Case Study

ATEC at Birmingham Airport

Chris Wilson Birmingham Airport manager describes what he looked for in a security partner in 2009 when Birmingham Airport security systems began a transformation.

“We needed a supplier that clearly demonstrated significant experience in complex operational security systems and guaranteed zero impact on our day-to-day safety critical operational environment. Because of the complexity of the project, expertise in integrating security systems into complex multi-technology operating environments was of the highest importance.”

ATEC was first commissioned, in 2009, to combine BAL’s six airport management control rooms into one primary control room, plus a hot standby back-up. The work included a switch from analogue to digital systems and the integration of 15,000 alarm points.
The challenge was to expand the CCTV system from 300 to 420 cameras and integrate multiple disparate systems such as Fire Detection, Fire Suppression, Access Control and Environmental Monitoring.
Numerous onsite airport control centres were centralised in order to allow the West Midlands Police, Counter Terrorism Unit and the UK Border Agency to access critical information.
One of the immediate benefits saw BAL’s control room headcount of 58 specialists drop to an agile team of just 24. Smarter technology and systems standardisation have made BAL staff more capable and productive, which helped to deliver a nine month ROI and a reduction in airside incidents of 50%.

Since then the relationship has grown in trust and ATEC continue to deliver cutting edge solutions. The next development of the security systems transformation was a request by Bal for ATEC to review the efficiency and effectiveness of its passenger exit lane procedures to mitigate the reliance on security officers. The installation of an innovative and unique anti-back-tracking solution by ATEC to prevent passengers from returning airside, wilfully or accidentally, enabled BAL to re-deploy 9 staff to more productive areas in the business. This provided a return on investment in just 12 months.

More recently the expansion of Birmingham airport and the use of the airport by long haul carriers to re-fuel has led to a challenge for transit security. In response ATEC designed and installed a facial recognition system that allows international and
domestic passengers to use the same lounge, with touchscreen control and iPad functionality deployed at the gate to ensure all passengers are accounted for.
The transit security solution provides a dual benefit, in the form of an efficient security measure and a business uplift. The risk of an international passenger not returning to their flight is contained while their dwell time in the lounge contributes to the airport’s
retail revenues.

“The quality of ATEC’s design, installation and integration is outstanding. Improved visibility across the airport coupled with superior security control enables our team to provide the highest level of operational performance possible. Critically, ATEC was able to integrate the back-track solution with our remote control room whereas competitors could only propose more costly standalone solutions.”

Chris Wilson Airport Manager