BAA has announced an investment of £400m in IT at Heathrow Airport to share real-time information with third-parties, such as airlines, air traffic control and immigration control, to better respond to crises and provide improved services to customers.
The announcement comes hot on the heels of a £100m outsourcing deal with Capgemini to run the company's outsourcing services.
The new IT initiative, which should begin in earnest around 2014 will form part of the company's next five-year plan to improve services out of the airport, which supports around 1,300 flights a day, carrying 65m passengers a year.
Speaking to CIO, BAA CIO Philip Langsdale said: "Most reporting tells you what has already happened. We should be able to collaborate with airlines to make sure we have the right level of resources waiting for passengers when they arrive.
"We hope to be able to micro-schedule the airport with better control systems. It means integrating reporting from stakeholders like the airlines, NATS and the border control agencies. Even the highways agency is a potential stakeholder.
"If the M4 gets stuck, we should know there are going to be passenger delays. Passengers are going to miss flights and we need to be able to schedule more staff in to cope with the extra volumes two hours down the line."
An improved information flow should help those involved in the running of the airport react better to unexpected occurrences, such as late flights.
The initiative covers four areas:
- To improve passenger experience by giving them information about the status of flights online and around the airport.
- To provide airlines with IT services for quick and secure baggage check in and gate management.
- To set up better handling of isolated unexpected incidents, such as bad weather.
- To streamline and simplify existing systems throughout the airport.