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Integrating Airport Information Systems (2009)

Chapter: Chapter 5 - Airport Systems

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Airport Systems." 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 5 - Airport Systems." 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 5 - Airport Systems." 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 5 - Airport Systems." 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 5 - Airport Systems." 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 5 - Airport Systems." 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.

Airports can have over 1,500 systems with various degrees of automation. The migration of data from one system to another can be challenging, especially when legacy systems are involved. This chapter presents some background information about airport information systems. Data Processes A common element to all airport systems is data. When integrating data from multiple sys- tems, managing the information is key to understanding airport systems. Understanding how to collect the data, the source and distribution of the data, and the tools to begin that process help an airport understand and manage complex information. When integrating systems, identify key design issues early to ensure that the data required for integration has a proper storage area in the new system. Data can be lost during integra- tion if the new system does not have a placeholder for that data, especially when migrating from one system to another and, even more challenging, when the system involved is a legacy system. Consider the following example of how data can be lost without placeholders. A company uses a mail merge program similar to Microsoft® Word’s mail merge. Placehold- ers are set for the name, company name, and address. If the company name placeholder is left out, then the data has no clear path to travel and it gets lost. Many integration failures result from not properly identifying the data and not planning for data placeholders to store the infor- mation properly. Integration Failure Example Integration projects can be problematic and costly. One example is the experience of the State of Colorado.1 The State had contracted $325 million for five new software systems and upgrades and experienced failures for each one that culminated in 2007. The State was unable to (1) pay welfare benefits on time, (2) accurately pay road crews overtime, (3) track voters or unemployment benefits, and (4) issue license plates. The Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles, which serves 64 counties at 107 locations—all having different requirements and systems—experienced irregularities in the transfer of data from 57 C H A P T E R 5 Airport Systems 1 Imse, Anne and Alan Gathright. “Ritter seeks to bring order to computer chaos: Denver tech exec to steer sys- tems’ design, purchase.” Rocky Mountain News July 23, 2007. http://www.rockymountainnews.com.

the legacy systems to the new systems. Because the different business and data requirements for each location were not considered, business rules for the data were not properly applied before implementation. After the system had been deployed to only one county, these irregularities were discovered. For the State of Colorado, the experience was costly and is an indication that any organization can experience integration problems surrounding disparate legacy systems similar to those found in many airports today. The remainder of this chapter discusses typical airport systems and the problems inherent in trying to integrate data from them, in the following sections: • Research Conclusions, • Disparate Data Sources, • Systems Examination, and • Information System Samples. Research Conclusions During the research for this Handbook, the project team examined lessons learned in various industries, including the aviation industry. The suggestions that follow are drawn from some of the more important lessons learned. Data Airports should own the data in a format usable for the airport and should identify the cur- rent systems that use the data as well as the format, structure, and architecture of each. Data Processes Data processes have multiple levels of maturity, therefore understanding and identifying each level helps ensure successful data rule implementation. Understanding processes that are paral- lel with each other but housed in different systems also helps identify the rules and set the prior- ities of the processes and systems. Standards Worldwide standards organizations provide central repositories where terminologies and def- initions are maintained and assist in data interchange format standards, which are technology driven. Using data standards, such as metadata registries, enables airports to set standards for communicating between systems and government agencies. Some of these standards-setting organizations have teamed with the FAA to facilitate aviation standards. When an airport is plan- ning the integration of many systems, these standards should be taken into account. Phased Approach As discussed in Chapters 2 and 3 of this Handbook, when an airport is considering many systems in its integration plan, using a phased approach, rather than trying to integrate all systems at an airport, can increase success rates. In addition, an airport should look at the sys- tems identified in the vision and evaluate each system within each phase. It might not be neces- sary to integrate every system to achieve the vision. Everything from all systems might not be the best approach for an older airport with many disparate legacy systems. 58 Integrating Airport Information Systems

An airport that does not have the budget to replace all the legacy systems should consider an over- arching system, such as a data hub that receives only the pertinent data that decisionmakers need. This type of hub does not interfere with the needs and requirements of a functional area system. Rather it allows those systems to remain untouched, but pulls out of the system only the data rele- vant to the hub. The hub transmits that business-critical data to the senior managers’ dashboards. For example, there might be 15 or more systems that house the different data necessary to cal- culate airlines’ full rates and charges in compliance with the rate-making methodology employed at an airport. However, gathering bits of data from each of these systems can give the data needed to calculate the metrics for senior management, so only that data needs to be pulled into the hub. In other words, do not attempt to integrate everything in those 15 or more systems; there is no need to do so. Data Rules The steps in Chapter 3 discuss the business and data rules. Identifying how those data rules apply to the systems and how the rules are handled within the system are equal in importance. When using the central data hub approach, it is useful to also identify how the hub handles the rules and whether or not the rules can be set by airport decisionmakers. Disparate Data Sources Establishing the proper data rules—by defining and understanding the data from all parties and how information is used within the different divisions of an airport—is pivotal to success- fully integrate the various sources of flight data. This section provides an example of the discrep- ancies among the following different sources of flight information: • Official Airline Guide, • Airline Direct Feed, • FAA Direct Feed, and • Flight Information Display System. Official Airline Guide This service is updated every 30 days using a format called a Standard Schedules Information Manual (SSIM) file. (The SSIM file guide and formatting requirements document can be obtained directly from the OAG.) If the flight schedule changes within the 30-day period prior to a depar- ture or arrival, flights might not be updated by the OAG downloads into FIDS. Even if an airport has paid for an additional subscription service provided by the OAG for continuous updates of the flights, an airline’s flight information is only as good as the last time that airline updated the data. The process relies heavily on each airline sending updates to OAG for each changed flight, and most airlines do not use a direct feed from their system into the OAG system. Therefore, airlines that do not update the data until the day of departure might bypass the OAG entirely. Airline Direct Feed Airlines and airports are working together to help bridge some of the information gap between them. In some cases, participating airlines can provide direct feeds to airports by using XML technology to integrate flight data. The data generated by these feeds comes from the airline’s flight center. Airlines typically maintain two systems to manage flights—one that the public (including airports) is allowed to see and another that is real-time operations data controlled by the airline’s dispatch center. Airport Systems 59

One of the many advantages to these direct feeds is the advance flight information provided to an airport for operational and financial planning. A disadvantage of airline feeds is that real-time flight information might not be shared in a timely and accurate manner, because the publicly available information is often censored by an airline. Also, such information is not consistent with what the FAA provides from its real-time radar feed. FAA Direct Feed One of the most reliable sources of information is provided by the FAA through the NFDC, which can directly feed an airport’s system. These feeds track aircraft in real time and provide some of the most accurate reporting data to an airport. The data collected by the FAA is also the most comprehensive for an airport because all information originates from the FAA radar. One of the most important pieces of data for an airport is the aircraft tail number. Currently, however, the FAA substitutes the tail number with the flight number and that number is trans- mitted to the airport. Without all the information associated with a specific tail number, an air- port cannot accurately record gross landing weight for a specific flight. But the FAA does allow third-party vendors to scrub the flight data using various algorithms and transmit the data to an airport. These vendors use tertiary radar feeds to gather the data from the FAA radar. Flight Information Display System At some airports, the airlines own and operate the FIDS. The airline is directly responsible to update, maintain, and inform both the airport and the public of its flight activity in real time. When an airline is in the midst of a system-wide delay, updating the FIDS at each airport is prob- ably not the airline’s top priority, even though the delay could affect the other airports. Often FIDS are legacy systems that are updated manually. Sometimes airports are compelled to assist with the flight information updates. When airlines feel the effect of a financial downturn, FIDS equipment may not be well maintained or updated. Summary of Data Sources If an airport uses more than one of the data sources described above, the airport must deter- mine rules for the data—rules that provide which information should be used, how it should be used, and by whom. If the OAG is used, when does it override the direct feed? How would con- flicts in the data be resolved? If the airport adds another flight data system and source, such as the FAA and the tertiary radar system, into the equation, four different types of data are now coming into the airport operational database, and each different source of data is important to one or more of the airport’s divisions. Agreed-to parameters, such as when to post flight data in the case of delays, which source governs when there is a difference in the data, or flagging information when it is outside of a triggering level, are examples of critical rules that might need to be set. The need to define, understand, agree to, and apply rules to the data is critical. The flow of information is captured in Figure 5-1. Systems Examination Unless an airport explores all its systems, the airport cannot integrate successfully. It is extremely useful for an airport to examine the systems in place at the airport to evaluate the following: 60 Integrating Airport Information Systems

Airport Systems 61 • What information is kept in each system and how is that information used? • What information is duplicated in different systems? • What data needed to provide critical business information is not currently accessible? Although this process can be time-consuming and difficult, the resulting understanding of the systems and how those systems need to relate or integrate to form a larger information system is invaluable and greatly enhances the potential for successful integration. Table 5-1 shows the results of one such systems examination. A Financial Management Infor- mation System, for example, would include a number of smaller systems. Figure 5-2 is a sample Financial Management Information System. Figure 5-1. Sample airside operation system.

62 Integrating Airport Information Systems Financial Management Information System Business-Critical Information Data Elements Financial Management System General Ledger Status of airport finances Revenues and expenditures allocated by cost center Rates and Charges Dynamic modeling of each airline’s cost to operate: historical, real-time, projected Operating and maintenance costs: equipment, personnel and resources, utilities, materials and supplies Capital cost: cost of land, capital improvements, debt service including financing costs Projected revenues: non-airline, interest income, PFCs, federal grants Forecasted aircraft landings and passengers by airline and type Square footage of space by category and leased status Debt Management Status of debt Debt by category Cost of financing Debt reserve funds Bond rating Planned financing Budget and Forecasting Continuous budget and forecasts Operating and financial metrics drivers Projected operating and maintenance costs and capital equipment costs Forecasted revenues Debt service requirements Projections of future passenger traffic, aircraft landings, revenues, expenditures, debt financings, reserve levels Accounts Receivable and Payable Alerts: status of payments to the airport, status of airport expenditures Detailed balances and billing status for all revenue generating entities by customer, budget to actual expenditures Letter of credit, aging, historical Asset Management Value versus investment Historic cost Depreciated value Location Condition of facilities Equipment Inventory Property Management System Lease Management Space management Percentage of tenant lease Renewable timeline Return on investment Amount of, and rentals from, leased space by type and tenant Return on investment for capital expenditures, tenant facilities, and infrastructure Cost to provide services (including administrative overhead) Point-of-Sale Concession revenue statistics Gross concession revenues by type and location CAD Continuous space statistics: planned verses actual Location and square footage of leased space and facilities: “as built” data, utility locations DBE Tracking Percentages: local and federal programs Amount of space leased to, revenues generated by, contract sources Percentage of gross concession revenues controlled by DBE companies Table 5-1. Financial management information system examination. Systems Examination Exercise An airport can develop this kind of chart for every system involved in its operation. In Table 5-2, use the blanks as an exercise related to the Human Resources Management and Procurement Systems in your airport. For example, determine whether the same information is collected by multiple systems. If there are data overlaps between systems, identify the potential conflicts and the possibility for data corruption.

Airport Systems 63 Figure 5-2. Sample financial management information system.

64 Integrating Airport Information Systems Financial Management Information System Business-Critical Information Data Elements Human Resource Management System Advanced Payroll (payroll, timekeeping, benefits, security, safety, biometrics, smart cards) Incident Reporting Access Control Notification Training Procurement Management System Requisitions Purchasing Vendor Contract Management Local DBE Table 5-2. Systems examination exercise. Information System Samples To depict the complex interdependencies of the information systems and the data would cre- ate a diagram too large for this Handbook. Therefore, this section provides smaller versions based on enterprise resource planning (ERP) methodology. Because these systems are volumi- nous, both in quantity and size, the diagrams show only a few systems as follows: • Sample Financial Management Information Systems; • Sample Landside and Parking Management System (refer to Figure 5-3); • Sample Engineering Systems (refer to Table 5-3 and Figure 5-4); ad • Sample Asset Management Information Systems (refer to Table 5-4 and Figure 5-5).

Airport Systems 65 Figure 5-3. Sample landside and parking management system.

66 Integrating Airport Information Systems Engineering Management Information System Business-Critical Information Data Elements Forecasting Anticipated increases or decreases in use of facilities, roadways, terminals airfield and utilities Projected growth in: traffic (passengers, aircraft landings, vehicles), concession and other non-airline revenues Current capacity of roadways airfield and utilities Airport 3D Simulation System GIS Deficiencies in the existing facilities and future design Simulation of aircraft spacing Load bearing capacity of the runways Protected airspace (FAR Part 77) Linear space of curbs terminal side, parking spaces, existing roadway capacity Analysis of the airport's existing and future runways, taxiways, terminals, support facilities, roadways, and other land uses Simulated real-time data for existing facilities and future demand (gates, ticketing, check-in, baggage, train, security processing, FIS, parking) CAD GIS Physical characteristics of the airport Development permits, impacts of requested development, and tenant improvement requests. Metes & Bounds descriptions Preventive maintenance requirements Airport Capital Improvement Program Status of Funds and schedules Identify, prioritize, assign and track multiple funding sources, critical development of airport projects, and the distribution of the funds to contractors Proposed schedule and funding sources Construction Project and Contract Management Systems Status of project budget and schedule Contract estimates, project budgets, funding sources by project Critical dates, project documents, change orders, schedules and plans Design changes by project, invoice and purchase Environment al Monitoring Systems Compliance with air and water quality standards and environmental impact compliance Air quality below or ground water contamination above acceptable levels chemical or fuel spill event storm sewer or potable water issues Standards outlined by environmental regulatory bodies Aircraft Noise and Operations Monitoring Systems (ANOMS) FAA Compliance Part 150 noise monitoring levels. In compliance or not. Number of complaints exceeding tolerance levels, and issues of complaints Day/night or single event decibel levels above standards Number of public complaints and responses Flight tracking information during noise event FAA Part 150 Noise Monitoring Environmental Monitoring Units (EMU) Table 5-3. Engineering management information system.

Airport Systems 67 Figure 5-4. Sample engineering system.

68 Integrating Airport Information Systems Asset Management Information System Business-Critical Information Data Elements Quantity, value, location, condition of the asset Rolling stock such as snowplows; and facilities such as, plumbing, electrical, materials and equipment Critical security breaches Real-time vehicle information within a secured area matched to resources Asset Tracking System Incidents reflecting closures Runway, roadway, taxiway, terminal etc. Gross value of inventory Warehouse units, value of each type of unit, bench stock inventory, date record of parts and materials dispatched from warehouse Internal auditing Valuation prior to manual inventory by commodity vs. actual valuation confirmed by inventory process Critical items above or below set stock levels Reorder points, costs and shelf life Warehousing Management System Pipeline critical time lines from reorder to receipt Reorder of parts and materials received from suppliers and the timeline to receipt Purchases unmatched to tenant or vendor charge- backs Contractual service requests, work orders, parts and material, resources, etc Triage approach organized by priority of work orders, resources Safety related work orders, work orders by: number, description of task, date initiated, estimated time to complete, work orders completed by resource Unexpected increase of expiring contracts Expiring contracts including DBE status Critical equipment status Number of mission critical vehicles, snow removal, snowmelt, escalators, parking ticket dispensers, generators, bag claim conveyors, badge readers, etc., that are out of commission Critical incidents Summary of incident reports and shift logs by date and time *Airside compliance - FAA Part 139. (Handled by Operations, maybe tracked through a maintenance system) Inspection of airfield, runways and other physical elements of an airport. Any findings related to Notice to Airmen (NOTAM). Inspections of alarm and security systems Maintenance of Asset System Lost time within a pre-set tolerance level Injury, security, safety and illness statistics by contractor and employee *Systems crossover to other functional areas such as Operations, Finance, etc. Table 5-4. Asset management information system.

Airport Systems 69 Figure 5-5. Sample asset management information system.

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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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