National Academies Press: OpenBook

Integrating Airport Information Systems (2009)

Chapter: Chapter 2 - Current State of the Industry

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Current State of the Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2009. Integrating Airport Information Systems. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14234.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Current State of the Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2009. Integrating Airport Information Systems. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14234.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Current State of the Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2009. Integrating Airport Information Systems. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14234.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Current State of the Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2009. Integrating Airport Information Systems. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14234.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Current State of the Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2009. Integrating Airport Information Systems. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14234.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Current State of the Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2009. Integrating Airport Information Systems. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14234.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Current State of the Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2009. Integrating Airport Information Systems. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14234.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Current State of the Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2009. Integrating Airport Information Systems. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14234.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Current State of the Industry." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2009. Integrating Airport Information Systems. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14234.
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Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

7In the aviation industry, airport “integration” has been a buzzword for a long time. Initially, the integration effort in airports, as in many other industries, focused solely on the technology. It was common practice to try to make the data fit into the integration technology. Today, airports focus more on data and information processes to ensure that these processes provide accurate, useful information. To assess the current state of the industry and create this Handbook, several research tasks were conducted. These tasks were designed to illustrate the current state of the industry relative to the following factors: • Level of integration of airport systems, • Data related to systems integration, and • Business-critical information such integration delivers. This chapter provides the research team’s findings and describes current standards related to the delivery of business-critical data and information. Research Findings Phased Integration Airports tend to integrate in phases, usually by division or functional area. Airports might start the integration process with one area, such as Flight Scheduling or Maintenance. Data rules are applied through an airport information hub to “scrub” clean the data from that area. Then the air- port brings another division or functional area into the integration effort. Specific integration efforts that address both technology and information processes vary widely from airport to airport— sometimes, from department to department within an airport. Integration of Financial and Operational Data Airports have had varying degrees of success in integrating their financial and operational data, and the size of the airport does not necessarily indicate the level of integration achieved. Some airports have engaged in significant integration, particularly those airports that are moving into a common-use environment. Some airports have successfully integrated the Maintenance work order systems with the Human Resources (HR) payroll system, ramp data with gate man- agement systems, and landside activities with Security and Finance. Some airports have achieved benefits by integrating their financial systems with those of HR. Many airports have not success- fully integrated operational activities with financial activities. For example, flight information management systems typically do not feed financial management systems. C H A P T E R 2 Current State of the Industry

Common-Use Environment The trend in the airport industry is toward a common-use environment, which draws on mul- tiple sources of information to compile and display the most up-to-date data. The airport pro- vides the systems, and the airline tenants access these common-use systems through facilities, such as ticketing, as well as passenger check-in and boarding equipment. One reason for this trend is the failure of many airlines to maintain systems upgrades. For example, most airlines have not updated their legacy flight information display systems (FIDS), leaving airports in need of current, accurate integrated flight information for operational and financial activities. A common-use environment enables airports to control and upgrade systems such as FIDS. Airport-owned FIDS solutions, including Recommended Practice initiatives for flight informa- tion management systems or the new airport information data exchange solution, offer state-of- the-art technologies to tenants and passengers. Many airports are moving toward common-use systems as new use and lease agreements are negotiated. Data Gaps Some airports benefit from airport-owned FIDS solutions by using multiple feeds from various software systems and services and then funneling the data through airport operational database systems to validate the information received directly from the airlines. However, air- ports have encountered a problem using FIDS—gaps in the data feeds. For example, a gap can exist when an airline has planned a maintenance-related landing or takeoff at an airport. Because this information is not identified as a scheduled flight, it is not downloaded into the FIDS. Nor will the data feed from the Official Airline Guide (OAG) normally include this flight. The airport must still rely on self-reported information from the airline to bill them for this landing or takeoff. Airports rely on aircraft tail numbers to track the financial activities associated with each air- craft at an airport. The types of data that can be collected include aircraft equipment model and type, tail number, airport arrival and departure times, airline flight number, passenger counts, aircraft weight and balance data, and whether a flight is scheduled or non-scheduled and domes- tic or international. Every aircraft transmits a signal from its transponder to the Federal Avia- tion Administration (FAA) radar systems. These real-time data are collected and disseminated by the national aeronautical database, which is maintained by the FAA National Flight Data Cen- ter (NFDC). NFDC is responsible for collecting all aircraft flight data. Direct feeds into airport systems can be set up through the NFDC. However, the FAA censors its data, which can create significant data gaps. For example, aircraft tail numbers for commercial flights may be trans- posed. The airport receives a fictitious number instead of the actual tail number, even though FAA-certificated landing and takeoff weights of an aircraft are denoted by tail number, and most airports charge airlines based on those weights. Some airports struggle with these gaps in data. Of critical importance to any airport’s decision- making process is that senior management should have a good understanding of the systems, the sources of the data, and the rules of the data. (Chapter 5 offers further discussion about the sys- tems, the various sources, and the rules.) Billing from Flight Data Using flight data from information systems for real-time billing has not been entirely embraced by the airlines. Some airports purchase financial software that captures aircraft tail numbers— without realizing that their contractual obligations prohibit them from using the resulting data as a billing tool, and thus can only use the software results for audits. 8 Integrating Airport Information Systems

Current State of the Industry 9 Before purchasing the software, airports should check with their legal department to deter- mine if there are contractual constraints, which might affect the usefulness of the software and, if so, how these contract issues can be addressed. Passenger Fees Some airports use airport-driven data sources, such as common-use kiosks, check-in systems, ticket readers at the gate, and passenger manifests, to capture passenger counts needed to bill for passenger fees. These sources can automatically capture the passenger counts for arriving and departing flights. Automatic capture eliminates the need for airline self-reporting, and thus alle- viates the typical delay for payment to the airport. Further, airports are testing video analytic technology to report and analyze passenger infor- mation, including counting passengers as they enplane and deplane the aircraft. This technology allows airports to audit payments based on airline self-reporting or to automatically and accu- rately bill airlines for each passenger fee—fees for enplaning and deplaning, common-use fees, and international passenger fees. If airport-airline agreements do not preclude it, the ability to generate immediate billing of passenger fees would allow airports to reduce the current 60- to 90-day grace period airlines usu- ally have for payment of such fees. In the current financial state of the industry, this shortening of the payment grace period might reduce the potential for significant bad or pre-petition bank- ruptcy debt resulting from several months of unpaid fees and charges. Should the airline seek bankruptcy protection, this may strengthen the position of the airport by increasing the regular- ity of the payments, suggesting the payments were made in the ordinary course of business, and increasing the likelihood that these payments will be retained. Space Planning and Physical Facilities Information needed for effective planning and space use decisions is rarely integrated. Infor- mation about land ownership, Master Plans, current construction, blueprints, and as-built con- struction might not be in a format that is readily available or easily integrated into financial and operational activities. Airports are proprietors and calculate returns on airport land investments. Calculations rely on data such as land cost, other investment expenditures, and effects on new development that are not in the Master Plan. Senior managers may not have ready access to accurate information about the physical real- ity of their airports—facilities, raw land, land under development, buildings, and infrastructure, such as underground cables or plumbing. Without this information, an airport’s finance and engineering reporting might not provide accurate and meaningful data for senior management in a timely manner. Concessions Airports have typically performed cost-benefit analyses and determined that integrating conces- sion information is an arduous process and the results may not be worth the cost. Concession report- ing is often done manually. Cashier systems differ widely from concessionaire to concessionaire, with as many as 30 or more different types at some large airports. Further, these concessions are often part of a franchise or store network, each with their own reporting systems and requirements. As the retail industry settles on common standards, information integration may become easier. Airports need to examine these concession systems, watch for standardization in the retail industry, and explore integration of these systems. For example, Singapore Changi (SIN) airport

has integrated their concession information in a common-use system that feeds information into their financial management system. Intelligent Sensor Technology Intelligent sensor technologies are increasingly available to airports. Imagine a passenger goes directly to a kiosk check-in. The kiosk uses advanced facial recognition algorithms and the pas- senger’s fingerprint and iris are scanned. The passenger is issued a smart boarding pass that con- tains a smart chip. This chip contains all the information about that passenger, the flight, and gate, and allows access through the international access control points all the way through to the gate. The passenger’s passport is scanned and the data are integrated with the border con- trol agencies software system. Once at the gate, intelligent wireless sensors, with built-in memory, collect the data indicat- ing the passenger has gone through the gate access control door and is boarding the aircraft. These advanced sensors contain plug-in functions (called intelligent nodes) including advanced wireless communication technology and intelligent video recognition software (Bluetooth®, sonar, radar, and camera input). These software solutions are fully integrated with the airports access control systems, advanced wireless networks, and the border control agency. Radio Frequency Technology Airports are also beginning to adapt to emerging technologies and, in some cases, melding old with new. RF technologies can be paired with newer systems and emerging software to enable airports to track equipment, baggage, commercial vehicles, parking data, and many other aspects of an airport’s operation. With radio frequency identification (RFID), radio waves transmit data from a small tag embedded in equipment, products, and vehicles. A technology called “chip-less RFID” allows data to be written directly on the tag to track history, parts, maintenance, and access. Bar Coding Some airports are using two-dimensional (2-D) bar codes to encode data in standardized for- mats. The standardization of bar code technologies enables data transfer to many different sys- tems. Airlines can send 2-D bar codes to a passenger’s mobile phone to serve as the passenger’s boarding pass. Historically, bar code applications for mobile phone technology have been restricted because mobile phone companies used data technologies that were not compatible. However, the Inter- national Air Transport Association (IATA) Resolution 792 specified the use of Portable Data File 417, and IATA developed a standard for 2-D bar codes. This data format standard for 2-D bar codes makes data exchange technology cost-effective and readily available and enables single-scanner types and mobile devices to read data from the three proven and widely used technologies—Aztec, Datamatrix, and Quick Response. Video Analytics Airports are also using innovative technology such as video analytics to capture data. For example, some airports are testing the use of video analytics to analyze behavior, objects, or atti- tude. Video analytics algorithms are integrated with systems called Intelligent Video Software. This technology can evaluate the contents of video to determine user-specified information about the content of that video. It has a wide range of applications including airport safety and 10 Integrating Airport Information Systems

Current State of the Industry 11 security. Video analytics applications are used at today’s airports to perform the following data capture tasks: • Count the number of pedestrians who enter a door or geographic region; • Determine the location, speed, and direction of travel; • Identify suspicious movement of people or assets; • Inventory license plates; and • Evaluate how long a package has been left in an area. As mentioned earlier in the discussion of passenger fees, airports are also using video analytics technology to count the number of enplaning and deplaning passengers. Next-Generation Air Transportation System The Next-Generation Air Transportation System fully integrates information that airports and airlines need. Decisionmakers can see beyond the airstrip and monitor the activity on con- courses, in the parking lots, and at the gates. This level of integration and various software tools could enhance security and increase revenues as rates and charges become more accurate. Airport Surface Detection Equipment–Model X (ASDE-X) pulls information from several sur- veillance sources including radar, Automatic Dependant Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) sensors, and transponders on the aircraft themselves. New enhancements and the introduction of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) capture the positioning of aircraft and surface vehicles at airports. ASDE-X can also be used with the FAA’s new software management tools (such as FAA’s Surface Management system, which extends surface monitoring beyond the runways to the ramp areas of an airport). This enables an airport to capture the activity of aircraft and vehicles on the ramp and at the gate. This Surface Management system essentially extends ASDE-X to provide a detailed understanding of the areas in and around an airport. These technologies can result in the integration of information so that all areas of the airport, not just the runways, are under constant monitoring, assessment, and analysis. The FAA toolbox of new technology also includes satellite-based approaches called Area Nav- igation and Required Navigation Performance. These tools enable precise approaches at airports when the proper procedures are in place. The FAA has authorized over 200 new Area Navigation procedures at 62 airports. The Next-Generation Air Transportation System provides decisionmakers with a deeper level of understanding by monitoring and assembling key data points from all areas of the airport. With a detailed understanding of all movement and activity, airports can more effectively and efficiently charge for their services. Part of this plan includes ADS-B. The FAA upgrade solution for improving the present Air Traffic Control system is the Next- Generation Air Transportation System, and ADS-B technology is at its heart. For airports, the implications of this system are profound. The system, based on satellite positioning of both air- craft and ground-based equipment, enables operators of planes and vehicles to immediately ascertain the location of all others in their vicinity. From an operational perspective, emergency response vehicles and operations vehicles can safely move across the airfield in minimum visibility conditions. Likewise, aircraft taxiing on the ground will ultimately be aware of all other aircraft and ground equipment maneuvering airside when all software solutions have been implemented. Logistically, when all vehicles and aircraft are equipped with ADS-B, airlines as well as airport operators will be able to dispatch necessary resources on a just-in-time basis. This will translate into lower costs and operations that are more efficient.

ADS-B will also have a favorable impact on noise contours around the airport. The airport operator working in cooperation with the FAA and the airlines serving the community will iden- tify preferred routes, preferred altitudes for inbound aircraft, and minimize noise and pollution over the most congested areas. With the integration of such information, a manager’s dashboard could easily depict antici- pated arrival and departures delays, related weather conditions, and the resources available to address airfield anomalies. Adaptive Compression Adaptive compression refers to the application of a complex algorithm that dynamically adjusts to the subject matter of the data being used. Using advanced technology, the FAA has been applying this technique to minimize ground delays at airports and has deployed it in more than 11 locations. The FAA Adaptive Compression software scans for available slots at airports. During aircraft-delayed operations, it automatically fills the slots and reassigns new slots for the delayed flights. This increases customer satisfaction and minimizes ground delays that cause con- gestion on the taxiways and at airport gates, especially during serious weather events. This also minimizes the Department of Transportation (DOT) reporting of flight delays attributable to an airport. The FAA uses adaptive compression in conjunction with its airspace flow program to share data with the airlines and airports. This gives the airlines and the airports the option of accepting delays due to weather and gives the airlines the additional option of accepting longer routes to maneuver around the weather. This provides airlines and airports with multiple options when dealing with delays and inclement weather. Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program The percentage of Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) is an important consideration that affects concessions and many airport contracts. The Department of Transportation DBE Plan requires airports to calculate the percentage of the total construction contract amounts paid to qualified subcontractors, suppliers, or joint partners for federally funded contracts, and the percentage of concession program revenues generated by DBE concessionaires. These calcula- tions must be reported annually to the DOT and FAA in the airport’s required reporting on its compliance with its approved DBE Plan. Key data necessary to generate the required calculations must be manually tracked, or the systems that contain the necessary data must be integrated. The easier and faster these calculations can be performed, the more responsive airport management can be when queried by elected officials and interested community members, and the more accu- rate the federally required reporting can be. Airport Lease Agreements The use and lease agreements at airports usually provide how the rates, fees, and charges are to be determined and what rate-making methodology will be followed. Frequently, the agree- ments establish the source of the data necessary to calculate the rates, fees, and charges. For example, the agreement might state that, within a set number of days from the end of the month, each airline will self-report for billing purposes the number and type of aircraft landings, num- ber of enplaned and deplaned passengers, and number of originating and departing passengers. Many airports have use and lease agreements that cover such diverse issues as who is respon- sible for the flight information data, what access and control each party has over the technology and telecommunications infrastructure, and what rights the airlines operating at that airport have to approve or veto capital projects, including IT projects. 12 Integrating Airport Information Systems

Current State of the Industry 13 As airports undertake efforts to integrate, these contractual rights and duties must be under- stood and managed. When new leases are being negotiated, future integration plans should be considered and flexibility provided in the use and lease contracts, as necessary to achieve the full benefit of integration. Rates and Charges Airports could realize substantial cost savings and operational efficiency by integrating finan- cial management systems with operations. Finance is the heartbeat of the airport’s data system and powers the rates and charges, budgets, and Capital Improvement Program (CIP). Many air- ports have implemented some type of rates and charges software system but have had difficulty with some of the complex rules surrounding the rate-making methodology. Airports use differ- ing methodologies—usually some form of residual, commercial compensatory, or hybrid—as their use and lease agreements provide, and many use different methodologies for different cost centers within the airport, making development of software systems a challenge. Solutions that combine the following functions are just in the beginning stages of development: • Encapsulate all rates and charges, • Update the CIP and the Master Plan, and • Provide real-time budget and planning tools. Whether the airport is large or small, it has the same interest in ensuring that any integration effort is justified by saving money, improving data accuracy, or improving customer service. Therefore, more airports are analyzing the cost-benefit before undertaking an integration project. Standards for Communicating and Using Airport Information Aviation industry groups as well as international standards setting organizations are creating global standards—agreed-on formats and methods—for transferring data. These standards are crucial because they provide uniform, consistent methods to communicate data. Industry mem- bers unilaterally agree to use these standards to increase their ability to integrate. System devel- opers do not have to purchase these standards, just as writers do not have to purchase English. The standards are updated as new technology becomes available. Standards usually contain open-architecture specifications controlled by objective third-party associations and organiza- tions. No single developer or vendor has control over the specifications. (For a discussion of open architecture, see Chapter 6, Architecture, Strategies, Technologies and Contracts.) Software vendors can use these standards to develop systems that are compatible with other systems. Other vendors can create customized functions to add onto these systems. Anyone can develop add-in applications to improve the software for their purposes without obtaining per- mission from the vendor. This next section briefly describes some additional accepted standards for the aviation industry: • Recommended Practices, • Common-Use Passenger Processing Systems (CUPPS), • Airport Operational Databases, and • Extensible Markup Language (XML). Recommended Practices In aviation, industry consortiums that consist of airports, airlines, and other organizations develop similar standards but refer to them as “Recommended Practices” or various requirements-setting

14 Integrating Airport Information Systems documents. IATA and the Air Transport Association (ATA) are global aviation industry leaders in developing Recommended Practices, technical requirements, resolutions, and general busi- ness requirements, specifically for airlines, airports, and aviation service providers. Common-Use Passenger Processing Systems Together, IATA and the Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) began the complete overhaul of the Common Use Terminal Equipment (CUTE) systems still used in many airports today. The CUTE Recommended Practice relied on standardized equipment, rather than using a standardized technology, and had not been updated since 1984. As a result of a 3-year collaborative effort of aviation industry groups, CUPPS, using XML technology, emerged as a Recommended Practice in the fall of 2007 as specified in the following documents: • International Air Transport Association Recommended Practice 1797, • Air Transport Association Recommended Practice 30.201, and • Airports Council International Recommended Practice 500A07. CUPPS, as a technology, is more flexible and can be used in many different types of equip- ment and software systems that drive the FIDS, dynamic signage, airport messaging, kiosks, and display boards. The architecture lifecycle illustrated by CUPPS is evolving with input from many organizations, developers, and vendors. As the technology continues to develop, compliance tests certify that specifications are met until finally the technology becomes a standard that gives users, vendors, and developers consistent and reliable access to the technology. Moreover, CUPPS provides a common foundation on which airports and vendors can build customized software—as long as the software uses the CUPPS Recommended Practice. CUPPS can be used in an airport to integrate all passenger data; airports that do not have a common-use environment can translate data from many airline systems into the CUPPS Recommended Prac- tice to use in a common software system. These types of standards will facilitate the following benefits for airports: • Flexibility around peripheral deployment and updates, • Ease of platform deployment, • Support for added security and remote management, and • Defined network requirement documents. Airport Operational Databases Aviation software vendors have developed a strategy for integration using XML technology, airport operational databases (AODB) that act as a sort of clearinghouse for data from other soft- ware solutions, allowing for data to stream from one system to another. These types of airport operational databases use various strategies for collecting, storing, and transmitting information. Extensible Markup Language XML is a technology used for tagging, interpreting, and transmitting data between applica- tions. Most standards for industry and government use XML to transfer data between hardware and software systems. Data are stored in plain text, which does not depend on software or hard- ware. XML is also a way to describe and display data in a common language for standardized data exchange. Translators using these standards can also help pull information from legacy systems. System developers do not have to purchase XML or any standards based on XML, just as writers do not have to purchase English to write a handbook. Electronic business XML, commonly known as e-business XML or ebXML, is a family of XML- based standards that translate data into data packets that can be transferred via the Internet.

Sponsored by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) and United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), ebXML standards provide a common method to exchange business messages, conduct trading relationships, communicate data in common terms, and define and register business processes. Collaboration and Sharing Information The elements discussed in this chapter reflect the growing movement toward a more collab- orative approach to integration at airports. The Next-Generation Air Transportation System, 2-D bar codes, adaptive compression, Recommended Practices such as CUPPS, and innovations in video analytics, intelligent sensors, and XML technologies—All of these illustrate the shift toward systems that have an open-architecture, integrated and collaborative environment. CUPPS is an especially valuable example of the integration efforts taking place. CUPPS applies a specific XML schema within a recommended practice, creating standardized processes for inte- gration. CUPPS uses information from many outside sources, including airlines, the FAA, and other agencies, and is an initiative that all parties can embrace. These developments represent a shift toward a standardized integration approach, where information is shared and integration is now more feasible than ever before. Current State of the Industry 15

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TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Report 13: Integrating Airport Information Systems is designed to help airport managers and information technology professionals address issues associated with integrating airport information systems. A summary of the efforts associated with the development of ACRP Report 13 was published online as ACRP Web-Only Document 1: Analysis and Recommendations for Developing Integrated Airport Information Systems.

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