Four Ways Cloud Migration Can Benefit Airports


As we’ve discussed in previous articles on Connected Aviation Today, modern airports are facing numerous challenges since emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting travel restrictions.

Today’s airlines and airports are finding themselves short-staffed and under-resourced at simply the worst time – as travelers who were stuck in their homes for years reemerge and begin to travel in near-record numbers. Simultaneously, they’re being asked to be increasingly efficient to help meet aggressive carbon emissions and sustainability goals.

To address these new challenges, airports and airlines are embracing modernization and digital transformation – adopting advanced technologies that can help automate processes, increase operational efficiency, and eliminate the frequency of requisite passenger interactions to not only decrease the impact on staff but to improve the passenger experience.

However, when adopting these new technologies and solutions – from biometrics solutions for airports that improve the passenger journey, to advanced flight tracking and flight path optimization solutions that battle flight delays and increase flight predictability – airlines and airports often have the choice of hosting the system themselves in their own data centers and networks, or having it live in the cloud.

In a recent eBook entitled, “Cloud Operations: the Silver Lining for Airports,” Collins Aerospace and Amazon Web Services (AWS) explore why hosting next-generation applications in the cloud is beneficial for airports and can better assist them in overcoming the significant challenges that they’re facing in the post-pandemic world.

The eBook provides four benefits that cloud-based applications deliver to airports. They include:

Increased Operational Resiliency

Migrating legacy, on-premises systems to the cloud can help airports increase efficiency across multiple areas, from runway, baggage, and facilities security to check-in, bag drop, and off-airport processing.

Airports can migrate almost any workload to the cloud from an on-premises environment or hosting facility. Airport management can rely on the cloud and solutions providers’ years of experience to build organizational, operational, and technical capabilities that can accelerate business benefits.

Modernizing airport IT architecture to fully cloud-based or a hybrid deployment can improve operational resiliency by improving agility and flexibility across systems, lowering costs, reducing on-site administration, decreasing deployment time, and improving scalability.

Decreased Carbon Footprints

Most airports have at least three main data centers; two on the airport campus and one off-airport, usually in a shared data center location. These data centers require immense amounts of energy to power equipment and provide cooling, and often aren’t optimized with energy efficiency and sustainability in mind.

The data centers designed, built, and operated by leading cloud providers are more energy efficient than enterprise sites due to comprehensive efficiency programs that touch every facet of the facility. For example, when the carbon intensity of consumed electricity and renewable energy purchases are factored in, the data centers operated by AWS perform the same task with an 88 percent smaller carbon footprint.

Improved Passenger Experience

The use of a cloud solution – such as AWS – with today’s advanced applications can enable airports to integrate their legacy and cloud-based systems into a cloud-based common-use system. This allows passengers to retrieve data from all airlines for a seamless experience.

For example, Collins Aerospace’s ARINC cMUSE (Multi-User System Environment) is a next-generation common-use passenger processing system (CUPPS) that allows multiple airlines to share check-in desks and boarding gate positions at an airport rather than having their own dedicated infrastructure. Collins, in collaboration with AWS, offers full or partial cloud-based deployment options, providing additional flexibility, scalability, and efficiency.

While every airline’s check-in process is different, cMUSE enables passengers to access check-in information for multiple airlines at one desk or kiosk, making a more streamlined experience for both airline employees and passengers.

Increased Innovation

Airports that have transitioned to the cloud have the ability to exercise more flexibility to innovate better and deliver value faster. Cloud technology allows organizations to take an iterative approach to refining a particular connected airport solution based on customer feedback and changing business needs – and become a more intelligent airport.

Utilizing on-demand, globally available computing power and storage, while paying only for what you use, gives airports the freedom to strategically direct resources and invest in innovation if they so choose. Cloud services ranging from data lakes and serverless computing, to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), provide organizations with the ability to move faster, iterate, and quickly deliver business and customer outcomes.

To learn more about how cloud services could benefit airport operations, click HERE.


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