Toronto Pearson Airport takes off with $130 million smarter transportation solution from IBM

MARKHAM, ON, April 28, 2010—IBM (NYSE: IBM) has signed a $130 million Cdn, five-year agreement with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) to create a smarter transportation solution that will lead to greater efficiencies and lower fees for airlines.

IBM's smarter transportation solution for the GTAA is expected to generate double-digit savings while improving responsiveness and service levels at the airport. Air carriers and other airport tenants will receive IT services directly from IBM to support critical operations at kiosks, passenger and bag check-in counters, as well as aircraft gates.

The agreement was signed in April 2010 with the GTAA, which has responsibility for the operation and management of the Toronto Pearson International Airport, Canada’s busiest airport. With more than 75 years working with clients in the airline industry, IBM's transportation team has a full understanding of the challenges the airline industry faces.

The GTAA is implementing ways to reduce costs to airlines with a goal to improve passenger experiences. Day-to-day support of airport technology will be transitioned from a mix of in-house and subcontractor service providers to IBM. Airlines will see substantial savings as they are billed directly by IBM for their IT services.

"This transaction puts in place an innovative new model for delivering complex technology at Toronto Pearson" said Gary Long, Vice President and Chief Information Officer for the GTAA.
With more than 30.4 million passengers each year, Toronto Pearson is one of the world’s largest airports built on a "common use equipment" model—a model by which most airport resources, such as check-in counters, boarding gates and kiosks, can be accessed and utilized by any of the airport's 60 airlines. Optimizing the use of the airport infrastructure seamlessly across each airline's individual platform allows the GTAA to operate at peak efficiency and maximize the use of limited physical assets, such as airplane gates.
"As one of the world's smartest airports, Toronto Pearson's common-use model is a great example of how intelligent solutions can be applied to transportation challenges," said Saad Toma, general manager, Global Technology Services, IBM Canada. "Moving technology support and billing to IBM allows the GTAA to focus on what they do best—running Canada's largest airport and ensuring safe travel for passengers, while maximizing savings for the airlines and the GTAA."

The Airline Consultative Committee's IT Subcommittee, with members from select airlines, the GTAA and IBM will establish a unique governance model based on the actual usage of kiosks and counters rather than on many of the traditional IT metrics, such as server and storage usage. This will allow the airlines to much more closely tie their actual costs and benefits of IT to their passenger pricing.

IBM serves major global airlines and airports with consulting services and technology to improve traveler experience, streamline operations, scheduling, maintenance, crew and equipment optimization, kiosks, as well as sense-and-respond systems for predictive applications.

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Mike Boden
IBM Media Relations