CALGARY, September 10, 2012 – U.S. airports will increasingly move to a common-use
facilities model to make more efficient use of airport resources, better facilitate passenger
flow and improve the airport experience for air travelers, and drive opportunities for
non-airport related revenue, predicts global IT services provider Unisys (NYSE: UIS).
“Traditionally in the U.S., individual airlines lease space from the airport authority and
run their own systems and processes, often resulting in duplicated and inefficient resources
within an airport such as check-in counters and gates,” said Olivier Houri, President Global
Transportation of Unisys.
“However, competitive pressures and the rise of low-cost carriers are forcing airport
operators to take a more holistic view of their operations and consider moving to a
centralized, common-use model for running their facilities. Such a model could allow airport
operators to make more efficient use of their resources, process more passengers, offer more
aircraft slots with existing infrastructure, and create new revenue streams,” Houri said.
Houri predicts three trends will emerge as a result of the move to common-use airport
- As airports become the centralized provider of key infrastructure such as gates, check-in
counters and self-service kiosks, they will increasingly offer access to these resources as a
managed service where airlines only pay for what they use and share costs with other
- As a mature aviation market, U.S. airport operators will be forced to seek new sources of
non-aviation revenue to fund improvements and expansion of airport facilities and diversify
against the impact of economic downturns and cyclical passenger and cargo volumes. New services
and facilities may include a combination of entertainment, shopping, sports, leisure, business,
conference, training, transport, fitness, hotels, restaurants, and multifunctional office –
transforming the airport from a transportation hub to a city of interrelated activity that can
be itself a destination. The U.S. Dallas Fort Worth international airport is an early adopter
of this “airport city”
approach to creating non-aviation revenue sources.
- Airports will move to centralized IT systems to provide a 360 degree, real-time view of the
airport’s operations and better manage and allocate information from various airport systems
including resource management, flight information, and command and control centers. Such
centralization will enable the airport operator to optimize utilization of shared airport
resources, such as check-in desks, gates, baggage belts and slots to prevent bottlenecks and
avoid expensive infrastructure being left unused.
Houri says that U.S. airports can learn from successful “airport city” models overseas such
as Schiphol airport in the Netherlands, the fourth busiest airport in Europe1 and
primary hub for KLM as well as for Arkefly, Corendon Dutch Airlines, Martinair and Transavia
and European hub for Delta Airlines. Schiphol features an extensive shopping center outside
Customs accessible by passengers and non-travelers, a museum, and the world’s first permanent
airport library. In 2012, Schiphol was named Europe’s Best Airport and was the only airport
outside Asia to be ranked in the world’s top five airports2.
Unisys has decades of experience providing mission-critical systems and solutions to the
airport and aviation industry. More than 200 airlines and 100 airports around the world use
Unisys solutions, including the Beijing Capital International Airport, Billund Airport,
Brussels Airport, Delhi International Airport, Los Angeles World Airports, and the
Madrid/Barcelona airports. Unisys systems and servers are currently used to check in almost a
third of the world’s passengers.
Unisys is demonstrating a number of its innovative airport solutions, including its Airport
Operation Database (AODB), integration of mobile alerts into the Unisys Airport Operation
System and the AOptix InSight iris recognition and face capture systems for identity
verification, at the Airports Council International-NA/World
Conference from September 9 - 12, 2012 in Calgary. Visit booth 525 at the event.
1 Ranked by total passengers per year 2011, Airports Council International
World Airport Awards 2012
This is an opinion piece and is intended only to provide a summary of the subject matter
covered. It does not purport to be comprehensive or to render advice. No reader should act on
the basis of any matter contained in this piece without first obtaining specific professional
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Unisys is a worldwide information technology company. We provide a portfolio of IT services,
software, and technology that solves critical problems for clients. We specialize in helping
clients secure their operations, increase the efficiency and utilization of their data centers,
enhance support to their end users and constituents, and modernize their enterprise
applications. To provide these services and solutions, we bring together offerings and
capabilities in outsourcing services, systems integration and consulting services,
infrastructure services, maintenance services, and high-end server technology. With
approximately 23,000 employees, Unisys serves commercial organizations and government
agencies throughout the world. For more information, visit www.unisys.com.
RELEASE NO: 0910/9128
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Jim Kerr, 215-986-5795