Technology is at the heart of plans by Gatwick Airport to win government approval for a second runway. Today the airport announced the integration of paperless, cloud based ID tool for managing security cleared staff at the airport. CIO of Gatwick Airport Michael Ibbitson told CIO about his strategy.

Gatwick Airport, one of the two competing London airports desperate to win the hearts and minds of politicians and the public for expansion is pushing its technology agenda hard.

“We are developing an alternative to the traditional hub and spoke model of the airline industry, focused on mega-hub airports. Mega hubs rely on one airline and its partners to bring passengers and transfer them to maximise route capability, usually at the cost of competition, consumer experience and price,” Ibbitson says of the organisation’s strategy.

“At Gatwick we are developing a product that allows consumers to search, book and travel using any combination of airlines that operate at our airport, without the restrictions of alliance agreements, thus enabling transfers between low cost airlines and full service airlines.”

Ibbitson, who has been CIO since May 2012 and reports to the CEO has been driving a technology agenda that is central to the business strategy to improve the flow of traffic, whether people or aircraft through the Sussex airport.

“Gatwick has recently implemented a number of process changes and system implementations to increase the throughput of aircraft from 50 to 55 per hour,” he says of the programme dubbed ACDM55.

“It is significantly increasing the number of passengers and aircraft that Gatwick can process. Leading to increases in revenue across all aspects of our business from car parking to retail,”Ibbitson says.

As these systems create more information Ibbitson has in parallel run an information management programme: “In the past two years we have built integration with our retail partners to pull in over 90% of transaction value into our data warehouse to help drive future retail performance. We are also buying in data on specific topics from search engines to enable improved market insight.

“The long term vision is to use tools that enable real time data anaylsis complimented by the historical data warehouse.

“As we continue to grow, it was vital that our internal processes were in position to cope with the additional numbers of staff. We worked with Human Recognition Systems on MTrust and the benefits of the system to not just ourselves, but to our partners and on-airport customers were obvious,” he says of the latest cloud tool for ID management.