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A smaller airport that’s thinking big

PVD is now a bona fide international airport poised to grow by tapping an underserved international market and providing an alternative to international travelers in the northeast.

Tim Pimental, Assistant Vice President – Air Service Development, T.F. Green Airport
Published
14 April 2016

Quick and easy does it every time

For years, international travel has been almost exclusively associated with large airports in major metropolitan areas. Passengers living in or around smaller cities who wanted  to travel internationally almost always had to get to one of these airports. International service at mid-sized and smaller airports was simply not practical – for airports or airlines. This is not necessarily so any more and definitely not for Providence, Rhode Island’s T.F. Green Airport (PVD). Thanks  to a partnership with SITA, PVD is attracting international carriers with an affordable common-use solution, making it simple for them to start business at the airport and easily add seasonal routes.

Common-use systems allow many airlines to use the same facilities such as check-in desks and boarding gates. They are used all around the world, but for smaller airports the upfront investment can be prohibitive. To overcome this obstacle, SITA proposed a scalable cloud-based service with no need for investment in additional airport infrastructure. As regional airports do not typically require the same level of complexity  as their larger counterparts, this solution can be shared across multiple small airports by using virtualization technology – thereby removing the significant “per airport” costs that are associated with implementing a traditional model.

Common-use at an affordable price

SITA’s cloud-based AirportConnect® Open is a common- use passenger processing system (CUPPS) that allows new airlines to quickly and easily start up flight operations by sharing an airport’s existing infrastructure with other airlines. PVD adopted SITA’s common-use, in the cloud solution. It is a pay-as-you-go model that allows international carriers to use their common-use passenger management applications at PVD in the same way they do at other airports around the world. PVD deployed this flexible platform, which allows for expansion as new carriers are added. This is in combination with SITA’s AirportHub™ - a shared connectivity platform for airlines, ground handlers and airport-based maintenance companies. It is installed and managed by SITA with no cost to the airport. AirportHub™ simplifies how aviation companies connect to their central systems and applications. This is reducing infrastructure complexity by cutting the tangle of dedicated WAN and LAN cabling throughout the airport.

SITA Solutions

AirportConnect® Open provides an integrated approach to common-use terminal equipment, common-use passenger processing systems and common-use self-service. It is hosted on one platform via SITA’s dedicated ATI Cloud that:

  • Provides standard communications between peripherals required for passenger processing including printers, passport readers, boarding card readers, bag tag printers, self-boarding gates and self-bag-drop
  • Enables airports, airlines and their handling agents to access IT applications in real-time on shared, common-use equipment via the same servers, LAN and core room
  • Allows any airline to use any agent desk, gate position or self-service kiosk for passenger check-in and bag drop and reconciles passengers boarded
  • Utilizes common support staff and standard peripherals with a range of reporting tools for both workstations  and kiosks
  • Supports virtual workspace for relevant, customer-defined profiles including desktop applications, desktop utilities and data storage options

 

AirportHub™ simplifies connecting to central systems and applications from anywhere in the airport by:

  • Reducing complexity of IT infrastructure
  • Permitting airports to deploy shared services to airlines quickly and cost-effectively
  • Allowing airlines to upgrade to higher levels of bandwidth at lower prices
  • No cost provision to airports without competing with airport IT infrastructure

Results

TACV Airlines and Condor Airlines have taken advantage of PVD’s new CUPPS platform with TACV now flying direct from Providence to Praia (Cabo Verde) and Condor to Frankfurt (Germany). In addition to providing a turnkey solution for these airlines, SITA’s AirportHub™ solution allows PVD to grow the size and scope of the system. It also allows flexibility and pricing control to carriers wanting to serve the airport at various frequencies and levels. In less than a year, the system was so successful that PVD added a back-office workstation almost immediately. They scaled up the number of check-in positions from six to ten and the number of gates from two to three. This is accommodating higher passenger volumes and new airlines interested in starting up operations. A third airline (Azores Airlines – formerly SATA) has started service which PVD credits to its common-use ticket counters and gates. Besides revenue from new airlines, the SITA solution is also supporting new revenue streams from additional passengers via concessions, parking and duty-free merchandise.

“Being a smaller airport, it is very important that we can call our SITA team with questions or concerns and know that we will be taken good care of in a timely manner,” said Tim Pimental, Assistant Vice President - Air Service  Development, T.F. Green Airport. “Simply put, we like working with SITA, and our business development conversations with potential carriers have taken on a higher level of interest thanks to the flexibility the SITA system provides.”

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