Published on Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Heathrow upgrading IT to deal with future crises

Heathrow Airport is spending over £400 million in IT to better respond to crises and improve information for passengers and airlines.

On top of this, parent BAA has signed a £100 million five-year outsourcing contract with Capgemini to run its IT services.

The aim is to have “innovative” airport IT systems that will support everything from the landing of planes through to security queues.

BAA chief information officer Philip Langsdale said: “We understand that passengers want short queues, quick information and a pleasant experience that gets them on their way without stress and with the confidence their bags will come back quickly.

“Our airlines need better more timely information and improved service quality. Our priority is improving our passengers' experiences and getting the best value we can on behalf of our airline customers.

“We will have spent over £400m on IT in the five year period ending in 2013 as part of a much wider capital spending programme designed to modernise every aspect of Heathrow. I recognise technology on its own cannot deliver these improvements ... but it is a crucial enabler.”

Heathrow claimed the investment will help improve punctuality by allowing for quicker turnaround of planes and better recovery from problems as they arise.

It is also designed to give the airport and its airlines better systems to deal with events and incidents to minimise disruption and provide the information they need when they need it.

BAA said its other airports - Stansted, Southampton, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen - will “be supported with technology that will better reflect their individual needs as point-to-point airports”.

They will soon begin to operate with independent airport systems, improving their cost and efficiency.

By Bev Fearis

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