Heathrow CIO pledges seamless future with £1.5bn collaborative system
Let's get this baby off the ground
The CIO of the world's busiest airport has announced that £1.5 billion will be sunk into improving real-time and decision-making software systems at Heathrow.
Philip Langsdale gave 2012's Appleton Lecture at the Institute of Engineering and Technology and explained the systems that Heathrow needed to make the airport run smoothly.
Heathrow is leaning on technology to provide the answers to its biggest problems: flow through security, baggage handling co-ordination and real time information from the "foot-front". The airport operates at 99 per cent capacity so system resilience is critical.
“Key challenges for Heathrow are managing and coping with the impact of disruption, controlling knock-on effects of delays and effective collaboration between stakeholders from different organisations within the airport," said Langsdale. "The extensive investment and technology strategy that we have deployed is aimed at overcoming these challenges."
In the event of snow or an Air Traffic Control delay, collaborative decision-making is essential.
Core to the new airport IT strategy is a central nervous system - an Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM) system currently being deployed. A collaborative initiative between the airline operators, ground handlers, the National Air Traffic Service, Heathrow Airport and the Central Flow Management Unit, the A-CDM provides active airfield management, a single airfield management system and a single airport operations centre.
We are already beginning to see the benefits of these new strategies and initiatives including better journeys, lower stack, taxi and queue times, improved resilience and punctuality, and reduced operating costs and carbon footprint.
Langsdale has been CIO at Heathrow since 2008, working previously in Asda, the BBC and as an IT advisor to British Airways. ®
..or an inch of snow...
More reasons to avoid Heathrow
I have given up on Heathrow. It is a place to avoid, horrendous taxes and fees, massive long hikes in that "bloody awful place" T5. The contrast with Singapore and Hong Kong where I usually transit it marked. Two of the world's best airports, one of the worst. Even the attitude of the security staff contrasts badly, not to mention the efficiency of border control.
Spend the money on recruiting humans in security and diverting excess traffic to other airports.
Is this system seriously expected to work? Decision making by committee.
"jam packed with baggage handling systems"
More like jam packed with luggage lost at the opening and afterwards that they never got around to returning.
Berlin Tegel (TXL) terminals A and B are a bit bewildering to navigate, but provided you don't walk the wrong way it only takes quite the short trip from entrance to gate.
Pity the bankrupt city government insisted on sinking a couple milliards into a brand new SXF, while closing THF (argument: costs 10 million to run annually; missed chance: could've been something like a LCY in Berlin) and promising to close TXL but first adding the annoying and rather shoddy terminal C because nuSXF wasn't quite ready yet. And won't be for a while, its opening just got delayed another six months or so. Airports and common sense are poor bedfellows, it seems.
Personally I like small airports better than large ones, like having to walk over a sunny tarmac from the terminal building to our ride on SPC, pausing a bit to watch the previous aeroplane buck up and take a running jump skyward. Got us a reprimand from the stewardess for tarrying and "endangering the slot". Piffle. She's seen it all before I suppose. Anyway, since hating the customer "for security reasons" is all the rage these days, bigger airports to better herd and fleece are preferreable to those who build and govern the ruddy things. I won't be flying voluntarily any time soon.
"Why not spend the 1.5bn on more security and passport controls gates?"
Security lanes at T5 have been increased since the terminal opened. Didn't seem to help much with the queues however :(
"And perhaps bringing the departure gates closer to the people in T5 so we don't have to trapse through 3km of bloody shops to get to our planes...?"
Heathrow is a shopping centre that happens to have planes leaving and arriving. LHR gets a significant chunk of its revenue from those shops. If the shops go away, the landing fee will go up quite a bit.
Not that I don't agree with you, however the geometry of that part of the airport means T5A will always be a huge building - its difficult to pack the planes in more tightly so it could be shrunk. Plus the lower levels (that us SLC never see) are probably jam packed with baggage handling systems, etc, and couldn't be shrunk.
Re: How about he sods off?
Border Agents aren't employed by the airport, they're civil servants and the airport can't hire more of them.
However, for an APD charge of a *minimum* of £13 a flight (outbound and return remember), and perhaps as much as £184 a flight , you'd think the govt. would be able to afford a few more bodies at passport control desks.