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IMS EMEA Newsletter Issue 5 - May 2011

 

Cast-iron connectivity with AviNet Airport

 

Vol5-3A Departure Control System (DCS) is fundamental to the daily business of an airline. It acts as the clearing house for a range of tasks that have to be completed before a plane-load of passengers can board and be on their way – check-in, the issue of boarding passes and luggage tags, load control and more.

These days a DCS has to interface with global distribution and computer reservation systems, self-service kiosks, online and mobile phone check-in and boarding pass functions, airline inventory management and, increasingly, electronic border provisions.

DCS are centrally located, either at the airline’s home base or more commonly at the premises of a third-party service provider that could be anywhere in the world – three of the leading DCS companies are in Germany, Switzerland and Arizona in the USA.

Combined with the dozens or sometimes hundreds of destinations in a typical airline route network, that all adds up to a requirement for a constantly available, completely reliable high-capacity global data delivery network.

With AviNet Airport, this is exactly what ARINC has been giving its airline customers for nearly 10 years. And now the company is trialling a way of offering the carriers an even higher level of service.

“AviNet Airport is a wide-area networking service providing reliable, high performance data connectivity into those airports around the world that have deployed our MUSE common-use passenger systems,” said Business Development Manager Richard Allan. “It allows our airline customers operating at those airports to access their remote applications, particularly departure control but also those supporting other functions such as ground handling, boarding and load control. The airlines contract with us to assure the connectivity they need.”

The physical network for AviNet Airport is a particular strength of the service, according to Allan. “While our main competitor completely outsources this function, we take full responsibility. We have bought capacity from a number of telecoms providers and crafted it into a network that we directly manage, round the clock. This approach has allowed us to select the technically and commercially optimum telecoms provider for each region in the world and pass on the resulting benefits to our customers.”

It’s a formula that has won ARINC a total of 18 airline customers in the EMEA region, plus a similar number in Asia-Pacific.

Now British Airways is getting set to trial a new commercial arrangement for the delivery of AviNet Airport service. “As well as providing high-quality, high-reliability connectivity, we have contracted to assure and install the operation of their applications software on our MUSE common-use platform at a number of airports,” said Allan. “It’s a true end-to-end service, with ARINC also taking responsibility for the last leg of the data journey, between the airport’s equipment core room and the screens at the kiosks and check-in desks.”

Allan is hopeful that the trial will lead to wider adoption of the new arrangement among the rest of his customers. “I hope to offer it to them once the current deployment has been completed and put into operation, and the implications of this way of working fully understood,” he said.

In the meantime, Allan is confident of the other benefits that AviNet can already offer to airlines pondering their long-haul networking arrangements.

“First, we can give them incredibly short implementation times,” he said. “If a new customer wants the service in an airport where AviNet Airport and MUSE are already in place, we can implement in 10-15 working days. That’s particularly important to airline IT departments, which can often be the last to know when a new destination has been added. The news tends to filter down to them and then they have to scramble to make sure that their applications are fully up and running in time for the first service into the new location. We can ease that pain for them.”

He points also to the advantages of having a single provider for networking and the airport’s common-use platform: “If MUSE is already in place at an airport – as it is at many locations around the world – there is value in also selecting AviNet Airport: implementation is easier, and support is uniform and supplied from a single source.”

This is the message that Allan will be delivering to leading carriers over the next 12 months. “I want to show them that it makes perfect sense to opt for AviNet Airport connectivity into the airports where they already use our common-use platform,” he declared. “They will benefit both operationally and commercially, and I plan to demonstrate that beyond doubt.”

 

 

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Vol5-4smallSharper eyes on the border

While national borders have to be secure, they must also present no undue obstacle to legitimate travel and commerce.

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