Air Transport World

Ionworks: America West automates new Phoenix terminal fully integrated system to handle customer-service demands. (America West Airlines Inc.) (includes related article automation of passenger service at airports)

America West automates new Phoenix terminal fully integrated system to handle customer-service demands.

Phoenix-Airport automation no longer is a dream for America West Airlines. Last Nov. 1 1, when it moved into Sky Harbor international Airport's new $280 million Barry M. Goldwater Terminal 4, the carrier also made the transition overnight to a fully integrated automation system that it hopes will meet its customer service and operational needs far into the future.

Tied together via fiber optics on seven token-ring local area networks are some 400 intelligent workstations, most of them AT&T diskless 386SX models with creditcard swipes; 78 SCI Model 2700 ion-deposition automated ticket and boarding-pass (ATB) printers; 66 Atech 201 on-demand bag-tag printers; IBM PS/2-80 file servers with OS/2 operating systems; a comprehensive flight-information-display system (FIDS) and LED signage at ticket counters, gate podiums and jet-bridge doors. Also, a computer-controlled laser baggage-sortation system with both normal and odd-size baggage belts is at each ticketing location.

To handle the paper that cannot be eliminated-cash and fuel slips, for example-a Translogic CTS 20 pneumatic-tube system parallels the computer network. Total automation investment, excluding the $18-million laser baggage system, was $8 million, says John Bacon, manager of automation for customer-service support.

Varied capability

On their new color monitors, customer service representatives at the carrier's 28 gates and 73 passenger check-in positions-45 at two main ticket counters, 12 at curbside and 16 at special Fast Check counters in the 4-level, 3,400-space parking garage atop Terminal an perform not only all of the usual check-in functions but a variety of other tasks as well. …

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