Vertical Markets

Critical communications for airport

by Mark Rowe

Edinburgh Airport Ltd has taken a Critical Event Management (CEM) platform for streamlined communications in an emergency. The software will replace multiple manual processes, speeding communication across operations; the emergency services, to airlines, retail units and local agencies.

The airport had already sought to improve its critical communications as part of a focus on using innovation to streamline operations and passenger journeys. To assess its existing critical communications, it undertook a review in-part based on recent critical events.

Myles Grima, Senior Operations and Resilience Manager, Airport Operations and Assurance at Edinburgh Airport said two incidents helped to shape a review of critical communications. The first was a tram accident on our campus. While it thankfully only resulted in minor injuries, it caused disruption and restrictions to the tram service from Edinburgh city centre to the airport. We also experienced a major Scottish Power outage which affected the airport, and this is always a threat to the smooth running of operations. Finally, we organised a counter-terrorism exercise involving over 20 organisations and 400 people. These three events gave us a huge amount of insight and enabled us to consider how technology could be used to improve our response overall.”

The main aim was to move away from the multiple processes in use to cascade information to groups, and instead to migrate to just one platform. Edinburgh selected Everbridge’s Critical Event Management platform because it can locate employees at risk and, crucially, will provide the airport with actionable risk intelligence, and help with incident preparation and response.

Myles Grima said: “Previously our challenge was getting the right information to the right people. In order to be more effective, we needed to improve efficiency and eliminate duplication. We are now doing this with Everbridge, and we can now accurately communicate with all the people who work on site in every operational area and manage this through a single, integrated view to mitigate the impact of critical events. By using Everbridge, we are aiming to set new benchmarks in aviation incident management.”

During phase one, Edinburgh is using Everbridge to link emergency services, airlines serving the airport, on-site retail outlets, and support agencies including Transport Scotland and Edinburgh City Council, who are involved with resilience planning. This will allow the airport to automate its management of critical incidents whether an aircraft accident or snowstorms and extreme weather. The airport is using Everbridge’s conference calling feature, which can connect key stakeholders, cutting the time and effort needed to arrange a multi-party call. The next stage will be ‘Airport Control Futures’, which will address technology such as perimeter security and fire alarms, and how these can be integrated into Everbridge.

Myles Grima said: “I have been involved with crisis teams for about eight years and encountered all sorts of events and emergencies. Even at phase one of the Everbridge implementation, we can really see the potential of the solution and this is very exciting for us. As soon as our team became involved in the project, they re-defined the art of the possible.”

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