Prague Airport - Czech Republic

KODYS helps ensure security at Prague Airport with mobile terminals

The Company

The Prague Airport is an international, public, civil airport located at the north-western edge of Prague. It is the busiest passenger airport in the Czech Republic and the second busiest airport in Central and Eastern Europe. In 2007, Prague Airport handled 12.4 million passengers and is designed for international, as well as domestic, scheduled and charter flight traffic. The number of passengers in 2008 increased by 7.5 % compared to 2007, and similar growth is expected this year with as many as 13 million passengers using the airport. Prague Airport handles aircraft and provides flight traffic security for 52 airlines connecting Prague to 120 destinations around the world by direct link, as well as for 6 cargo carriers (data are valid for the 2008 summer flight season).

The Challenge: Original system did not fulfil all the requirements of the airport operator

The Baggage Reconciliation System (BRS) links the passenger to his baggage before it is loaded onto the plane. It is a part of international aviation security standards. This system has been in use at Prague Airport since 2000.

 

Increasing security requirements and demands for passenger satisfaction have exposed a need to catch up with new developments in technology. More up-to-date methods of handling check-in procedures were needed, using the latest mobile communications which would meet the airport’s requirements. This called for a unique solution - one which would not interfere with existing systems already in use at the airport (until its complete replacement) or with other information technology already in operation there.

 

It was also very important for the customer that the system would be compliant with the L17 standard for the Security of International Aviation and Protection against Criminal Acts.

 

There was also a need for a surveillance system which would not only detect eventual attempts to break into the wireless network but also be capable of active defensive measures.

 

It was even more urgent to find a new solution as the procedures in use at the airport were based on out-of-date technology, and its maintenance was getting too expensive. That is why it was necessary to implement an innovative system, which would above all meet modern demands for security and also meet the airport’s need for increased passenger handling capacity.

What is BRS (Baggage Reconciliation System)?

The BRS system (Baggage Reconciliation System) links passengers to their baggage before it is loaded onto the plane. This (reconciliation) process is in compliance with ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) regulations. This issue is covered by Annex 17 of the Chicago Convention, which deals with the security of civil air traffic. This declares that airports and airlines have to ensure that baggage transport always corresponds to passengers on board. (See also the Ministry of Transport of the Czech Republic - Protection of International Aviation against Criminal Acts L17, Chapter 4). For security reasons, a piece of baggage is not permitted onto an aircraft unless identified with and accompanied by a passenger on board. The passenger hands over his tagged luggage at the check-in desk and then continues through the transit area to his boarding gate. Meanwhile, his luggage passes through security controls to sorting areas, where the BRS system is waiting to process it. The system gives final permission for loading the luggage if the baggage tag information is the same as that supplied by the check-in procedure. In case the passenger does not board the plane, the check-in system sends a message to the BRS system, which notifies ground crew that the luggage in question must be unloaded. The BRS system records the position and time when every piece of luggage is loaded. This makes it easier to find any item if it has to be removed from the aircraft. The system effectively minimizes losses and errors when loading baggage onto a plane.

The Solution: Wireless network with MC9090-G mobile terminals

For technical reasons, and to maintain continuity and normal operations at Prague Airport, the new system had to be implemented quickly in parallel with existing ones. KODYS was awarded the contract to supply the new equipment as a result of a public tender. As a state-owned company, it demanded the best.

 

The reason why KODYS won the tender was that it met the terms of the public competition, complying with all the customer's conditions and technical requirements. The KODYS system provided the most comprehensive solution suitable for moderate capacity airports. Moreover, KODYS offered a favourable price. The deal also included all the necessary technical support for a term of 4-5 years, specialist installation, as well as all hardware equipment.

 

The implementation itself included 70 AP300 access points managed by a Motorola RFS7000 wireless switch with redundant connection and 165 Motorola MC9090G mobile terminals. Implementation took KODYS a record time of only 2 months to complete, while Prague Airport continued to remain fully operational 24/7. Every piece of luggage is given a bar code at the check-in, and its transport to the correct aircraft is directed and monitored by the Motorola system. Everything went well also thanks to the use of the MSP system, which enables easy mobile terminal management. Mobile terminal management activities include: remote installation of applications, monitoring, upgrade, and inventory check of every piece of equipment - mobile terminals, wireless switches, and access points. The MSP system shortened the time necessary for the preparation of terminals from days to mere minutes.

 

Another system used at the Prague Airport is RFMS (RF Management Software), which is designed for monitoring and visualizing the installed wireless network. After importing maps into RFMS, it takes only a minute or so to identify a "dead" access point or where a particular mobile terminal is located.

 

The third installed surveillance system is WIPS (Wireless Intrusion Protection System), WIPS not only detects eventual attempts to break into a wireless network, but it is capable of active defence thanks to its link with the RFS7000 (wireless switch.) To work, WIPS needs sensors which monitor traffic in the 2,4 GHz and 5 GHz bandwidths. These sensors at Prague Airport are represented by Motorola AP300 access points equipped with special firmware. It is expected that the number of WIPS sensors will be increased during 2008 to cover not only the entire airport area, but also to pinpoint the position of any intruders. Thanks to the system the wireless network is now secured by the most up-to-date standards.

The Benefits: Faster check-in procedures and increased security

The main benefits of the newly-implemented system are above all higher system stability, increased security of wireless communication, lower operational costs, more effective check-in and control of luggage, and faster, more secure baggage handling.

 

Moreover, it was very important for the customer that the system would be in compliance with the L17 standard for the Security of International Aviation and Protection against Criminal Acts. The advantage of the new system is mainly its higher security, as well as capabilities connected to passenger satisfaction - more accurate observation of flight timetables and methods to ensure that the luggage always flies with its owner. In addition, the system is flexible enough to permit the implementation of new technologies, such as RFID (radio- frequency identification), which may be implemented in the future.

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