Capgemini and Heathrow strike deal to enhance passenger experience

Capgemini has announced a four-year deal with Heathrow Airport to provide development and operations (DevOps) support for its technology estate.

The deal aims to deliver a new experience for airport passengers, and offers up a supplier marketplace with curated products and displays for customers. The contract will extend Capgemini and Heathrow’s 14-year relationship to 2027.

As one of the most connected airports in the world, with an average of seven million passengers a month, Heathrow Airport was, according to Capgemni’s press statement, looking for new IT for better efficiencies and experiences for both passengers and staff. The airport is avowedly aiming to provide the best airport experience in the world, using a One Heathrow ecosystem and platform which connects passengers and suppliers.

“Capgemini has demonstrated over the past decade that it understands and is committed to our vision of providing the best experience for passengers travelling through our airport, while also being able to overcome challenges and deliver true technological change,” said Bob Stickland, head of technology for commercial and digital platforms at Heathrow Airport.

As part of the deal, Capgemini will deliver further development and support of existing products and services, such as reserve and collect shopping, parking and services, customer service, and 24/7 Level 2 support. This will be a continuation of the work started by Capgemini and Salesforce in 2018 to deliver Heathrow’s commercial digital vision.

Capgemini and Salesforce said they will introduce a new level of personalisation to the passenger experience using Salesforce Data Cloud and Marketing Cloud as a new addition to the DevOps scope. This will help better utilise customer data and analytics. Capgemini will also assist Heathrow in relaunching its VIP service, which offers bespoke solutions to high-profile travellers.

“Through our previous work with Heathrow we learned that agility is vital,” said Bill Twibill, vice-president of travel and transportation at Capgemini. “By adopting a collaborative, agile delivery model, we were able to work together to pivot rapidly when required and continue to deliver results that matter most to Heathrow.”

Heathrow Airport began a digitisation project in 2016, using Microsoft Azure cloud and Microsoft Power BI, and in 2022, it installed Oracle’s Fusion Cloud Applications.

These advancements, as well as the four-year deal with Capgemini, are said to be part of Heathrow’s strategy to modernise its IT infrastructure and support its growth as it recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking to Computer Weekly in 2016, the then Heathrow Airport CIO Stuart Birrell explained the importance of working to future-proof the airport, using technology to improve passenger experience, reduce environmental impact and build a new operational model.

“Predicting what the technology world will look like within that kind of timeframe is hard, but a key part of our job is to keep on top of that and make sure we are all heading in the right direction,” he said.

“But it’s not just technology – we are very focused on providing the world’s best passenger experience, which puts real demand on us as IT. The [technology] expectations of passengers are changing rapidly, and building them into the airport is our mission.”   

Birrell is currently the chief data and information officer at EasyJet.

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