In early August 2016, the world’s best athletes, coaches, support crews and sports fans descended on Rio de Janeiro’s Galeão International Airport for the 2016 Summer Games.
An estimated 1.5 million of them, in fact.
Behind the scenes, Rockwell Collins’ suite of integrated airport systems ensured everything ran smoothly, keeping air travelers safe and moving them along to their destinations efficiently.
New passenger gates, powered by ARINC VeriPax™ — a passenger reconciliation system — enable a total passenger flow of fifty people per minute, nearly tripling the previous rate. Additional solutions such as ARINC AirDB™ airport database and ARINC AirVue™ digital signage solutions, ensure flight information is readily available to airport employees and passengers alike.
But the opportunity to help with the Summer Games isn’t the full story. While safety, security and efficiency are priorities for helping the Summer Games succeed, this project means much more to Rockwell Collins and the teams involved.
A spirit of collaboration
The project in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was one of great complexity which required collaboration on several fronts — from internal teamwork to working closely with the customer.
According to Augusto de Macedo Santos, head of airport systems across Latin America and the Caribbean for Rockwell Collins, the combination of superior technology and the willingness to truly listen to the customer’s needs — coupled with our ability to deliver on promises — ended with the best possible solution for Rio de Janeiro’s airport.
“I’m so excited to see this project come to life,” said de Macedo Santos. “There is a strong sense of pride in the final solution we’ve put together for the games.”
Rockwell Collins’ teams shared that pride from across the globe as they worked together to design, test, install and administer the systems necessary for the Galeão International Airport. Employees from Annapolis, Maryland; Hyderabad, India; Cairo, Egypt; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Hanoi, Vietnam all made the project a reality.
“It’s a complex system and we wanted to make sure everything is done to the highest quality, to the highest Rockwell Collins standards.”
Rakan Khaled, head of global system integration, said the biggest challenge for this project was its strategic nature and the complexity of several integrated systems, including those from third parties.
“This is the first time the Summer Games will be in Latin America, and all eyes are on Brazil,” explained Khaled. “It’s a complex system and we wanted to make sure everything is done to the highest quality, to the highest Rockwell Collins standards.”
An integrated solution built on trust
For the Summer Games, multiple variables made it necessary for the airport systems to be flexible and handle a wide range of traffic volume with no interruption in service.
Whether supporting an event such as the Summer Games or helping to automate a smaller airport, de Macedo Santos says teams at Rockwell Collins understand they hold a key advantage — and not just from a technology standpoint.
“Our collaborative approach means we are much more open to working with our customers to understand their specific needs,” said de Macedo Santos. “The reflection of our success is a growing number of customers worldwide choosing our solutions for their needs.”
Part of this approach is building trust with the customer, delivering their custom solution on budget and on time and providing ongoing support and resources.
For Rio and the Summer Games, support teams on the ground in Brazil provide ongoing support, maintenance and training for employees at the airport.
Khaled recalls some unique training needs to get everything operating smoothly. “At one point, we had old and new systems operating together during the transition, so the airport required additional support,” explained Khaled. “Due to our global reach and abilities, we were able to get them exactly the resources they needed and ensure the transition was smooth with no down time — something we’re proud to say is unique to what we offer.”
A pathway to the Latin America market
The opportunity to work with the Galeão International Airport — and the visibility afforded by the Summer Games — opens up many opportunities for Rockwell Collins in the Latin America market.
Rockwell Collins also has solutions in place at Confins International Airport in Brazil, which means all available airport solutions from our company are operating within the country.
The mix of airport opportunities in Brazil is also strong. Larger airports continue to install self-service systems introducing efficiencies for their passengers and airport operations alike. Smaller airports — which are becoming more privatized in Brazil — are leaning more heavily on automated systems due to a lack of IT and support staff.
“It’s very exciting,” said de Macedo Santos. “Latin America is definitely a region with a lot of opportunity. We’re thrilled to be a trusted part of the growth engine for this market.”
And with the same spirit of teamwork, a focus on customer needs and exciting new markets, Rockwell Collins is ready to help airports around the world provide safe, efficient air travel.
-By Casey Hansen