Airport pilots wireless flight information access

Manchester Airport is piloting the use of technology to give customer service staff wireless access to flight information systems.

Manchester Airport is piloting the use of technology to give customer service staff wireless access to flight information systems.

Currently, passenger queries can only be handled from desktop terminals that connect to the airport’s Windows-based operational systems, called Amoss.

An application used to stream flight information to screens around the airport has been modified to enable the information to be viewed on the small screen of a handheld computer, displayed as HTML text.

Aaron Bazler, network and infrastructure manager at Manchester Airports Group, said, “We are testing now within IT and will roll out over the next few weeks.”

The 108-access-point network on which the handheld application relies is based on the Trapeze Mobility System and is managed using Trapeze’s Ringmaster planning, configuring, deploying and managing software suite. The network was deployed by Telindus.

Bazler said Ringmaster used computer aided design models for the airport and took account of the construction materials, such as steel, concrete and glass, to ascertain the wireless coverage available.

The network has also been configured as a virtual local area network, allowing Manchester Airports Group to operate different wireless services on the same infrastructure.

Along with the handheld computer application, the airport has teamed up with T-Mobile to offer public Wi-Fi access. Retailers and airlines can also use the wireless infrastructure for their own network communication requirements, Bazler said.

The airport is also piloting the use of wireless access to enterprise IT systems for its laptop users. Using a secure connection based on the wireless infrastructure, the trial is looking at giving users access to Oracle Financials, Ariba’s eProcurement software and Lotus Notes.

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