems and telecommunications, Miami International Airport, said: "This is a significant move for Miami Airport. We are making this seven-year commitment to SITA because of its unique combination of advanced technology, round-the-clock service, on-site support and total dedication to the air transport industry.
"As the largest US gateway for Latin America and the Caribbean and one of the leading international passenger and freight airports in the world, it is vital that Miami Airport partners with an innovative technology provider. SITA is working with us to continually improve the service we provide to the 88 airlines that use our airport and the nearly 40 million passengers they serve."
Paul Houghton, SITA President, Americas, said: "Miami International set new all-time records for passenger and cargo traffic in 2012 and recognises how SITA’s technology can support its future growth. This major long term investment will see improvements in frontline passenger services, including check-in, baggage handling and boarding. Airlines will also enjoy the benefits of improved resiliency of operations and the flexibility of the virtualised AirportConnect Open CUPPS compliant platform."
Along with the virtualised common-use service, which allows efficient use of the airport infrastructure by all airlines, SITA will expand its BagMessage services at the airport for improved baggage processing. This service, which in 2012 delivered 1.5 billion baggage information messages for more than 500 airlines and is used by 200 airports, is proof of the importance of making baggage data available to the right system, at the right time. The airport is also investing in system redundancy to ensure high levels of uptime of its operations.
Additionally, Miami International will work with SITA to ensure the airport’s Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance, the security standard developed by the international card payment industry to provide fraud protection to cardholders.
Compliance is mandated by the card payment industry but it is also sound business practice. It protects clients, reduces card fraud, and reduces the risk of fines and fees.
In 2012, SITA was the world’s first, and remains the only, service provider of a common-use passenger processing system and managed services, to be listed as capable of meeting the global security requirements of the payment card industry.
It achieved Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) certification as a service provider of its common-use platform AirportConnect Open.
The rollout of SITA’s technology included in this seven-year agreement with Miami International will begin in July with dual redundant core rooms being the first deliverable, providing the airport with improved uptime of all its IT services. Pilots with SITA Lab to investigate cutting-edge technologies will begin later in the year and if successful could be rolled out throughout the airport.