Copenhagen Airports: Architects of the Future Airport

by | Sep 5, 2022 | Airports, Digital Transformation, News

Copenhagen Airports: Architects of the Future Airport

Copenhagen Airport (CPH) has been appointed the most efficient airport in Europe fifteen times – most recently in 2019. To maintain this position, an ambitious strategy to become ‘architects of the future airport’ was presented in 2019. The strategy was conceived since a new and drastic approach to digital transformation was necessary to deliver on CPH’s ambitious growth targets through optimisation and new opportunities.


Replacing old legacy architecture

Digital innovation and development of basic airport operations were stalling due to old legacy architecture and technology implemented in the early 1980’s. The legacy system that covered many historical add-ons, was technologically outdated and hard to maintain – in effect a burning platform – leading to high maintenance costs, excessive risks and a hindrance to further development and growth.

In 2017, Netcompany was commissioned to perform a life-time extension on the existing legacy core platform, and while performing this task, the idea of AIRHART – a full-scale replacement with a self-developed platform for total airport management – was born.


Digital transformation from the bottom up

For many airports around the globe, becoming a smart airport has proven to be a tough and troublesome journey. Many have experienced failed implementation projects, broken promises and “smart” features that don’t deliver the expected business value. Often the problem is not the “smart” features themselves, but the underlying foundation, which is not geared to capture, handle and expose high-quality data needed for smart airport operations.

Trying to become smarter by adding multiple “smart” technologies to old legacy core systems will only take you part of the way. At some point, the limitations of old legacy systems will be evident and prove to be a dead-end if you want to become a truly smart airport. Digital transformation from the bottom-up implies high risks. In Copenhagen Airport a comprehensive and robust transition plan was conceived, mitigating risks on multiple levels – technical, organisational as well as commercial.


Business value – delivered

The implementation of AIRHART in CPH is impacting several of the airport’s key performance indicators. Through smarter forecasting and turnaround management, punctuality is improved and waiting time is reduced, adding to increased overall passenger satisfaction. AIRHART is also allowing for more efficient use of existing resources, enabling Copenhagen Airport to increase throughput and raise the passenger number significantly.

Additionally, the implementation of AIRHART is expected to reduce IT costs considerably, all while providing CPH with the needed agility and resilience to face future challenges and reduce time to market.

Implementation of a truly data-driven platform is allowing CPH to address and support a substantial leap in the sustainability domain. AIRHART impacts the development of smart grid, solar panels and reduction of emissions.


About Smarter Airports

In a market dominated by large players relying on monolithic legacy systems and acquisitions, Smarter Airports was founded by Netcompany and Copenhagen Airports to challenge the status quo by reinventing traditional airport systems. In the AIRHART platform, the oldest code is dated 2019. The AIRHART architecture is born to be flexible and meet the needs of a true data-driven airport of the future. AIRHART enables you to meet the requirements of tomorrow for efficient, passenger-centric, safety-compliant and sustainable airport operations.


Article by Smarter Airports 
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