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Sporting glory


SITA deployed the fi rst CUTE systems for the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984. Images courtesy of


Rich Clarkson/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images.


Ilya Gutlin looks at the role that airport operation technology has played in keeping the crowds moving – safely, securely and effi ciently – over the past 20 years of major sporting events.


N 84


ecessity is the mother of invention. The modern airport environment would be very different if it had not been for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games and the realisation that if airlines were to cope with the sharp spikes in passenger numbers, the check-in process needed a radical overhaul. So in 1984, SITA deployed the fi rst common-use terminal equipment (CUTE) as the new check-in standard, allowing maximum use of airport infrastructure in a way that had never before been done, enabling airlines to share check-in


terminals for the fi rst time, reducing costs and allowing capacity to be ramped up at short notice.


It was one of the most successful innovations in the history of aviation and helped to usher in the travel revolution and maximise the use of check-in facilities and airport infrastructure as airline passenger numbers started to soar worldwide.


Another Olympic milestone is now being set in Russia at Sochi-Adler International Airport, the gateway for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, as it becomes the 400th airport to upgrade its


passenger processing to the SITA AirportConnect platform. This not only meets the CUTE standard but is also compliant with the new industry CUPPS standard (common-use passenger processing systems) agreed last year. Big sporting events are testing times for even the largest of airports. The real challenge lies in handling the spikes in arrivals and departures.


Sydney – border innovation CUTE was well established by the time of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. It formed a vital part of


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