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CIO Profile: BAA's Phlip Langsdale

Flights at Heathrow are running "100 percent" on-time despite the national strikes today, the airport's owner BAA has revealed.

In the lead-up to the strikes over public pensions, media reports had predicted 12 hour-long passport queues at airports, and Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said that the army were on standby to handle the potential queues.

BAA implemented a business process management software from Pegasystems in March 2009, which it said has helped increase on-time departures at Heathrow from 68 percent to 83 percent.

"When I looked this morning, with the strike, we're on 100 percent," Eamonn Cheverton, enterprise architect at BAA told Forrester's Business Process Summit in London.

However, in an effort minimise the potential impact of the strike, airlines including BA and Virgin had cancelled some of their flights, and the airport's passenger numbers were around a third lower than on a typical 30 November.

Heathrow manages and monitors a sequence of processes that start from when a plane lands at the airport and ends when it takes off again.

The Pega system runs on an Oracle database and Weblogic application server, using Sonic ESB SOA and integration products .

The system uses a set of rules designed by BAA to optimise day-to-day running. If it detects an unusual scenario, such as delays caused by weather, strikes or a terrorism alert, it downloads the rule sets that BAA has designed to manage the new situation, and allocates a new resource plan.

This resource plan is monitored in real-time, allowing the airport operator to respond to changes in circumstances quickly. BAA is planning to extend the functionality of the system to include information from The Met Office, so that it can better manage the effects of adverse weather conditions.