TCS, IBM in 750 crore airports contract race

TCS, IBM in 750 crore airports contract race

New Delhi: India’s biggest software services company Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS) and IBM India Pvt. Ltd are the contenders for an Airports Authority of India (AAI) contract to upgrade technology systems at 10 airports and improve information flow among them.

The two companies on 2 May submitted commercial bids for the order that is likely to be worth 750 crore, although at least five firms had submitted expressions of interest for the contract, said two senior officials involved in the tendering process.

TCS and IBM declined to comment. Mint could not independently confirm the names of companies that submitted expressions of interest.

The seven-year contract will involve building a database and control centre for operations at 10 airports—Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Pune, Calicut, Trichy, Mangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Guwahati and Jaipur, said one of the officials mentioned above.

“This will fulfil a need, which has been long overdue. These airports need to update their information technology infrastructure," said Amber Dubey, a director at KPMG India. “In the past all these functions were carried out manually in an isolated fashion within the various departments. This contract will build the required interface and bring them on a par with other airports such as Delhi, Bombay, Hyderabad and Bangalore, all of which are seeing a positive impact of technology on their operations."

The company that gets the contract will also have to set up a data centre at the Chennai airport and a disaster recovery site at Kolkata. “These centres will be linked to all the other eight airports through a wide area network," the official said.

“It will result in better flow of information to both passengers and airlines and lead to efficiencies," an AAI official said.

These systems have already been put in place at Delhi and Mumbai airports, the AAI official added. The officials declined to be named because of a confidentiality clause in the contract. Companies that have been operational for at least five years, have reported a minimum annual revenue of 3,000 crore in each of the past three financial years and have prior experience of implementing large scale information technology projects, especially for government entities, are eligible for the contract, according to the AAI’s pre-bid tender document, which is available on its website. The document said the project will improve productivity and efficiency in operations, increase safety, provide greater ability for trend analysis and forecasting, optimize the use of existing airport resources and improve on-time performance.

“The existing data, if any, shall be migrated into the new system, and records digitized. Electronic workflows shall ensure automation of office operations with data integration to back-office operations to manage the statutory and critical records on an ongoing basis," the document said. AAI will not make an upfront payment to the service provider, and instead pay it quarterly on the basis of performance.