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More tech upgrades for Gatwick

Gatwick’s already seen some upgrades so far this year. Its also had its busiest March on record. So what are the newest changes at the UK’s second largest Airport?

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Gatwick Airport has taken a critical step towards digital transformation by completely updating its campus network with HPE and Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.

Like us, you may be wondering exactly what this all means and how it might benefit you when you check-in. Don’t worry we’ll do our best to break it all down.

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Secure, high-speed networks are essential to the smooth running of modern airports. Gatwick’s network needs to support more than 250 onsite businesses, 30,000 staff and 45 million annual passengers.

The upgrade is designed to not only improve delivery of Gatwick’s existing data needs, but to allow it to implement new technologies.

Part of this upgrade involves deploying sensors that will measure numerous variables such as waste bin levels, occupancy of check-in desks, and even restaurant seating availability within the airport!

An upgrade to the Wi-Fi provided for passengers will mean they can expect more than 30mbps download speed. And how much will this cost the passenger? Absolutely nothing.

Passenger flow analytics based on smart phone locations as well as heat maps will identify queueing and performance improvement opportunities.  Machine learning and facial recognition will also be implemented to improve security and develop ‘Passenger Journey Mapping’ so gate staff can track late running passengers and send notifications via apps.

“Transitioning from old to new networks while keeping the world’s most efficient runway operating is like performing open heart surgery on a patient while he is running.”

This isn’t the first time Gatwick has been a step ahead of others with its technology. Back in March it was announced that Gatwick was going to trial electric-powered autonomous vehicles to shuttle staff around popular locations on the airfield. The trial was thought to be the first of its kind for any airport in the world.

Not long before this, in February, Gatwick became the world’s first major airport to introduce a cloud-based Flight Information Display System (FIDS) – an innovative, cost effective system that is easily scalable, more flexible and resilient, and requires considerably less infrastructure and maintenance.

A spokesperson from the International Data Corporation (IDC) said:

“Gatwick Airport has made a bold move, choosing to completely overhaul its network and enable new technologies, therefore enabling new operational and business models.

“An airport is a complicated environment with multiple end-users, including businesses and private individuals, who have different data needs. In many ways, an airport can be seen as a microcosm of a city. Therefore, not only similar enterprises, but city governments should be following Gatwick’s digital transformation journey with interest.”

Completed in just 18 months while the airport remained 100% operational, the project had to be completed without any downtime or instability. Similar transitions typically take up to four years, but Gatwick and HPE absorbed the challenges of completing the massive project in less than half the normal time, to ensure Gatwick had the resilience necessary for a critical national infrastructure site and the world’s most efficient single-runway airport.

Marc Waters, Managing Director for UK & Ireland, HPE, said:

“Transitioning from old to new networks while keeping the world’s most efficient runway operating is like performing open heart surgery on a patient while he is running. We’re delighted with how smoothly the project has run – the world’s most efficient single runway now has an equally powerful and productive IT network to match it.

“All parties have worked seamlessly, while the airport remains fully functioning, to avoid any impact to the day-to-day running of the airport and its millions of passengers. This transition will be one of the most impressive to have taken place in recent years – we’re very proud to have led it.”

Cathal Corcoran, Chief Information Officer, Gatwick Airport, said:

“We’ve seen record breaking passenger growth since 2010 and to make sure our passengers have the best experience possible, we needed a new network that could handle our expected future growth numbers.

“The network’s capability has been uplifted by such a scale that it now matches that of an Internet Service Provider and allows the airport to provide the latest technologies across a campus that serves over 250 onsite businesses, 30,000 staff and 45 million annual passengers.

“We also needed a much more resilient, self-healing and fault tolerant network and one that is capable of handling future technologies that process considerably more data. HPE’s combined network offering provides this and more as it ultimately supports our vision of an IT infrastructure for a decade.”

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Gatwick

Pay ‘takes-off’ for baggage & ground staff at Gatwick

Good news for easyJet ground staff and baggage handlers at Gatwick.

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Almost a thousand easyJet ground staff and baggage handlers at Gatwick airport employed by DHL have negotiated a pay boost worth on average 7.5% over two years.

The workers will also get a bonus worth over £500 a year and an increase in overtime payments, including double time for working on bank holidays. And in a further boost to workers’ terms and conditions the company’s sick pay policy has also been markedly improved.

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The deal means that a typical worker would be in line for an increase of over £2000 in the first year of the deal including the bonus.

Unite regional officer, Jamie Major said:

“Baggage handlers and ground staff employed by DHL have negotiated a significant boost in pay well above the rate of inflation. During the pay talks Unite and DHL worked constructively to develop a transparent pay strategy which is fair and gives workers the opportunity to progress.

“Unite’s organising strategy has meant that hundreds of new members joined the union which in turn gave Unite more influence during negotiations. This above inflation pay deal once again shows that when pay is falling flat across the economy it pays to be in a union.”

Unite has launched a powerful online tool to help workers secure a fair share of company profits. Unite’s new online tool will mean that in just a few minutes, union reps can generate a professional pay claim. Almost 4000 Unite representatives have already used the Pay Claim Generator.

At the click of a mouse the tool allows union reps to gather the latest up-to-date information from Companies House, the Office for National Statistics and the union’s own database containing the details of tens of thousands of pay deals.

The Pay Claim Generator was designed as part of Unite’s industrial strategy entitled Work, Voice, Pay which is about empowering union members by giving them the tools and support in the workplace to help them win at work.

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