Cloud systems can transform airport operations, says report

27 May 2014 (Last Updated May 27th, 2014 18:30)

A new report by Airports are increasingly realising the need to shift to next generation cloud systems to improve operational efficiency, according to a new report by travel solutions provider Amadeus.

Airports are increasingly realising the need to shift to next-generation cloud systems to improve operational efficiency, according to a new report by travel solutions provider Amadeus.

The insight paper, titled 'IT makes sense to share: making the case for the cloud in common-use airport technology', collected feedback from over 20 senior IT leaders from the airport industry.

It is aimed at investigating the business case for adopting cloud-based common-use systems at airports.

The report indicated that modernising approaches to common-use systems is one way to overcome challenges, such as making efficient use of IT resources, working more collaboratively with airlines and looking for alternative revenue streams to remain competitive.

"It is time to embrace technology as quickly as possible, and develop a fundamental shift in aviation IT."

It revealed that the industry is now ready to adopt next-generation common-use solutions to maximise the operational and commercial performance within the sector.

The report said that even though airports are still concerned about the security risks of the new solutions, the attitudes to these issues are gradually changing.

The paper also revealed that common-use technology has not evolved much since the creation of common-use terminal equipment (CUTE) in 1984, which is still more popular than the more recent common-use passenger processing system (CUPPS), formed in 2009.

As the airports find these platforms to be outdated and cost-ineffective, there is a clear room for improvement, the report said.

London Gatwick Airport CIO Michael Ibbitson said: "Today's setup is reliant on outdated technology and is not really embracing the revolutionary capability of the internet.

"Each airline using our CUPPS system needs to build local integration on-site. The aviation industry has tried to address the problem with the development of CUTE and CUPPS standards but this seems to have reinforced the existing structure, rather than instigate change.

"It is time to embrace technology as quickly as possible, and develop a fundamental shift in aviation IT."

According to the report, cloud-enabling technology has developed rapidly in recent years, with new technologies such as application virtualisation, vastly improved networks and new mobile devices making it viable to switch to cloud-based systems.

Additionally, the paper also noted that cloud technology has the potential to revolutionise airport systems with benefits such as reduced hardware and maintenance costs, saved physical space, and streamlined certification and location flexibility.

Amadeus airport IT head John Jarrell said: "Dedicated cloud providers can lower costs for airports, thanks to economies of scale, amongst many other benefits that allow airports the flexibility to service their customers better."