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Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited

Because our focus is on running airports, it makes sense for specialist IT functions to be outsourced, which is also much more cost effective. We want to improve our resilience and ensure that we have the right systems in place to share the right information at the right time.

Philip Langsdale, Chief Information Officer, Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited
Published
15 February 2012

Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited (formerly BAA) aims to reduce cost, improve service and transform IT at UK airports with SITA Communications@Airports Solutions.

Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited operates six UK airports: Southampton, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh, London Stansted and London Heathrow – the world’s fourth busiest airport. In total, the six airports manage approximately 105 million passengers annually.

Of all Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited airports, Heathrow, in particular, is a complex real-time business. For example, more than 90 airlines, supported by over 12 different ground handlers operate around 1,300 flights a day using 2 runways operating at over 95% capacity at Heathrow.

Knowing how the airport is operating means that Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited can take decisions in time to get the right resources in the right place - improving both the passenger experience and airline service.

Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited is owned by FGP TopCo Limited, a consortium led by Grupo Ferrovial, which also includes Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec and GIC Special Investments. In 2010, Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited enjoyed revenues of more than £2 billion.

Providing the optimum passenger and airline experience

Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited has an investment program to deliver innovative airport IT systems that will support processes from aircraft landings to security queues to improved service quality at the airport.

Within this investment program, in late 2009, Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited decided to outsource IT services at its UK six airports in an effort to simplify its IT portfolio and drive down IT costs, while improving service levels. At the same time, the company wanted to deliver new solutions for airlines, retailers and other stakeholders— transforming the passenger experience at its airports.

Examples of the new solutions Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited are implementing include:

  • Improved real-time information to keep passengers and airlines better informed and to allow for quicker aircraft turnaround and better recovery from any issues; and
  • Real-time tracking of aircraft and passengers to allow for better planning for the future and more detailed information on flights and the passengers on each flight.


Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited was particularly focused on providing the optimum experience for passengers and airlines at Heathrow—delivering on its key objective to position Heathrow as London’s direct connection to the world and the European ‘Hub of Choice’.

For Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited's other airports, its main goal was to run the airports at optimum cost and service levels, but without the value-enhanced services required by an international airport hub like Heathrow.

In March 2011, after a competitive selection process, Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited chose Capgemini, one of the world’s leading providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services, as its prime contractor. SITA had been working as part of Capgemini’s consortium for over 15 months and were a fundamental part of Capgemini’s overall success. The specific strengths that SITA brought to the consortium were its deep airport operational understanding, its strong airline relationships and its key focus on airport communications services across all areas of airport operations.

Managing all telecom services for Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited's airports

Under the five-year, US$65 million agreement, SITA will orchestrate and manage telecom services across all of the Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited airport IT network environment. This includes provisioning network, telecommunications and radio services for the airports, while also incorporating functions such as service transition, transformation and commercialization of IT services.

More specifically, SITA will provide LAN, WLAN, voice and radio systems, ITIL-based service management and contract management. This covers:

  • 90,000 LAN points
  • 1,300 WLAN access points
  • 2,800 LAN switches
  • 4,000 professional mobile radio terminals

In addition, SITA will support a fully resilient WAN, which connects the airports with Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited's administrative and technical facilities. Finally, 60 network and radio operational specialists successfully transferred from Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited to SITA.

For SITA, the deal represents a major outsourcing win, along with an opportunity to continue to develop its portfolio in conjunction with a world leading airport operator. Service transition successfully completed in May 2011 with planned service transformations taking place during 2011 and 2012.

Realizing lower costs, higher revenues and better service

SITA will provide a number of important benefits, via Capgemini, to Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited and the airports it manages. These include:

  • Reducing telecom costs by more than 10% over the five years of the contract;
  • Improving service levels and enhancing tools and processes across all areas of IT delivery, in part by leveraging both Capgemini and SITA’s Six Sigma expertise;
  • Delivering increased resilience, business continuity and information security;
  • Enabling Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited to develop a portfolio of high-quality products and services at its airports by leveraging its IT services and platforms to offer wider benefits to all airport users;
  • Establishing a commercialization business plan aimed at significantly growing non-aeronautical sales revenues over five years; and
  • Applying SITA “know-how” in running and transforming airport network operations centers.

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