Wellington Airport moves airline agent systems to the cloud

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Wellington Airport in New Zealand has partnered with Amadeus to move to its Airport Cloud Use Service (ACUS) and simplify how agents access airline systems.

Airline agents can now offer a personalized service to passengers at check-in and boarding when flying on six airlines at Wellington including Qantas, Jetstar and Fiji Airways, by logging on to ACUS to access any airline system they need. The service will be scaled-up to support all airlines as their operations continue to resume following the lifting of travel restrictions.

Agents at Wellington Airport used to access the different airline check-in applications using on-site systems comprising local servers, workstations and network connections. According to Amadeus, this traditional approach required significant local IT support services including on-site technicians and came with substantial environmental and economic costs and limited innovation in passenger services.

The technology modernization means Wellington has retired 37 traditional workstations and replaced them with modern thin clients, which Amadeus has asserted are more energy efficient. Thin-client devices are low-power computers that provide an interface to the cloud, where computing tasks are undertaken by more efficient servers. The company also reported that a typical on-site PC workstation uses 135kWh during peak performance, compared with thin clients that use just 15kWh. Hosting airline applications on regional cloud infrastructure, rather than local servers within the airport’s own mini-data center, has removed the need for local maintenance while ensuring the airport can remove 10 of its own servers.

As a result of the newfound flexibility of running passenger services from the cloud, Wellington Airport will now consider the introduction of off-airport check-in and bag collection services. In Wellington’s case, this would mean agents could be present at, for example, major sporting events like the 2023 FIA Women’s World Cup to check in passengers away from the terminal, reducing the potential for queues while improving the passenger experience.

Jeremy Burrows, head of technology at Wellington Airport, said, “With Amadeus’s ACUS, airline staff can now log on to access any airline system they need for check-in and boarding. It means we’ve been able to retire 37 traditional workstations and 10 servers, replacing them with modern thin clients which are 10 times more energy efficient. It’s good for our bottom line and for the planet to be greatly reducing our energy consumption like this.

“Airline agents have seen an increase in speed and responsiveness with ACUS in comparison to the previous solution, and it’s easy for our team to maintain. It also provides greater flexibility to provide passenger services in different locations quickly and easily if needed. For example, if there was a natural disaster all we need is power and an internet connection to operate rather than bulky physical infrastructure.”

Sarah Samuel, senior vice president of airport and airline operations, Asia-Pacific (APAC), Amadeus, added, “Wellington Airport needed to move to a new system extremely quickly during a period when the world faced considerable uncertainty in global hardware supply chains. The tight deadline underlines how the cloud supports more flexible passenger services, as agents can deliver an outstanding service anywhere that they have an internet connection.”

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