July 8, 2003
Tech Bytes

As airports expand and officials realize the airport is now more of a business as opposed to simply a landlord, technology is stepping in to make the changes easier to manage.

• As part of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority’s $4.4 billion airport development program, it issued an RFP for a common use network throughout its New Terminal 1. SITA, winner of that contract, will install AirportConnect, an operating platform designed to reduce costs while providing flexibility and enhanced control. The shared-use system will support more than 300 passenger check-in counters and gates, as well as a baggage flow of more than 18,000 checked bags per hour. The shared platform is capable of providing secure access by airport authorities, airlines, handling agents, freight companies, and other tenants.

The installation is expected to reduce operating costs by integrating legacy and new, lower cost hardware and software. For airlines, AirportConnect is designed to reduce both development and deployment costs by automating the process for self-certification of hosted applications. The open design platform will allow airlines to share dedicated facilities.

Another advantage to a shared network is the airport has management capabilities over the installation and operation of one single, managed infrastructure. Also, it provides another revenue source for the airport, which can lease the infrastructure to tenants. And, tenants no longer have the capital investment of a network to worry about when entering into a lease with the airport.

The installation at Toronto is expected to take five years and is broken into phases, with the first phase valued at $6 million.

• Airports are also using Geographic Imaging Systems (GIS) to better manage property and facilities. Some of the areas where GIS can prove useful are capital planning, property/lease management, land acquisition, security and risk assessment, flight path management, capacity planning, parking management, noise monitoring, and environmental assessment.

• The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority has selected Woolpert LLP to develop complete datasets and a maintenance plan as part of its infrastructure data management program. Woolpert’s geographic information systems (GIS) and facilities planning and design teams will develop updated digital orthophotography, planimetric mapping and topographic mapping; complete floor, mechanical, plumbing, and electrical plans for all terminal buildings; complete exterior utility mapping; and exterior and interior lease and signage mapping. The datasets and maintenance planare designed to enhance the decision making capabilities of airport officials.

McCarran International Airport uses GIS, from ESRI, for facilities management and noise analysis — allowing the airport to track aircraft and plan air traffic patterns more appropriately to minimize noise impact.

• Sacramento County Airport is using Lochard’s WebReplay of flight tracks and operations data. WebReplay is a web-based noise and operations display system designed to give residents access to information about the airport noise environment and flight operations from their home computers. For mor information, visit http://airports.co.sacramento.ca.us.

• Axis Communications (www.axis.com) and Proxim Corporation will offer IP-surveillance solutions over WWAN (wireless wide are networking). Using Axis network cameras in combination with Proxim’s WWAN solutions, companies will be able to deploy wireless security and surveillance systems in areas where traditional Ethernet cabling would be difficult or cost prohibitive.