If you're an airport with big ambitions, how do you go about attracting international airlines?
Offering the airline the same level of services that they get at much larger airports is a good start. Having access to flexible and scalable IT resources, so that the airport and airline can accommodate passenger growth easily, is also high on the list.
But it’s not always that easy if you are on a tight budget. Often the airport needs to invest its own capital upfront to get its facilities and IT systems up to scratch to meet the airlines’ needs.
The issue is encouraging some airports to take a serious look at running their common-use infrastructure in a dedicated cloud center rather than onsite.
One of the main advantages of cloud is that services are paid for on the basis of consumption.
This pay-as-you-go type of model removes the need for large upfront capital costs and spreads operating costs more in line with activity.
A cloud-based approach to common-use requires airlines and airports to pay only for a single, secure connection to the cloud data center.
One airport that has opted for a cloud approach is TF Green Airport (PVD) in Providence, Rhode Island, US.
“As an international airport we need to provide the best facilities to overseas airlines to encourage them to set up routes to Rhode Island,” explained Kelly Fredericks, President and CEO, Rhode Island Airport Corporation.
“Because it is a cloud-based service we do not have to invest in infrastructure on site here at the airport and new airlines can be up and running quickly and adding seasonal routes will be easy.”
Apart from reduced upfront investment, TF Green Airport was attracted by the scalability and flexibility of the cloud solution provided by SITA.
“Installing this system makes it quick and easy for airlines to work here in the same way they operate at other airports,” noted Fredericks.
The scalability and flexibility are going to become more important to airports as common-use infrastructure expands beyond CUTE workstations to include self-service kiosks, baggage systems, flight displays and boarding gates.
Using a cloud provider enables an airport to introduce common-use services fast and grow those services without the need for the airport to upgrade its onsite IT infrastructure.
Airlines also benefit. Releasing new versions of applications for a common-use environment on site can be time consuming and costly with a separate configuration and certification process needed for each common-use airport that the airline flies into.
With a cloud set-up the new version of the airline application is uploaded centrally with access available to all airports across the airlines route network – a process that can take minutes rather than days.
Building on decades of common-use experience, SITA has deployed its AirportConnect Open platform within its dedicated Air Transport Industry Cloud (ATI Cloud) to help airlines and airports tap into the benefits of a cloud approach.
The solution is highly scalable and what's more, all SITA’s cloud-based services are available in “pay as you go” models (‘per passenger’ or ‘per month’ fixed fees). It also saves airport space by removing the requirement for core-room equipment.
In addition, with SITA’s cloud solution airport staff and ground handlers can access key data and applications from mobile devices, including handheld computers, tablets and smartphones.
Today SITA offers the widest range of common-use services in the cloud of any supplier, including CUTE/CUPPS desktop services, CUSS kiosk services, Departure Control System, Baggage Reconciliation System, Flight Information Display System (FIDS) and automatic boarding gates.
We are continuing to add more cloud products and services during 2015, ensuring that airports stay on top of developments in passenger and baggage operations, so keep an eye out for more news.