"Every airport IT director or CIO has to think about this choice,"explained Zivkovic. "Each airport is unique. Expanding AMS's outsourcing role was a natural choice for us, especially with ARINC's long history in the aviation and airport services field."
Extension of remote kiosk-based services into hotels, travel agencies and convention centres continues, and remote check-in kiosks willsoon be spread to rapid transit, parking lots, and car rental offices.
"That will be followed by full-service check-in and secure baggagehandling from the same locations," added Zivkovic. As these systems grow, so will the need for fully-integrated operations and maintenance service support.
It is difficult to predict how quickly the large-scale outsourcingof service support will propagate across the airport community. But it is certain that growth, and the airports' increasing focus on using customer service as a marketing tool, will drive the trend.
And more passengers are coming. Not only has air travel nearly returned to pre-9/11 levels, but enplanement at US airports has increased from 683 million in 2001 to 717 million in 2005, with a projected rise to 1.01 billion by 2015.
It is also necessary to combine this with the growth factors at individual airports. For example, Vancouver will host the Winter Olympics in 2010, and it is the focus of Canada's new economic 'Gateway Strategy' to expand commerce with Asia and the Pacific. The airport is undertaking a $1.4 billion capital programme that will add nine new aircraft gates, additional check-in kiosks, and more pre-flight screening, baggage handling capabilities, as well as the airport portion of a new rapid transit link being built in Vancouver.
"Airports can truly differentiate themselves with these systems," said Martin. "At Vancouver these integrated services offer the passenger a unique check-in experience, a real transformation of what it means to go to the airport."
AMS plans to follow the marketing model that has worked for it at Vancouver: seek opportunities to expand by growing from existing service contracts. Its initial customers for large-scale outsourcing willcome from among the many airports where AMS already delivers operations, maintenance and staffing services.
"We will start where we are established as a service provider," added Martin. "Because our customers already know that we deliver exceptionally reliable support with the assurance of service-level contracts to keep their systems up and running." AMS is also working to expand its capabilities by co-operating with other service providers. "Weare looking to partner with other companies that need airport savvy maintenance support for security access control, CCTV surveillance, building and parking control, telecom and point-of-sale services," concluded Martin.
"Outsourcing is a model that works for us," said Vancouver's Zivkovic. "1 would recommend that other airports explore it to see if it can work for them."
"And of course," he added, "they can always come to us to talk about it."
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