Master Systems Integrator (MSI)

Modern airports employ a large number of disparate systems that must be bought together to provide a single homogenous solution to allow an airport to function efficiently.

The role of the MSI incorporates both a full range of airport technology and the program management capability to deliver an end-to-end integrated solution. In effect through Airport

MSI, AAC brings together all the technology suppliers into a single program of works that integrates into (and informs) the construction contractor’s master building plan.

The high concentration of technology in airports combined with large numbers of stakeholders poses a unique challenge for their construction. The primary requirement for any construction project is that the building is delivered on time and on budget.

A proper governance model and communications strategy is required to set and manage expectations for the wide range of stakeholders involved in any new airport project. For example, how does the contractor react and organize after unforeseen issues present themselves, while burdened with a politically-engaged and committed “opening date”?

Our MSI consulting services have a strong focus on the Airport Industry’s and Aviation mission-critical systems. This includes system design and implementation and critical levels of integration across multiple systems to develop a fully integrated solution—not a number of disparate systems.

The Airport

At its core an airport terminal is charged with

  • Safe and secure throughput of passengers
  • Safe and secure throughput of baggage
  • Safe and secure facilitation of aircraft turnaround

As a result the airport is extremely dependant on IT and specialist systems such as

  • Airport Operation Systems (AOS)
  • Passenger Processing Systems (PLB, HVTS)
  • Baggage Handling Systems (BHS)
  • Safety & Security Systems (SSE)
  • Telecommunication Systems (ICT)

The MSI Process

The MSI process starts on the completion of the design of a new terminal and continues to the end of construction, and beyond.  AAC assumes responsibility for the production design, supply, and delivery of passenger terminal technology and ensures proper alignment of the technology to the airport’s concept of operation.

The program is designed to both address business requirements around the construction of the new airport and the operation of the airport terminal once construction is complete.

An example of the workflow from commencement successfully used on other projects is:

  1. Identify all systems.
  2. Group systems into common and/or complementary functions.
  3. Identify which systems have confidential or highly sensitive information.
  4. Identify which systems have no useful integration benefits.
  5. Identify client requirements (business, operational, etc.).
  6. Provide analysis, including function/benefit matrix and cost/benefit matrix.
  7. Develop Systems Integration strategic plan.
  8. Incorporate Systems Integration strategic plan with program deliverables and/or milestones.
    • Functional Specifications
    • Quality Plan
    • Design
    • Implementation
    • Integration
    • Testing & Commissioning
    • Operational Readiness Acceptance Testing (ORAT)
  9. Use the Systems Integration strategic plan, along with the Functional Specifications, System Design, and Project Quality plan, for adherence and governance throughout project delivery.

Managing Multiple Suppliers and Trades

A vital component of success in the airport program is achieving a consistent level of performance from the myriad of trades working within the building program, all with differing methods of work.

The main contractor is responsible for appointing and sequencing the various master traes. These include structural steel, mechanical and electrical works as well as finishing.

 For airports, contractors need to appoint a whole range of additional technology trades. Traditionally, they appoint airport technology individually, which often results in silos of technologies being designed and installed by multiple, independent and unrelated organizations.

This creates a serious risk that the technology systems for the airport are not ready for operational service at the right point in the construction schedule.

In addition, if suppliers are involved later on in the airport project, the risk of delays will increase. Typically only a short period is allowed for the systems deployment and construction delays will squeeze this window further.

Systems need to be adequately tested before the airport opens to prevent any failure or malfunction at airport opening. Any systems failure can have a significant financial and reputational impact.

Program Integration vs Technical Integration

Within AAC integration addresses two different practices, which each target a specific community of stakeholders in the terminal’s construction.

  • The first is program integration. This refers to blending the project management of multiple technology work packages into a consolidated whole for onward integration into the construction company’s terminal building program. This aspect of integration is relevant for both the airport operator’s engineering division and the general building contractor in charge of the overall construction project.
  • The second is technology integration. This refers to the stitching together of disparate technologies, platforms and systems in order to share data, functions or events to support the airport business processes. This aspect of integration is crucial for airport operators and other stakeholders, such as airlines, ground handlers and security