I.T. for IGI

To prepare for the influx of passengers expected at the new terminal more than 550 passenger check-in counters were deployed to ensure efficient passenger screening and check-in processes.

Jim L Martin, Managing Director of ARINC’s Asia Pacific Division, gives a technology perspective on India’s latest state-of-the-art airport terminal.

To prepare for the influx of passengers expected at the new terminal more than 550 passenger check-in counters were deployed to ensure efficient passenger screening and check-in processes.

In preparation for the influx of passengers expected during the Commonwealth Games held later this year in New Delhi, India, Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) has taken measures to modernize Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA).  Opened this July, the airport’s latest terminal – Terminal 3 (T3), occupies an area of 6.3 Million sq ft (585,270m2) and has a total design capacity of 34 Million passengers per annum, large enough to accommodate growing passenger volumes expected at the airport.
In February 2009, the anticipated passenger traffic at T3, coupled with the increased focus to boost travel experiences, led DIAL to select ARINC to deploy an advanced passenger processing and baggage solution at the new Terminal.  The collaboration with us is part of DIAL’s objective to develop IGIA into a state-of-the-art, integrated and world class aviation hub by the use of technology to enhance passenger conveniences, streamline airport operations and strengthen security.
The project was completed in July 2010 and we installed more than 550 advanced common use passenger check-in & departure stations and baggage message distribution technologies for T3.  At the same time, 90 hand-held scanners for the automated baggage reconciliation system were also installed in partnership with Quantum Aviation Solutions.  We also provided network connectivity solutions to allow reliable access for the airlines to their Departure Control Systems (DCS) hosts and back offices at the airport.
As the economy slowly recovers, airports in the region will be tackling the challenge of addressing increased passenger traffic and at the same time maintaining or improving the efficiency and effectiveness of passenger screening and check-in processes.  IGIA, being the second busiest airport in India, is also facing similar challenges.  DIAL understands that with the lack of adequate check-in counters and staff to process passengers, the airport will encounter major airport congestion.  Hence, one of the ways to resolve this problem was to implement common use technology at Terminal 3 to ensure that large numbers of passengers are processed quickly and efficiently.
The common use platform installed at T3 enabled IGIA to maximize T3’s infrastructure through shared workstations and peripheral devices.  Airlines are able to share the same gates and check-in counters through a common platform, thus increasing efficiency in airport operations.  The system is modular, thus providing IGIA the flexibility of opening up extra counters to serve more passengers and clear queues.
Opened this July, IGI’s T3 occupies an area of 6.3 million sq ft and has a total design capacity of 34 Million passengers per annum. Loaded bags and members of the public were commissioned to test the passenger processing and baggage handling speed prior to opening. (All - ARINC)

Large fluctuations in passenger volumes may lead to long waiting times if baggage processing is delayed.  Therefore, baggage handling is also critical to the airport operations in T3.  Our BagLink baggage messaging system installed at the Terminal enables baggage to be sorted and routed accurately by distributing baggage-source messages from multiple airline hosts to the airport’s baggage handling system.  In the event that a bag must be removed from the aircraft before departure, it can quickly be found and identified using wireless scanners connected to the centralized baggage reconciliation database.  The baggage messaging system fully complements the common use platform by leveraging on the airlines’ gateways to send and receive baggage messages in standard IATA formats.  It is estimated that the scanners are able to locate approximately 11,300 bags per hour.
Another key technology that was implemented is our Passenger Reconciliation System (PRS).  The system is the first to be adopted at an Indian airport to help security agencies automatically validate boarding passes against the airport operational database and prevent fraudulent passengers from entering the secure hold area.  PRS simplifies the check-in process for the growing number of passengers who print their own boarding passes while allowing DIAL to meet industry security initiatives and requirements.  This is in line with the goal that DIAL wants to achieve – to provide a delightful and safe passenger travelling experience at India’s airports.
The IGIA T3 project is one of our most complex and massive integration of technologies undertaken by the company.  DIAL targeted the deployment of the solutions to be ready within a record time of over a year.  Our team had to interface with different stakeholders during project implementation including the prime contractor, airport consultants, multiple equipment suppliers, representatives of over 50 airlines that will use the Terminal and DIAL.
To ensure timely cutover and to avoid any miscommunication between the deployment team, DIAL and other parties, regular meetings were held to ensure that all parties were kept updated on the project status.  Close coordination amongst the various teams were also important to ensure that requirements were met for each system and that the deployment was well executed with minimal delays and disruptions.
All of T3’s check-in counters are connected back to the server room and are constantly monitored for system stability and performance.

The ARINC team also participated in rigorous testing with DIAL and the Master Systems Integrator to get all passenger systems installed and working well prior to the opening of T3 in July.  On April 1, 2010, all passenger systems began a 90-day period of real-life operational testing.  Members of the public were recruited to conduct a dry run of the passenger processing speed as well as other technical and operational aspects of the Terminal, including baggage handling processes.
All of T3’s check-in counters are connected back to the server room and are constantly monitored for system stability and performance. A 24-hour technical support is provided by our subsidiary ARINC Managed Services (AMS).
Operations at the new Terminal have been smooth with international flight operations beginning from July 14 while domestic operations were due to have started on the weekend of July 30-31, just after this edition went to press.  Local carriers such as Air India, Kingfisher and Jet Airways are the first few airlines to offer services at the new Terminal.  Subsequently, other low-cost carriers will also be moving their operations to T3.
The completion of T3 within a short timeframe could only have been achieved by the dedication and commitment of all vendors and stakeholders of the project.  The CEO of DIAL, PS Nair, has stated that one of the key drivers in transforming IGIA into a global aviation hub is innovation and state-of-the art technology.  Quoted in a recent interview, Mr. Nair commented that automated baggage and queue systems is the most exciting piece of technology implemented to ensure a state-of-the art Terminal for passengers.
The wide variety of technologies implemented at T3 has helped IGIA achieve its goal of enhancing passenger travel experiences by various means. These include enabling agents to check in passengers, print boarding passes and check baggage from almost any location with a standard internet connection, which delivers improved operational efficiency and facilitation.
In addition, by maximizing airport capacity and streamlining passenger check-in processes through the introduction of automated check-in methods and innovative software technology that is reliable and user friendly for both airport staff and passengers, more options are available, queues are shortened and passengers will enjoy a faster and more convenient check-in experience.
Also, by allowing airlines to share vital passenger and baggage information as well as authenticating boarding passes in real-time on high-speed multi-user networks. This enhances the airport’s security infrastructure.
T3 is an example of how airports in the region are evaluating and leveraging on technology to achieve its operational, passenger and security objectives.  For India, T3 is just the beginning of major airport developments in the country.  DIAL will continue to explore new opportunities to enhance the security and passenger experience with state-of-the-art aviation technology for other airports within India.