Dubai Airports has appointed China’s Huawei Technologies to build a new modular data centre, expected to be completed in 2017. The data centre, designed to obtain  Tier-III certification, will host the airport’s private cloud services.

The move is a concrete indication of Dubai Airports’ commitment to exploit new technologies or new methods of utilising information and communication technologies (ICT) to solve business issues and challenges brought about by its rapid growth and status as the world’s largest airport in terms of international passengers.

“In a typical business operation, one would expect quality to fall as the number of transactions or users of a service increases,” a consultant tells MEED. Dubai Airports has madeit clear it wants to improve services as more passengers use them.

Adopting innovation and new technologies will form a key component of achieving this goal.

A private cloud service would help reduce productivity loss due to periodic software and hardware upgrades, among others. A modular or scalable data centre would allow for more efficient resource utilisation.

While a Tier-III data centre is meant to offer data availability of 99.82 per cent, equivalent to 95 minutes of potential downtime a year, Dubai Airports and Huawei are planning a second data centre to mirror the first one. The ultimate goal is to achieve zero downtime.

Such infrastructure underpins the twin-goal of improving efficiencies while decreasing operating costs over the long-term.

One can also say that improving the airport’s services is not out of the question, given that Dubai International begun charging every departing passenger an airport fee of $9.5 this year. On a full year, these fees could yield up to $399m in additional revenue, which the government could re-invest in the airport’s operations or in funding the expansion of the Al-Maktoum International airport.

The airports in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Doha have since announced charging departing passengers similar fees.

Annual passenger traffic at Dubai International has been growing at a compounded average rate of 10 per cent annually since 2010 and the airport is expected to reach its full capacity, which currently stands at 90 million passengers a year, within two years. The airport expects to process 85 million passengers in 2016.