BAA Outsources Airports’ IT Overhaul

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£100m deal to share real-time information and improve crisis response and service levels

The UK’s airport operator, BAA, has signed a five-year, £100 million deal to outsource the IT function of the country’s airports.

The deal will see a consortium of technology companies led by Capgemini take over the day-to-day running of BAA’s core IT systems. This will include the delivery of applications, infrastructure and projects, for some 10,000 users.

Staff transfer under TUPE

The new services will cover BAA’s six UK airports and start in May following a two-month transition period, where 200 BAA IT staff will be eligible to transfer to Capgemini and its partners under TUPE – Transfer of Undertaking (Protection of Employment) – conditions.

By simplifying the IT systems, the outsourcing deal is also designed to update the access to and sharing of real-time information so that Heathrow in particular, as the UK’s busiest international transport hub, can better respond to crises and offer improved services to passengers and airlines.

Given the complexity of its operations and the fact that it operates at full capacity, supporting over 90 airlines working with 12 different ground handlers to manage around 1,300 flights a day carrying over 65 million passengers a year, the airport said having a clear view of how it is operating is crucial to allocate resources accurately.

Philip Langsdale, Heathrow airport’s chief information officer, admitted that Heathrow’s lack of spare capacity means that problems at the airport or delays at departing airports could trigger a domino effect of problems and that passengers wanted better access to information.

“Our airlines need better more timely information and improved service quality. Our priority is improving our passengers’ experiences and getting the best value we can on behalf of our airline customers,” he stated.

Independent airport IT planned

The technology at BAA’s other five airports (Stansted, Southampton, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen) will be updated to “reflect their individual needs as point-to-point airports,” according to the announcement. This, it added, was with the aim of improving their cost and efficiency, by equipping them to operate with independent airport systems.

Capgemini, as the consortium leader, will act as prime contractor and systems integrator. Air transport communications specialist SITA will deliver network, telecoms and radio services; Atkins will deliver multidisciplinary project service capability; Computacenter will provide elements of desktop and server support; and Amor Group will support niche applications.

The investment programme will allow BAA’s remaining internal IT function to focus on its priorities, which Langsdale added are “improving our passengers’ experiences and getting the best value we can on behalf of our airline customers”.

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