BAA will invest £121 million overhauling IT at Heathrow Airport over the next three years.

In its Capital Investment Plan (CIP) for 2010, the airport operator for the first time provided a detailed plan of IT investment that it was proposing for the period between April 2010 and 2013.

In previous years, BAA would only give a very brief outline of its IT goals in its CIP under the headings of BAA IT, specific major IT investments and IT content within main capital projects. However, this year, BAA has provided more detail to its investment under the headings of Airport Operational Systems, Infrastructure Renewal and Business Planning and Support Solutions.

These projects fall under BAA's IT/Systems Programme, which the airline operator developed during 2009 with the aim of improving IT service, reducing operating costs and implementing technology.

Under the IT programme, BAA plans to deliver a number of sub-programmes between 2010 and 2013, which includes the vanilla implementation of Oracle E-Business Suite and delivering a real-time airport integrated management system for Heathrow Airport.

More specifically, BAA plans to invest £31 million in airport operational systems, which aims to deliver an integrated airport management system to maximise the flow of information for operations, management and security. It is also hoping to deliver IT infrastructure that will support Heathrow's integrated baggage programme, which includes the replacement of baggage systems across Heathrow and providing a new system for the new Terminal 2.

The largest chunk of IT investment (£59 million) will be made on IT infrastructure renewal. Under this project, BAA plans to refresh and rationalise its desktop technology and infrastructure, reduce the number of applications at Heathrow and rationalise all node rooms at Heathrow to reduce operational cost and address health and safety and security issues. It also aims to implement rack-based chilling for server rooms and data centres at Heathrow to reduce power consumption and increase capacity.

The remainder of the capital investment in IT, £31 million, will fund the business planning and support IT solutions, which aims to deliver systems that meet the needs of Heathrow Airport's back office functions such as HR, finance and commercial. This includes maximising the business return from its core Oracle platform, which will be delivered under the Back Office Improvement Programme (BOIP) and delivering non-bespoke solutions wherever possible. BAA said that the Oracle platform should be the "first choice solution" for other major projects.

BAA checks-in savings from IT update

To support its investment plan, BAA consults on a quarterly basis with CIOs from British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Emirates, British Midland, KLM, Star Alliance and the Airline Operators Committee (AOC). Senior IT managers from these organisations also meet monthly to review and endorse the investment plan portfolio and carry out detailed consultation on key IT projects.

The extensive IT changes at Heathrow Airport are part of a £600 million technology transformation programme that also covers its other airports, Stansted, Aberdeen, Southampton, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Last December, it sold Gatwick Airport following a ruling by the competition commission.