When the International Airline Travel Association (IATA) recently released a 20-year passenger growth forecast, it anticipated that the demand for air connectivity will result in a more than doubling of the 3.3 billion expected to travel in 2014. There’s no doubt at all that in order to make the most of this growth opportunity, operators will need to look carefully at airport physical infrastructure to make sure that it meets the requirements for efficient and available operations, as well as the regulatory demands for carbon neutral growth
Globally, operators already face the challenge to create a more enjoyable, convenient and safe customer experience for increasingly discerning travelers. What’s more, they must do so whilst meeting stiff competition on cost and services. Today’s passengers take for granted smooth running systems, whether they’re accessing car parking, dropping off their luggage or buying refreshments and duty-free goods.
Throughout the airport, though, there are numerous and rigorous technical requirements which need to be met. For example, airfield ground lighting systems are required to meet International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regulations for runway light transfer time, as well as switching time from main power source to back-up supply. With technology playing such a vital role on the ground and in the air, continuity of energy supply around the clock is an absolute must. In the airline industry, protected power quite literally means protected safety.
As already alluded to, in the latest state-of-the-art airports as well as those being bought up to spec, there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye. From the underlying energy infrastructure systems for lighting, building management and air conditioning, to CCTV, scanning equipment, access controls and baggage screening, without secure power, airport operations would be shut down as quickly and effectively as they were by the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic cloud.
Across the airport campus, continuity of energy supply is essential for seamless and secure operation of technical platforms including the control tower and associated radar equipment for air traffic control, and commercial platforms such as passenger terminal systems, luggage handling systems, flight information panels, security scanners and video equipment. In today’s environment, the stakes are just as high for security systems as they are for safety during take-off and landing. The EDS equipment which scans each and every piece of luggage for potentially explosive materials must be up and running 24×7 to meet industry regulations.
In addition to maintaining the uptime of critical systems, airports are also a part of the aviation industry’s efforts to reduce its environmental impact by capping net emissions through carbon-neutral growth, and a 50% cut in net 2005 emissions by 2050. Airport operations, from the infrastructure to customer-facing systems demand energy efficient solutions which not only cut the cost of operations but also reduce carbon footprint. As infrastructure is installed or renovated, it is vital that projects are able to meet both financial and environmental goals.
Of course, world class infrastructure has to be accompanied by world class services to ensure reliable and uninterrupted operations. Close attention to ensuring optimized facility support plans, streamlined project management, and remote monitoring pay dividends by helping to minimize downtime and protect investments. A holistic approach to equipment and services also helps protect the safety and security of passengers and consumers, and flight and ground crews.
As a company with more than 25 years’ experience partnering with airline and airport operators to protect critical airport systems from expensive and debilitating downtime, Schneider Electric is a single source for integrated solutions that optimize overall equipment operation at the same time as increasing safety and security levels. For more information about how we can help lower operating costs, improve profitability and protect your reputation, please visit our website.