Transportation communications and systems engineering specialist Arinc opened an office here in Dubai just after the 2003 Dubai air show. The move has proved to be a powerful springboard for securing work throughout the Middle East, since earlier this year the company won a major airport information technology contract for Dubai International Airport.
According to Graham Lake, Arinc’s managing director for the UK, Middle East and Africa, the group is now pursuing other similar airport projects at Doha, Qatar, the Egyptian capital Cairo and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. It recently was appointed to integrate airline systems at the new passenger terminal at the Egyptian resort of Sharm el Sheikh. This deal might prompt it to open a regional office in Egypt.
Arinc’s contract here at Dubai International Airport is to provide advanced passenger check-in systems and related technologies for the fast-growing gateway’s Terminal 3. The U.S.-based group is partnered with local firm Thermo for this $45 million job, is due to be completed in April 2007.
The Arinc-designed package for the new terminal will include its iMuse common-use passenger system, the AirVue flight information display system, GateFlow resource management system, the AirDB airport operational database and the SelfServ common-use passenger check-in kiosks. Arinc will also integrate new systems for Dubai’s Terminal 3 and Concourse 2 with existing airport infrastructure. The company has also done similar projects for Emirates Airline, as well as for other local carriers such as Etihad, Gulf Air and Qatar Airways.
Over the past decade Arinc has grown fast by diversifying both in terms of technological capability and in terms of geographical reach (having opened new regional headquarters in London and Singapore, respectively in 1999 and 2003). According to the group’s chairman and chief executive, John Belcher, the company is on track to achieve revenues of $1 billion in 2006, which would represent a fivefold increase on its $200 million revenues just seven years ago.
In addition to airport and airline IT systems engineering and integration, Arinc’s other main strengths lie in air-to-ground datalinks, transportation command and control systems, engineering services in the defense sector (such as reverse engineering out-of production parts for aging military airplanes) and airport security systems (such as biometric equipment used for passenger check-in).
Arinc’s airport systems now serve some 300 million passengers each year on behalf of 260 airline clients. The company is now seeing increased demand for the efficiencies provided by its common-use check-in kiosks.
Arinc is a key partner in the AeroMobile consortium seeking to provide in-flight cell phone use for airliners and business jets. It is already providing in-flight broadband Internet connections and has also applied its datalink expertise in the Arinc Direct service which provides a virtual operations center for corporate aircraft operators needing services such as flight information, weather and ground handling.
In August Arinc patented a new system that can automatically (and unobtrusively) assess the weight of passengers and their baggage before aircraft boarding. Passengers are invited to discreetly step onto a scale installed in the floor in front of the check-in desk. This will give airlines much more accurate weight-and-baggage information than they get from the standard official assumptions and should result in optimized fuel loads, greater cargo capacity and safer and more efficient seat assignment. It is particularly valuable for operators of smaller airliners and corporate aircraft for which weight and balance equations are more critical.
Alarm Sounds Alarms
Earlier this year, the company unveiled its new Alarm software for predicting when electronic parts and other aircraft components will become obsolete. The Arinc Logistics Assessment and Risk Management system helps to identify high-risk components, suggests alternatives and helps engineers to determine the most cost-effective design solutions.
Other Arinc innovations include the MuseLink wide area network system which is claimed to offer economical IP networks for airlines. Last month, the system was selected by Thai Airways to provide global connectivity for its airport operations at Bangkok, Dubai, Milan, Munich, Seoul Incheon, Pusan and London Heathrow. Arinc also offers its BagLink technology which uses on-site servers to process critical data for making sure that baggage does not go astray at airports.