Vancouver airport outsources its IT support; finds ARINC managed services "a natural fit"


ANNAPOLIS (ARINC) - Today’s airports can manage growth quite well by adopting new operating technologies such as common-use passenger systems. But as the technology components needed for daily operation increase, any airport IT department can find itself stretched to support all the systems in the way they require.

In early 2005, that situation was fast becoming a challenge for Canada’s Vancouver International Airport.

“We had integrated all our systems—Flight Information Displays, Self-Service kiosks, access control doors, check-in and boarding—and we had 10,000 devices hanging off the network,” states Kevin Molloy, the airport’s Vice President for Simplified Travel. “The rapid growth was putting a strain on our resources, and we knew we would need to move to a 24x7 support mode.”

That was when Vancouver decided to look into IT outsourcing. And they found their answer right on site. “ARINC already had a 24-hour operation going,” says Molloy. “When we decided to outsource our IT support they seemed to be a natural fit—they had a lot of symmetries with us.”

In addition to its modern passenger systems, Vancouver Airport has recently added whole-bag screening capabilities and launched a network of remote check-in kiosks in downtown hotel lobbies, tourism offices, and at the convention center. And the next 5 years promise even greater activity: the Vancouver region will host the Winter Olympics in 2010 and it is already the focus of Canada’s new economic “Gateway Strategy” to expand commerce with Asia and the Pacific.

“Looking into the future, we could see the best way to handle our IT growth was to outsource support,” Molloy states. After a short period of negotiation, the airport recently contracted for a comprehensive IT service and support package provided by ARINC Managed Services LLC, through ARINC’s Canada Division. The contract includes service level agreements for all systems, and the ARINC Call Center in Annapolis, MD will provide dispatching and proactive service level monitoring.

Vancouver made its outsourcing decision just in time: the airport has now announced a $1.4 billion expansion plan that will add 9 new gates, 64 ticket counters, additional pre-flight screening, customs facilities, and baggage handling capabilities.

“Airports considering outsourcing should see where they are on the maturity model—it’s important to take a close look at how they want things to grow,” says Molloy. “The number of our IT systems will not increase—but they will undergo significant expansion. We held off from outsourcing for years, but we’re on the right track now. We are sure we have made the right choice,” he concludes. View further testimonial remarks from Mr. Molloy (Flash, 44 MB).

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