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Report: Airports ready to adopt the cloud

Amadeus insight paper suggests growing acceptance of cloud-based platforms among airports

Report: Airports ready to adopt the cloud
Amadeus said that traditional fears over cloud security and resiliency were being allayed by next-gen platforms
Airports around the world are increasingly looking to adopt next-generation cloud systems to make the most efficient use of IT resources, according to an insight paper from Amadeus, an IT solution provider for the travel industry.  
The paper collates the viewpoints of more than 20 senior IT executives from the airport industry, investigating the business case for cloud-based, common-use systems at airports. 

The paper identified rising business pressures from stakeholders and competitors that require airports to not only be more efficient with IT, but also to explore alternative revenue streams. The paper identified common-use systems as a route to mitigate these challenges. 

The paper added that the industry is now ready to adopt these next-gen solutions. While some airports still have concerns about resilience, privacy, security and risk, the report suggested that attitudes to these issues are gradually changing.
"Today's set-up relies on outdated technology and is not really embracing the revolutionary capabilities of the Internet," said Michael Ibbitson, CIO at London Gatwick airport, who contributed to the report. 

"Each airline using our CUPPS system needs to build integration locally, on-site. The aviation industry has tried to address the problem with the development of CUTE and CUPPS standards, but in doing so, seems to have reinforced the existing structure rather than instigated change. It is time to adapt technology quickly, and develop a fundamental shift in aviation IT." 

CUPPS (common-use passenger processing systems) was formed in 2009 as an answer to the issues surrounding CUTE (common-use terminal equipment), a standard formed in 1984. The report found that many airports consider CUTE platforms to be outdated, rigid, complex and expensive, affecting the whole airport ecosystem. 

John Jarrell, head of airport IT at Amadeus, explained that airports around the globe need to find ways to maximise the value of their IT resources. He added that dedicated cloud providers could lower costs for airports thanks to economies of scale. 

"A cloud platform can provide an airport sufficient energy savings to allow a VW Golf to circle the earth 27 times annually, if, for example, 75% of a 300-workstation airport switched to thin clients," he said. 

"This really is a significant upgrade from traditional CUTE or CUPPS systems - the question now is whether airports are ready to take the leap of faith and jump to the cloud."
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