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NEWS Last modified on October 9, 2013

London Gatwick embraces cloud based services

Gatwick Airport is set to roll out up to 70 ‘cloud’ based baggage drop kiosks over the next year, according to its chief information officer.

Speaking at the SMART Airports Conference in Munich, Michael Ibbitson revealed the gateway’s plans to install the kiosks during a presentation about the benefits of airports enhancing cloud based technology.

The decision to use cloud services – the kiosks are connected to remote data centres via the web and not to on-site servers – follows the success of an ongoing trial with easyJet and Flybe.

Indeed, such has been the success of the kiosks that the airport is set to extend the service to another three airlines by the end of 2013.

“Our bag drop solution is airport and not airline focused,” explained Ibbitson, noting that during the trial, lights on the side of the kiosks either turned blue for Flybe or orange for easyJet, depending on the carrier being flown by the user.

“They are airport branded," added Ibbitson. "The first thing they say to customers is ‘welcome to Gatwick bag drop’, so any airline can use them as long as they have the necessary connections on the website. There’s no need for any CUSS or CUTE technology.”

Another cloud service adopted by Gatwick is Google Maps, with the ambitious UK gateway set to unveil Google Maps with Street View on October 15.

Talking about the apparent reluctance of airports to use ‘cloud’ based solutions, Ibbitson said: “We [the industry] have yet to really embrace industry specific solutions for cloud services, and I think that this is the next big step to take as it can transform the way we do business.

“The aviation industry is a global business connecting the world, so for me, it is perfectly positioned to embrace cloud.

"It really doesn’t matter where the data centres are based and the only reasons it hasn’t really taken off to date is because we are all so protective of our data and services.”

The five-day SMART Airports conference is being hosted by Airport World publisher, Aviation Business Media, at the Hotel NH Munchen Dornach in Munich.

Airport security is the theme of tomorrow's session, which will be chaired by Andrew Boyd, the managing director of Oxford Consulting & Learning Ltd.

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