Gatwick Airport

Xchanging’s vision is to provide technology for Gatwick that delivers the ultimate passenger experience. with over 34 million people travelling to and from Gatwick every year, that’s lot of passengers to keep happy. The entire airport experience is affected or influenced by Xchanging’s ability to deliver and maintain a reliable airport network from the curbside to the departure gate (or vice-versa).

The Challenge

Xchanging has progressively built its reputation and the scale of services provided at Gatwick since the airport was sold by Baa to Global infrastructure Partners (GiP) in 2009. as a long-term investor in infrastructure assets worldwide, GiP announced a £1bn investment programme to upgrade and expand the airport. Legacy iT systems were disparate and outdated and Xchanging was commissioned to remove risk, reduce cost, improve service and support future growth.

In 2010 Xchanging delivered a common network infrastructure to the airport for the first time. not only did Gatwick achieve greater visibility and control over its iT, but the entire wired and wireless network was consolidated through Xchanging iTiL processing centres. Future enhancements to the Gatwick network would be faster, easier and more secure.

The partnership with Gatwick strengthened in 2011 when Xchanging was asked to provide end User computing services at the airport. The project involved managing and maintaining desktop computers, printers, projectors, handheld devices, mobile devices and the passenger flight information screens (Fis). Xchanging’s delivery became all the more impressive when you realise that the service now delivers to Gatwick’s 800 customers, 4,000 staff, and 25,000 contractors, every day.

The Approach

IT used to be considered as an expensive, back office, business ‘function’ at the airport, essentially hidden from daily activities. Xchanging is providing an increasingly simplified, streamlined and accessible technology service, visible daily throughout the airport.

In 2013, supported by Xchanging, Gatwick introduced ‘hot-Desking’ for passenger check-ins. instead of being restricted to a dedicated desk, telephone, computer and software, airline check-in staff are now able to login to any available check-in desk and serve passengers immediately. it’s more efficient for the airport, quicker for the airlines and makes life easier for the passengers.

This type of operational example typifies the partnership Xchanging has with Gatwick. Far from being a back office role, GiP recognise that efficiencies and speed at the airport create revenue opportunities. Xchanging provides the technology that improves efficiency, and therefore drives revenue.

From the highly visible, to the almost invisible, to the seemingly unimportant, Xchanging is working to proactively manage technology opportunities for Gatwick. The airport crisis Management centre has been equipped with the latest communications and display technology to enable a 24/7/365 scaled crisis response. Xchanging now manages several hundred staff mobile devices over wireless instead of more costly mobile tariffs. even on the far reaches of the airport perimeter, handheld devices improve efficiencies for the airport’s Fire service by using barcode scanners to check and report on equipment status.

The Future

As Gatwick continues to improve efficiencies and speed passengers to their destinations, the priority for technology will continue to increase. Xchanging is supporting the introduction of ‘Mflow’ face recognition technology and auto-boarding equipment at Gatwick. in the future, technology will enable a seamless transfer from arrival at the airport, to departure. There will be no need for an airport ‘app’ or other information obstacles. You will connect via mobile on arrival and device recognition, integrated with supporting airport technologies will enable check-in, bag-drop, security clearance, passport control, retail promotion and flight boarding. even the airport car parks will support face recognition. All managed and supported by the Xchanging network.

Passengers don’t typically prioritise their choice of airport. They select a destination and perhaps an airline. Xchanging is providing the technology that will make Gatwick an international airport of choice. a second runway is scheduled to carry planes at Gatwick from 2017. Xchanging will continue to work with GiP to ensure the airport has the technology solutions to support and improve passenger journeys now, and into the future.

Download the Gatwick Airport Case Study