5 insights about Cologne Bonn Airport from IT Project Manager Dr. Demian Pitz
Like many industries that were heavily disrupted by the pandemic, aviation will not be the same once the world’s COVID travel bans are lifted. To find out more about this brave new world for the travel industry (and explore how digitization can improve the complex infrastructures airports are built on), we interviewed Cologne Bonn Airport’s IT Manager Dr. Demian Pitz in the latest episode of our under CTRL podcast. Read on for an overview of the key takeaways from our chat:
1. COVID hasn’t fully paralyzed airports: cargo business and digital projects are booming
Whilst Cologne Bonn airport certainly feels quieter, it hasn’t switched to full hibernation mode just yet. A ramp-up of freight operations and military aircraft traffic is keeping airport staff busy and, behind the scenes, the airport is preparing for the imminent revival of passenger air travel with new streamlined processes and traveller-friendly digital solutions.
2. Building an ID card-reader system from the ground up has helped Cologne Bonn realise the potential of their digital teams
Dismantling and rebuilding a system from scratch was challenging, but it allowed the airport’s digital team to shine. Building a system in-house also gave internal teams the insight to react faster to changes and fine-tune details with greater efficiency.
3. Digitization has transfomed the airport’s firefighting department
Digitization is more than just rolling out a new system – it affects the people who use it. From Demian: “You can imagine that some people in the firefighters department are working here for twenty years. And for twenty years, they were writing down their shifts and works onto a paper.” Sometimes, being a digital advocate at an airport gives you the chance to not only build systems, but improve people’s work lives.
4. On-premise solutions are still commonplace at Cologne Bonn, though this has begun to change
The airport is still lagging behind when it comes to deploying cloud solutions. As Demian explains: “We’re working in a quite sensitive environment, and thus on-premise is mostly the way to go for us. So if we’re using cloud technology, we have to triple-check how safe it is.” Since a wide range of sensitive files – containing passenger data and employee/contractor information – are in circulation across the airport, Cologne Bonn have a rigorous review process in place to ensure that the few cloud solutions they choose are highly secure and GDPR compliant.
5. Tresorit is one of the few cloud solutions Cologne Bonn trust to secure confidential exchanges
Tresorit is one of the cloud solutions that made the cut to operate within the airport’s infrastructure. According to Demian, implementing our platform has enabled the Supervisory Board to safely exchange information between their members and work together on presentations from any device. It also comes in handy when Demian collaborates with external/internal parties and needs to share real-time updates (in the form of photos and document updates) from different locations.
If you’d like to dive deeper into Demian’s overview airport operations and Cologne Bonn’s digital journey, you can check out the full Cologne Bonn Airport episode here:
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