Airport IT upgrades will force airline IT spend

Alicante, Spain - September 2011 - Airports today either share
expensive PCs and equipment or allow airlines to operate their own -
both alternatives cost airlines dear. Common Use systems allow this
hardware to run several airline systems simultaneously and CUTE
(Common Use Terminal Equipment) is the standard in widespread use.
However, this standard has not aged well and the vendors of these
systems have wildly varying implementations meaning that airlines have
to do a lot of work to get their applications to run across their

The replacement standard CUPPS (Common Use Passenger Processing
System) aims to unify the various implementations by presenting an
identical interface to applications running on it. This means that
airlines do not have to maintain various versions of their
application. For the first time, airline applications will have true
portability and both maintenance and deployment costs should fall in

As long-term airport IT contracts come up for renewal, they will be
based on CUPPS. Airlines operating flights from those airports will be
forced to upgrade too, whether they like it or not.

Airlines and system providers need to formulate a strategy about how
to implement the CUPPS standard itself in their applications. For all
the simplification that CUPPS brings going forward, there is a
significant amount of development that each airline has to do in order
to adopt the standard in the first place.

It is non-trivial and the specifications run to hundreds of pages, the
vast majority of which cannot be ignored. This "speed bump" to
adoption is as high as it is wide. The aims of CUPPS are noble and
there has been rich collaboration to achieve a specification that
delivers on over 100 pages of requirements. But therein lies the
problem. Satisfying such a vast number of requirements could never
result in simplicity. Add to this the Windows-centric nature of CUPPS
and even before industry-wide rollout begins, it is beginning to look
like technology the rest of the world left behind 3-4 years ago.

Since then there has been enterprise adoption of Cloud Computing, Web
2.0, a slew of mobile computing devices and IATA Fast Travel
Initiatives that encourage agility that the number of moving parts in
CUPPS complicates.

Shawn Richards, CEO of Ink Aviation explained, "Nowadays, 'mashups'
are old hat but the simplicity and informality with which companies
can slap processes and data together quickly still evade large swathes
of aviation IT." A mashup is an online product made by combining
technologies, often with little or no involvement of the owners of
each piece of technology.

Shawn recently gave a presentation at a CUPPS Workshop in Future
Travel Experience 2011 in Vancouver during which he outlined an
alternative approach to adopting CUPPS. The rollout of CUPPS as
airport middleware is inevitable because it already has the enviable
benefits of consensus. His approach centred on simplifying
implementation with an add-on product that would expose a simpler
interface to which airlines join their systems and a CUPPS compatible
interface on the other side that would run in upgraded airports.

Another approach is to upgrade the software that airlines deploy into
airports. Terminal Emulated (TE) software running on "green screens"
is a lot more common than many would care to admit. TE windows are
sometimes hiding behind pretty, modern looking applications. These
relics of computing contribute are part of the interconnected
technology stack that keep the cost of running check-in areas and
boarding gates as high as they are for airports and airlines.
Browser-based technology, which virtually all airlines used to sell
their own tickets, are largely absent from check-in.

Ink is hoping to help airlines to jump into browser-based computing in
the Check-in Hall by convincing them to plug Ink DCS into their host
systems and mainframes (shockingly, these do still exist) and have
browsers connecting across commodity connections like ADSL instead of
expensive dedicated lines with modems (yes, the kind that screech when

Shawn added, "The cost of web-enabling an airline host can be quickly
recouped by savings in distributing access to that system. And that is
even before benefits of checking-in on iPads and other mobile devices
are rolled in".

The original presentation is available from Ink Aviation, who worked
with airports and airlines of all sizes.

Future Travel Experience is a unique global forum for travel industry
stakeholders that focuses on the end-to-end travel process from the
passenger's point of view, from the moment of booking through to the
collection of baggage at the arrival destination, and assesses how
every aspect of the passenger experience on the ground can be

Ink Aviation is an independent provider of Next Generation Passenger
Services Systems and hardware. They work with international and
regional airlines and airports to increase capacity and streamline
service delivery with cutting edge self-service, mobile and
agent-based systems.

Ink is based in Alicante, Spain. Their highly skilled team delivers
innovative systems that are real, practical and ahead of the industry
curve in affordability, flexibility and capability.

For more information, visit inkaviation.com or follow them on

Source: Ink Aviation

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