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For most businesses today’s challenges lie in the ability to respond to the growing
requirements of the many departments for operational, statistical and financial information.

More and more Airports and Air Traffic Control Units are reassessing their “Information
Technology Strategy “ and how to support their mission critical issues of the 1990’s and to
ensure that they have in place solutions that will carry them well into the 21st century.

Many Airports and ATC Units have already moved towards open systems where information
can be accessed and shared across a multitude of disparate hardware systems, operating
systems and networks.

Senior management realise that in order that the different departments contained within an
airport to work in harmony, they must link and integrate their resources, people, equipment,
facilities and information across the airport’s local or wide area network and where necessary
on the web.


ATC Handling Agent Apron Control


Data Base

Over Fight Cash Aeronautical Other

Billing Invoicing Invoicing Invoicing

FIDS/BIDS Staff Information Reports Schedule

Fig. 1

Figure 1 shows a typical airport management system with information flowing between
systems via a central database connected to the airport LAN or WAN.
The systems can be from one supplier or can be disparate systems from different suppliers.
Simple trigger functions outside of the database are used to trigger functions between the
different functions. For instance the landing time entered by ATC automatically triggers
landed on the flight information display system.
Triggers can be inside or outside the database. Triggers outside of the database give
complete system independence and allows upgrades from many different sources.
There are many departments on an airport that want to have information supplied in real
time. Some of these are discussed below: -
Air Traffic Control
In any air traffic environment data flowing in and out is normally via the AFTN. This
comprises of flight plans and information on flights that the unit is handling, such as slot time
requests, delays etc.
Typically, the required information can be entered in ICAO format and UTC and can contain
the following information: -

Aircraft Registration
Runway Used
Actual Time of Landing and Departure
Number of Circuits
Number and Type of Approaches
New Estimates of Arrival and Departure
New Flight Information

Aircraft registrations are required so that the aircraft type can be retrieved from the database
and this information can be used for correct allocation of stands/air-bridges, aeronautical
billing on weight of aircraft etc.

Runway used creates statistical information and assists with the planning of runway

Actual time of landing and departure can be used for aeronautical billing of parking and can
be used to trigger an update to the flight information status.

Number of circuits and approaches are used for aeronautical billing and statistical purposes.

A major point to bear in mind with the way is that the airlines/handling agents are also being
updated on estimates of arrival and departure. Therefore it has to be agreed by all the party’s
concerned on who will be responsible for the updating the information.

Airlines and handling agents know of new flight information and if both parties’ have the
ability to create new flights then a minute difference in time can create two flights instead of
the one.

ATC information can be used to create mandatory statistics required by some Government
agencies such as the National Air traffic Service (NATS) who use the information for planning
purposes and in some case for airspace usage.

ATC Billing
Information entered in ICAO format and UTC and consists of the following information: -

Aircraft Registration
Point of Entry into Air Space
Point of Departure of Air Space
Airport Point of Departure and/or Landing
Times at the Different Points of Entry or Departure

Aircraft registration is entered so that the aircraft type and weight can be used in the
calculation of the fee.

Airport of origin/destination or point of entry and exit are used in the calculation of the fee.

Times are entered if entry and exit time in the FIR forms part of the billing calculation.
Airline/Handling Agents

Information can be entered by an airline or handling agent will normally be in IATA format in
local time or UTC.
Information entered can consist of the following: -

Block On/Off Times

Passenger and Freight Information
Check-In Desk Opening and Closing
Departure Gate Opening and Closing
New Flight Details (If not entered by ATC)
New Estimates of Arrival and Departure Times (If not entered by ATC)
Seasonal Schedule Information

Block on and off times can be used by the aeronautical billing system to calculate parking
time. Another usage is for statistical information on the time it take aircraft types to taxi onto
stand from landing and off stand to departure.

Passenger and freight information can be used to calculate aeronautical charges and produce
statistical information for load factor analysis.

Check-In opening and closing can be used for triggering the flight information display system
status remarks and by the aeronautical billing system.

Departure gate opening and closing can be used for triggering the flight information display
system and by the aeronautical billing system.

Seasonal schedule information can be entered and produces the daily mayfly information,
which in turn is the basis of the daily flight information display information.

Apron Handling

Information can be entered in either ICAO or IATA in local time or UTC.

Stand Allocation
Block On/Off (If not entered by the airline/handling agent)
First Bag Last Bag Times
Ground Services Supplied to the Aircraft

Allocation of stands by aircraft type can be displayed to ATC who can direct the aircraft to the
correct stand/air-bridge without having to contact ATC by radio or telephone.

First and last bag times can be entered so that statistical information can be obtained against
the published IATA unloading times. This can assist in the apron equipment and man power

Ground services can be entered so that these items can be calculated and invoiced by the
aeronautical billing system.

An interface can be provided to a specialist stand allocation system which assists in working
out stand allocation. This can be a two-way interface; both entering and importing back
updated stand allocation information.
Flight Information Display System

This system is really the front end to an airport management system. It displays information
to the public in a format selected by the airport. The displays are made up by the information
being entered or by interface or triggered from other systems.

Fig. 2

Figure 2 shows a typical modern flight information display using Internet Explorer as the
display medium. Advanced scrolling techniques are used to display code-shared logos, flight
numbers, multi-sector airports and multi-lingual remarks.

Using these advanced display techniques allows code shared logos and flight numbers; multi-
sector airport and dual language remarks are can be displayed on the check-in, arrival,
departure, departure gate and baggage carousel screens.

It is now possible to trigger the public address system to made multi-lingual flight
announcements in at the same time as the displays are updating.

Staff Management Displays

Displaying information to the staff is a vital part of any management system. With the advent
of PCs and LAN/WAN networks it is a simple task to display and update information to airport
staff in real-time in whichever format they wish. Information can also be displayed via the
airport web site thus allowing many additional people access to information such as Customs
and Excise, Immigration etc. Gone is the need for the old fashioned small monitor staff
displays located at strategic locations within the airport.
Good information can cut down the amount of radio or telephone calls required by staff to
keep colleagues abreast of changing events.
Fig. 3

Figure 3 shows a typical modern internal staff management display on a PC connected via the
airport LAN.
By the use of advanced techniques additional information can be displayed in a separate
window by flight. Activation of the window can be via mouse-over technology.

Seasonal Schedule

This forms the basis of all commercial flight movements usually for a season. The movements
can be provisional or confirmed.
The information can be entered in manually or by electronic means such as electronic data
transfer, magnetic media or by keying in the information.
The scheduled can contain but limited to the following: -

Code Shared Flight Numbers

Multi-Sector Airports
Aircraft Type
Estimated Time Of Arrival
Estimated Time of Departure
Operational Days Of The Week
Exception Dates
Allocated Resources Including

Check-In Desks
Check-In Time
Departure Lounges/Gates
Flights can be matched so that if the arriving aircraft is delayed a message can be then given
to the handling agent/airline reminding them that the delay may affect the outbound aircraft

Airport management can then use the data to plan all of their resources and can also form
the basis of a budget by utilising the financial information contained within the financial

Information from any system is only as good as the data entered in.

Both printed and on screen reports are a vital management tool that can be used to improve
working practices and to provide information that good business decisions can be made.

Typical reports are as follows: -

Daily Mayfly
Load Factors and Income Reports by: -


Aircraft Movements - Hourly Activity

Passenger Movements - Hourly Activity
Traffic Distribution by Airline, Aircraft, Airport
This Year to Last Year Comparisons by: -

Total Movements by Movement Type

Percentage of Passengers by Operator
Aircraft Movement by Operator
Operator Within Route

Traffic Analysis Reports by: -

Total Traffic by Origin/Destination

Commercial & Regular by Origin/Destination
Total Traffic by Aircraft Category
Commercial Traffic by Airline
Commercial Traffic by Aircraft Type
Commercial Traffic by Major City
Average All Up Weight by Airline


Invoicing is the lifeblood of any company and airports are no different. Most modern systems
utilise a special billing engine specifically designed for the airport market place.
The aeronautical invoicing system has to incorporate the following: -

Cash Invoicing
Credit Invoicing

Cash invoicing should cater for any size of aircraft.

Credit invoicing should allow for multi-currency invoicing such as the Euro.
Ledger Systems

Ledger systems should contain all financial information within the: -

Sales Ledger (Accounts Receivable)

Purchase Ledger (Accounts Payable)
Nominal Ledger (General Ledger)

In addition many systems can be supplied with the following additional modules: -

Bank Reconciliation
Purchase Order Processing
Sales Order Processing
Stock Control
Fixed Asset Register
Human Resources


Airport management systems have the ability to ease the work load of staff and convey up to
date information to the travelling public. It is very important to plan the data flow and to
display the information in a format that can easily be read and acted upon by the various
departments within or external to an airport.
As the old saying goes, a picture can speak a thousand words.

The Future

Technology moves along at a never-ending pace.

Already the technology exists to automatically update estimated arrival times, aircraft
registration number, actual landing and take off times, actual block on/off times, ground
services supplied to an aircraft.

Vehicle tagging to display exact location of any vehicle on an airport.

Wireless networking that will allow passengers to access information via their laptop
computers, their PDAs and their mobile phones from any location within a terminal building.

As the passenger numbers increase, so will the requirement for real time information, both by
the airport staff and the travelling public. Systems installed to-day must have the capacity to
cater for the increase in the never ending requirements for up to date information so that
decisions can be made for the smoother running of any part of the airport business.

Name R C Goold
Position Chairman & Managing Director

Company Airport Information Systems Limited

Address 12 Edison Village
Nottingham Science & Technology Park
University Boulevard
Nottingham, NG7 2RF
Great Britain

Telephone (44) (0)115 943 6677

Fax (44) (0)115 922 0924

Web Address

Rick Goold has over 20 years experience within the airport and aviation industry and started
Airport Information Systems in April 1990.
He has consulted and presented papers in many parts of the world on airport related systems
and has also run training courses for IBM in the Asia Pacific Region.

A Fellow of The Institute of Directors and Member of The Royal Aero Club.

Married, with two grown up children Rick relaxes by flying his World War Two Boeing
Stearman Bi-plane.