Powerful trends are shaping a new generation of air transport community requirements, not just for greater bandwidth but for ever greater connectivity on demand.
“With the continued adoption of mobile communications, travel-related apps, e-aircraft and more, it’s clearly evident that we’re witnessing the dawning of a new era in the community’s connectivity needs and expectations,” says Dan Ebbinghaus, SVP Communications & Infrastructure Solutions, SITA.
To cater for air transport’s fast emerging and future connectivity needs, a transformational communications program – specifically aimed at community requirements – has been underway at SITA to deliver new levels of global and local network services. See ‘A new era of connectivity for air transport'.
As the hub of community communications, the airport will undergo gigantic change as it becomes ever more connected. By 2030, 18,000 potential communications users will be present at the world’s airports. We’ll see 500 new airports – a 30% increase over today – and a 40% capacity growth in existing airports.
Yet one of the community’s biggest bugbears has been the achievement of reliable, secure, high performance communications – consistently across the world’s airports – whether for airlines, ground handlers, maintenance companies, other airport tenants, or indeed the airports themselves.
“Wherever they fly, low cost, hybrid and flag carriers all need high levels of connectivity on demand,” says Ebbinghaus.
“So do all the other airport tenants, be it at the airport or for back office systems off the airport. Ubiquitous usage of cloud-based applications has heighted community demands, as has the need for wireless mobile connectivity at hub and destination airports, for mobile devices and next generation e-aircraft.”
To meet the global need, SITA has continued to roll out a massive and unique airport communications program over the last couple of years.
Called AirportHub™, as an airport-wide shared connectivity platform it ensures airports can provide their airlines, ground handlers and other tenants with secure and reliable bandwidth, including wireless connectivity to access off-airport applications.
“It’s in every airports’ interest to have AirportHub to connect their entire communities,” adds Ebbinghaus.
“Importantly, it also helps to reduce the total cost of ownership through shared infrastructure and community solutions around the world, as part of SITA’s remit to provide value to the community.”
Importantly, it also helps to reduce the total cost of ownership through shared infrastructure and community solutions around the world, as part of SITA’s remit to provide value to the community.
Dan Ebbinghaus, Air Travel Solutions, Strategy Management, SITA
The program’s scale is truly global, with over 260 airports already deployed, delivering around 2,700 connections across the world. The plan is to cover 700 airports, dramatically expanding airport coverage and reaching 80% of airlines’ international destination airports, in the next three years.
“There’s nothing else like it,” says Ebbinghaus. “Making available this standard of communication across the whole community really sets apart the AirportHub program. Again, it underlines SITA’s community role as the backbone and leader in providing air transport communications.
“In addition to cost savings through shared and common use infrastructure, there are vast savings in the time and hassle of sourcing from local telecom companies, managing multiple suppliers and having to cope with long lead times.”
Among the 260-plus AirportHub airports are Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino and Moscow’s Domodedovo, who cite the advantages they’re delivering to airlines and other tenants.
Responsible for ICT Services Commercialization, Lorenzo Passaro at Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport cites the need “to greatly enhance and simplify communications at our airport."
“The tenant offering is now a major improvement,” he adds, “getting rid of a tangle of multiple routers and circuits, with all the associated complexity and cost. As a cost-effective shared platform, AirportHub achieves this at the airport for all tenants.”
Meantime, Igor Borisov, Director Domodedovo Airport, says that AirportHub’s wireless deployment “is great news for our airline partners. Many of them already use this service at other international airports. Now it is available in Domodedovo too.”
Ebbinghaus again: “SITA’s AirportHub is a crucial part of our evolving new generation communications services for connecting the air transport community.
“These are game changing capabilities, for full service carriers, hybrids and LCCs alike – as well as almost any airport and tenant in every corner of the globe.”