How ground handlers are using technologies to address modern challenges

Yannick Beunardeau

Vice President EMEA, Airport IT, Amadeus

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Imagine you’re a ground handler at one of the world’s busiest airports. Checking in passengers as smoothly as possible is essential to getting planes off the ground on time. The industry is incredibly competitive, margins are razor-thin, and to best serve your airline customers you have to memorize all their specific business rules.

Modern IT systems are helping ground handlers address these challenges and others, while removing the constraints imposed by legacy IT systems. Here’s how.

Helping to keep down costs

If you’re a ground handler, working to the tightest of margins, legacy technology can be a real problem.

Since IATA introduced its Resolution 753, passengers’ bags now have to be scanned more frequently over the course of their airport journey, in order to reduce instances of lost baggage. With traditional technology, ground handlers often have to use expensive legacy messaging to exchange baggage information with their airline customers, a cost which they must then pass onto them.

With modern solutions, such as Amadeus Baggage Reconciliation System (BRS), not only can bags be scanned multiple times along the way, but legacy messaging with airlines using the Altéa Departure Control (DCS) is taken away from the process. Ground handlers that have utilized this solution have reported cost savings of up to 20% due to the combination of reduced messaging costs and greater efficiencies provided by the system. 


Managing your peaks with full serenity 

If you’re a ground handler, no two days are the same. Passenger numbers fluctuate day-to-day, sometimes leaving handlers with the challenge of processing long queues of passengers. 

Airports can find it difficult to cope with sudden spikes in passenger traffic, as they do not have flexibility to scale up and down based on demand. However, with Amadeus Airport Common Use Service (ACUS), ground handlers have extra flexibility to deal with airport congestion, rolling out additional mobile check-in services, on demand.


Want to monetize new services? 

Off Airport Check In Solutions (OACIS) is an innovative ground handler offering off-airport passenger and baggage processing in Australia. Using ‘pop-up’ desks, they offer check-in and bag drop at locations outside the airport terminal such as cruise terminals, sporting events and conferences. With modern flexible common use technology, ground handlers like OACIS can check in passengers virtually anywhere with an Internet connection. A service fee can then be collected directly from the passengers. This also reduces congestion at the airport by moving essential passenger processing tasks, off-site. In a recent milestone, over the busy Christmas/New Year period, OACIS processed more than 1,000 passengers off-site in a single day, freeing up capacity at Sydney Airport during this peak time. 

With modern IT systems, there’s room for ground handlers to bring in more innovation, helping to create efficiency and ease for passengers, while generating new revenue streams. 


Helping to better serve airlines

In keeping their passengers satisfied, airlines rely on their ground handlers. However, if you happen to be a ground handler using a legacy Departure Control System (DCS), with its manual, cryptic display, this can be challenging. You may have to learn, by heart, the specific business rules of lots of different airlines. It certainly doesn’t take away any stress from the job.

With the modern Altéa DCS, every airline can be integrated on a single easy-to-use system. Ground handlers can simply toggle between each airline. Not only does this mean that Altéa does all the memorizing of business rules, but the time it takes for ground handlers to train new staff is reduced from weeks to days. 

Ground handlers work in a naturally complex environment, balancing the demands of numerous stakeholders. Thankfully, that complexity can be reduced with the help of modern technology, which can reduce costs, remove inefficiencies, and assist ground handlers in best serving their airline customers.