In March 2020, Toronto Pearson Airport (Greater Toronto Airports Authority; GTAA), North America’s second largest airport in terms of international traffic, celebrated winning its third consecutive “Best Airport in North America” award. Before the celebratory cheers could end, however, we saw the airport come to a screeching halt.
Borders were shut down, flights cancelled, and restaurants closed at a rate unparalleled to any other time in modern history. In just four weeks, Pearson reported a 75% decrease in passenger volume with no visible signs of when business will recover.
The cause, of course, is COVID-19
An international airport like Pearson must still function to some capacity because it is an essential service that our country and world depend on each day. Pearson had to manage an orderly shutdown of international traffic and be prepared to continue managing cargo planes that deliver essential supplies like food and medicine across Canada.
GTAA also realized they would have to restrict the number of staff working on-site to ensure their safety. This meant equipping airport staff with the tools needed to work from home (WFH) and ensure they have continued access to business-critical applications without any issues. This in itself was a massive task, but team Wipro stepped up and delivered!
800+ Pearson Airport staff are WFH with ease
WFH was new and uncharted territory for a majority of Pearson’s staff. To assist in the transition, Wipro led the Organizational Change Management (OCM) plan for their 800+ staff members, working in lockstep with the client to ensure a smooth transition to remote working.
The Wipro team guided users over the phone, manned walk-in support kiosks, walked the floor across locations, trained users on MS teams for collaboration, and enabled soft-phone features, etc., all within an astonishing 48 hours.
- Airport staff are now able to access applications that enable them to manage runways, baggage carousels, and gate assignments in a secure mode.
- Border control kiosks have been enhanced with a COVID-19 questionnaire and a system that displays and informs passengers and staff of precautionary measures and information.
- Some critical systems have been redesigned and implemented to better enable WFH.
- Wipro modified a pre-existing in-progress project that had different objectives and would have taken approximately two months to complete. In a record two days, we were able to modify it to deliver and improve Pearson’s WFH infrastructure.
“These are unprecedented times for any industry and especially for us in the aviation industry. Being a transit hub, not just for people but also for critical cargo, Toronto Pearson plays a key and central role in keeping Canada moving during this time of crisis. The people of GTAA and our partners have stood strong together and continue to do so. Technology teams play a significant role in keeping Pearson’s operations functioning through these challenging times. At the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak, in a matter of a couple of days, with our technology and digital partner Wipro, we enabled over 800+ airport personnel to work from home and access critical applications, so we could continue to manage runways, baggage carousels and gate assignments in a secure mode without disrupting flight schedules. A remarkable response to an unprecedented challenge.” -Glenn Evitt, Director, IT Services and Architecture, GTAA