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Regional Check- In: Augusto de Macedo Santos provides a regional update of aviation in Latin America and Caribbean

What’s the most important event happening in your region right now?

Augusto - The 2016 Summer Games in Rio is pretty big! Rockwell Collins has been selected by the Rio Galeão consortium to supply the core airport operations systems for the modernisation of the airport in preparation for the Games in Rio de Janeiro. We're proud of this selection and to be partnering with Rio Galeão on this project because the airport is an  important gateway into Latin America. As an industry leading supplier of mission critical airport systems, we are providing an essential part of the seamless travel experience to the 2016 Summer Games for athletes and spectators, so all-in-all we are rather excited to be such a major part of this initiative.

So Augusto, what are we providing at Rio Galeão?

Augusto - We are providing a number of key operational solutions that will enable the airport to better handle the influx of passengers and aircraft arriving for the 2016 games.

First we are implementing the airport operation database, ARINC AirDB. ,We're also implementing ARINC AirPlan resource management system to optimise the parking positions, baggage carousels, and a number of other airport resources. We’ve implemented ARINC VeriPax, a passenger validation system through automated gates that helps streamline the security process by dramatically decreasing the time needed to screen passengers at security checkpoints. We're providing ARINC AirVue, the flight information display systems, which inform passengers of their flight status on big screens throughout the airport. Finally, we are implementing the fully automated, multi-lingual public announcement system.

One key part of this entire implementation that passengers don’t really see but that impacts the quality of their experience at the airport is the integration between multiple systems. So we are integrating over a dozen different systems to provide more accurate information to the passengers, and airlines and to the aviation community as a whole. Having this information helps everybody at the airport do a better job.

Just how important is that?

Augusto - Well, it is very important because the products I’m talking about  are the ones that operate the key systems at the airport. They  defines where each aircraft parks, it determines if there is enough  capacity to absorb new flights or not, and  informs passengers about where their flight is coming from or if their flight is delayed, cancelled, etc., It's really the core of the day-to-day operations of running of the airport. Without the systems integration services we provided, it would be very challenging for Rio Galeão to handle an event as large as the Summer Games.

Of all the systems Rockwell Collins is implementing for Rio Galeão, which will make the most impact in the run up to and also during the Summer Games?

Augusto - I think ARINC VeriPax will have the most impact.,With VeriPax, both domestic and international passengers will automatically scan their boarding passes and go through automated gates before boarding. First and foremost, this increases security, but it also improves the passenger experience as it simplifies the flow of passengers going through security and reaching the gate area. We expect to have a flow of 50 passengers per minute, which is much, much higher than the airport had previously. The bottom line is that it improves the overall satisfaction of the passenger with the service the airport provides. 

That sounds invaluable for the expected influx of passengers for the Summer Games. What was it that actually made the customers select this particular solution?

Augusto - We participated in an international competition with several other companies for supplying these products to Rio Galeo. Ultimately, we had a superior technical solution, and we were also very open to cooperating with the airport in jointly finding solutions to the challenges that the airport and the wider airport community had. I think the decision came down to a combination of technical excellence and our commercial approach in working together with the airport as a partner to achieve the best solution for passengers, airlines, ground handlers and airport operators alike.

It sounds as though a great strength of Rockwell Collins’ is a collaborative approach—becoming a trusted advisor to the customer. Would you say that was fair?

Augusto - Yes, definitely. Naturally the customer had an understanding of what they wanted to accomplish. What Rockwell Collins was able to do was achieve their objectives with technology and by working together, understanding their specific needs for the airport, and leveraging our in-depth knowledge of the airport environment to provide the very best solution possible.

For example, although we have implemented the ARINC VeriPax passenger validation solution in multiple sites around the world, we developed a tailored solution specifically for Rio Galeão because they had some specific needs. We worked with a new hardware supplier, and developed the specific elements needed for this airport. The same thing applies to the ARINC AirVue flight information systems and ARINC AirPlan the resource management systems.The Rockwell Collins approach is not just world class technology but also the willingness and openness to understand the customers' needs and adapt to offer the very best solution for each project.

There seems to be quite a number of people now converting, or choosing to move from other suppliers to Rockwell Collins.  Why do you think that is?

Augusto - After Rockwell Collins acquired ARINC there was a big shift in terms of our investment and how we are enhancing our products to solve airport’s problems. There was also a shift in how we approach the market and I think that is why we are seeing a number of airports moving from their current vendor to Rockwell Collins. It's a lot of good technology—both developed in-house and through partnering with preferred suppliers in the market for specific elements of a solution— integrated by Rockwell Collins.

More than this though, our collaborative approach means we are much more open to work with our customers in understanding their specific needs and providing tailored solutions to their problems, because at the end of the day that's what we do: we solve problems. And the reflection of our success is a growing number of customers are migrating from existing providers to Rockwell Collins.

So how would you see things changing in the picture for airports in five years' time, in your region?

Augusto - In Latin America, you have a mix of a few very large airports and a number of much smaller airports. In that scenario,  you have a spectrum regarding the of maturity of technology and the  process within the airports. My expectations for the larger airports is that we will continue to provide self-service check-in, self-service bag drop, self-service boarding, and self-service everything, including introducing efficiency improvements through the integration of  biometric solutions, especially for integration and optimised passenger processing during departure and arrival at customs and immigration. 

With respect to smaller airports, I see more and more automation. Often those airports face challenges in having local IT staff, so I see a lot of automation going on, especially in terms  of the airport operations and passengers information systems. 

It's very exciting. Latin America is definitely a growth region. There’s a lot of opportunity as well as a lot of privatisation. Recently, there’s been a shift in airport ownership structure. It is very exciting and we're thrilled to be part of the growth engine for this market. We understand Latin America is a key market for Rockwell Collins' growth in the future.

If you had one last thing that you'd like to say to all the airports in your region, what would it be?

Augusto - Trust us. Trust is an important word at Rockwell Collins. In fact, our motto is, “building trust every day.”  Rockwell Collins is still somewhat unknown to many airports in the region and they might be used to other company names but we provide world leading technology and we have listen to our customers, we tailor our solutions to the specific needs of our customers. So if I had to say one thing, I would say trust us - trust us to listen to your problems and to provide our insight. We have a lot of experience in different markets of the world and we're growing because of the trust our customers have placed in us.

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Thursday, 17 August 2017

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