Picture from Beijing airport shows check-in counter; black-and-white-gradient

Innovation Ready for Take-off

The world’s largest airport “flies” on software from T-Systems. An investment in the future of this industry.

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Aviation is booming. The airline umbrella organisation IATA estimates that the number of passengers worldwide will double to at least 7 billion a year between 2017 and 2037. This corresponds to a growth rate of 3.5 percent per year, while other estimates are already based on 5 percent. But that is only one side of the coin.

On the other side, issues such as climate change, at the ecological level, and the rising price of kerosene, at the economic level, are putting the entire industry under massive pressure to innovate. Continuing as before is certainly not the best option, but the airliners have long recognised that. Norway, for example, is planning emission-free aviation by 2040. A study concludes that it is quite possible from this point in time to operate domestic flights exclusively with electricity. An excellent development.

Airport Operational Database (AODB)

The innovation required to increase efficiency in the industry are also generated on the ground. The central Airport Operational Database (AODB), for example, is the technical backbone of an airport’s IT control system. This is where all flight-relevant data converges. Starting with the management of check-in counters and the allocation of parking positions for jets, gates and boarding gates, through to information for passengers, the number of baggage items and physical aircraft data. All components of this integrated system access AODB. IATA now even expects an AODB minimum standard at an airport.

Airport-Software von T-Systems

The brand-new Beijing New International Airport can now call on its own particularly sophisticated IT. Over the past two years, T-Systems has developed its own airport soft- ware for the operational management of Beijing Airport’s air traffic. The software systems developed for traffic control form the basis for getting the airport’s up to 130 million passengers a year to their destination quickly and efficiently. By way of comparison, the three largest German airports, Frankfurt, Munich and Düsseldorf, only together achieve such a volume of passengers.

Airport Management System (AMS)

Picture from Beijing airport shows check-in counter

More than 3,000 displays provide passengers and handling staff with all relevant information in real time.

T-Systems’ traffic control system, the Airport Management System (AMS), is already in use at more than 40 airports worldwide. AMS analyses, processes and visualises all flight-relevant data at an airport in real time, from air traffic control to airlines and ground services. The platform, which combines numerous other core solutions in addition to the AODB, thus ensures smooth flight movements and ground handling processes – and is now also in use at the world’s largest airport. Beijing New International Airport is located in the Beijing suburb of Daxing and has four runways that can handle up to 620,000 flights a year – an average of almost 1,700 flights a day. Once all runways have been put into operation and all extensions have been completed, Beijing-Daxing will become the undisputed leader in global air traffic.

Digitization of the airport

The airport uses the AMS solution in a highly reliable on-premise server environment. “Efficiency played a major role in the planning of our new airport. The proven industry software and T-Systems’ expertise have convinced us,” confirms Yuan Xue Gong, Chief Engineer at Beijing-Daxing Airport. “Thanks to the digitalization strategies and technologies of the Deutsche Telekom subsidiary, we are optimally equipped to guarantee the operation, security and maintenance of the airport infrastructure at a high level at all times”.

A highly complex ecosystem 

More than 40 interfaces ensure simple integration of third-party systems that are used in a wide variety of areas of airport operations. An airport is a highly complex ecosystem that needs fully integrated and precise solutions. And in addition to the AODB, AMS offers many other solutions: for passengers, flight times, jet wingspans and much more. Accordingly, the AMS consists of several individual technical components, all of which were developed by T-Systems in such a way that they account for the complexity of everyday airport life. The individual components of the airport software operate within a fully integrated network system. The flexible implementation options enable the Chinese management to adapt the software to the individual needs of the airport. This ranges from the number of external service providers to be included all the way to the maximum capacity utilization.

Resource Management System

In Beijing, for example, a Resource Management System (RMS) is integrated into the T-Systems solution in addition to the AODB. The RMS module uses the Airport Control Centre to automatically assign aircraft parking spaces for each flight based on data from the AODB. It also controls the gate, check-in and baggage claim, thus ensuring smooth passenger, baggage and aircraft handling. The system includes a Flight Information Display System (FIDS) as well. It also accesses the AODB database and prepares the relevant information for display. More than 3,000 displays are used in Beijing-Daxing and provide passengers and check-in staff with all relevant information in real time.

Ground Handling Management System (GHAMS)

The A-CDM collaboration tool forms the communication platform for all persons and institutions involved in airport operations: air traffic control, airlines, ground handling, traffic managers and service personnel. In this way, the successful exchange between those involved in air traffic is ensured in daily operations with the aim of achieving better coordinated handling and take-off order. The AMS also includes the Ground Handling Management System (GHAMS), which provides access to all real-time flight data required for ground handling. It also controls the communication between ground handlers.

“We are optimally equipped to guarantee the operation, security and maintenance of the airport infrastructure at a high level.”

Yuan Xue Gong, Chief Engineer, Beijing-Daxing Airport

Airport Control Center (ACC)

Last but not least, is the Airport Control Center (ACC). Whether control, monitoring, problem solving or storm warnings, the threads of the AMS converge at the heart of the entire integrated solution, the Control Centre. In shift work, employees control and monitor the entire databased operation of the airport around the clock. From this centre, the highly specialised technical staff continuously monitor and optimise all connections, every movement and all processes that take place on the airport premises or have an influence on operations. They evaluate the data from the control system and incorporate it into the optimisation and conflict prevention of airport operations.

If in the future, aircraft will be handled more efficiently at China’s highspeed airports thus saving downtimes and using less kerosene, and if thousands of e-jets take off and land there per say, then a piece of software made in Germany will be largely responsible.

Contact: Leo.Dong@t-systems.de

More Information: www.beijing-airport.com

Author: Sven Hansel
Photos: iStockphoto

T-Systems Airport Management

T-Systems is launching a new range of airport and ground handling solutions. Both are now available as cloud-based products offered in an attractive “Software as a Service” (SaaS) mode. Alternatively, they can be tailored and deployed to meet the individual needs of an airport operator or ground handler. 

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