Despite the imminent threat of being broken up by the Government, airport operator Aer Rianta is planning to proceed with a major upgrade of its computing hardware and software systems as well as telecoms services and maintenance. The upgrade will see the implementation of a common user terminal system at Irish airports that can be used by local and overseas airlines for ticketing and issuing baggage tags.
Aer Rianta has called for bidders for the contract, whether individually or as part of consortiums, to have their applications in place by 16 January through its procurement partner Achilles Procurement Service Ltd.
The lucrative contract will involve the provision of hardware, software, communications and technical support for what Aer Rianta terms its common user terminal environment (CUTE). It will involve upgrading and possibly replacing the existing CUTE system in place at Irish airports.
It is understood that the contract is covered under the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA).
It is envisaged that the new solution will enable airlines at an airport to share passenger terminal handling facilities. These will include such areas as check-in, transfer and gate counters on a common use basis, as well as use their own and other parties’ host computer applications for functions such as departure control, reservations, ticketing, boarding pass and baggage tag issuance.
According to Aer Rianta, it is open to applicants to decide whether the appropriate data processing and telecoms equipment may be purchased or leased, providing the proposed solution will receive ongoing maintenance by the system provider.
However, despite the looming deadline for the contract, it is unclear how secure the future of the project will be in light of the imminent breakup of the airport operator. It is understood that the Department of Transport recently confirmed that legislation for the breakup of Aer Rianta will not go through until mid-way through this year. When the new legislation is passed, the existing board of Aer Rianta will be resolved, to be replaced by three autonomous boards for the management of Shannon, Cork and Dublin airports.
By John Kennedy