Gatwick Airport signed a four-year contract with ICT Services group Getronics, which allows the airport to source staff from Getronics when required for 21 different IT roles.
The airport has already been working with the company for the past 18 months on application management projects, as well as the latest airport-wide collaboration system from Amadeus, that is expected to go like on 17 June.
Gatwick's CIO Michael Ibbitson tells CBR everything there is to know about the partnership, as well the airport's transformation plan.
What difference will the partnership make to Gatwick Airport?
If you look at historical models of outsourcing, you pay for a managed service and then if you want to change anything in that managed service, it becomes quite generally expensive to do so. Gatwick is a complex environment with many different technologies so we can't always afford to carry staff members to support the variety of technology. This agreement allows us first of all to leverage different resources within Getronics as we introduce changing technologies. And then when we have projects that we need to deliver or we need a certain technology supported for a few months, this agreement allows us to have that flexibility to bring people in from Getronics' entire organisation.
What kind of services is the partnership helping you to develop?
We have a data warehouse platform that we currently use to store a lot of operational data and financial data. Over the last 12 months, we've also been integrating transaction data from the entire airport for all the retailers. We're using that data to understand, for example, what certain nationalities buy when they pass through the airport. Gatwick has different destinations served in summer and winter. In the summer, it tends to be more summer holiday destinations as well as business destinations. In the winter, we have the business destinations along with the skiing destinations.
How will you enable these services?
We gather the data, we test it and then our commercial team will provide the real-time information and advice on what they think sells best. There are other areas of our operation where we use data analytics in security. That data goes into the data warehouse with the flight schedule and the expected bookings on all of those flights and then it provides real-time intelligence back to the security staff via their mobile phones and it tells them whether to open an extra lane or close a lane with the goal being all of our customers pass through security in under five minutes.
We use both video and data analytics combined to give that information to the people who are managing the security planes, to make sure we keep our passenger experience as best they can be at all times. Since August 2013, we've been able to provide this real-time intelligence to the staff.
What other ideas is Gatwick airport looking into for the future?
We're in the process of embarking on some major projects to redevelop our north terminal, which would have the same type of security facilities in place. But we're intending to bring out a transformation in the way that you check in bag drop with the aim of eliminating check in and bag drop queues completely from the airport over the next year and a half...We're going to start work on that area later this year to make that a reality. We're working really close with Easy Jet to make sure it happens to their passenger first.
To what extent do you expect to make a return on the investment?
If you look at it over a five year period, you're reducing your capital investment significantly. I know exactly how much money we have not had to put into our business plan for capital investment, which runs into the multiple millions of pounds, which makes a big difference.