ACRIS Model: Utilising data to personalise the passenger experience

The aviation industry will soon heavily rely on data, not just to enable a smooth experience but to ensure services are based on individual preferences. ACI’s ACRIS Model will be an integral tool in this transformation.

Using ACRIS to personalise the journey

Airports operations are more frequently turning to data for efficient results in terms of analysing passenger behaviour and industry trends. However to ensure this is completed accurately, there must be coordination between all airport stakeholders.

To combat the challenges associated with working with data, and to ensure airports can reap the full benefits of this technology, ACI have developed a model called ACRIS. Serge Yonke Nguewo, Senior Manager, Facilitation and IT at ACI World, spoke to us about this decision, and the opportunities it has opened up.

How would you best describe the ACRIS Model to someone who had not heard of it before?

ACRIS Stands for Aviation Community Recommended Information Services and its mission is to provide airports and all partners in the aviation industry with a common language, allowing for accurate and swift exchanges of data and information.

ACRIS’ vision is to become the global industry standard for aviation data and information exchange, represented by the tag line: “One common language for data exchange standard”.

Why did ACI deem it necessary to develop the ACRIS Model?

ACI noticed that airports were providing the IT infrastructure and facilitating the business-to-business activities on the airport network but without consistent guidelines or a mechanism to assist them in that sense.

There was also a proliferation of vendor systems allowing data-sharing in the aviation community but they were all different in terms of data, terms, methodology, business processes and more. ACI felt that a common approach was missing to effectively implement any tool for data-sharing.

How can improved data exchange help airports meet the demands of today, and tomorrow?

Airports face the dual challenge of making the most of their existing infrastructure while also planning to meet the tremendous growth in passenger demands. Many are already facing congestion and need to manage growth and contain costs, while improving the experience for passengers whose needs and expectations are changing and evolving.

As sophisticated and complex businesses, airports are responsible for many diverse products and services – some that it provides itself and some that are delivered by partners – to support operations and deliver for passengers.

To do this effectively, airports need a simple, secure and integrated way of communicating with all partners in this process.

ACI’s ACRIS provides airports and their partners in the aviation industry with one common language so that they can communicate and exchange data and information with each other quickly and easily.

ACRIS includes agreed ways for information to be shared between partners including:

  • An industry agreed language
  • How data is defined and shared
  • How it is used.

These agreed methods and standards support closer and simpler cooperation throughout the industry. This leads to better efficiency in managing growth when capacity and resources are under pressure. These standards will also help to reduce costs and increase revenue.

Improving the flow and exchange of information brings real benefits for partners in the aviation industry, including:

  • Cost reduction
  • Improved collaboration
  • Common use of systems
  • Swifter adoption and sharing of new ideas and innovation.

These benefits ultimately promote a seamless travel experience for passengers.

In September 2019 in London, Serge Yonke Nguewo presented how the ACRIS Model can help speed up Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) and allow players to remain better aligned at Airport IT & Security 2019

What is the biggest risk when implementing the ACRIS Model?

There is no risk as such to implement ACRIS since a proven framework has been defined to successfully implement the ACRIS model.

First off, ACRIS is a cross-industry standard. ACRIS WG cooperate closely with the other major aviation bodies, in particular (but not only) IATA, ICAO, Eurocontrol and SESAR. ACRIS members regularly attend IATA Passenger and Airport Data Interchange Standards (PADIS) and Baggage Working Group meetings to share knowledge and methodologies. ACI and IATA are working jointly on several initiatives.

Furthermore, ACRIS also recommends a specific methodology for a successful implementation. This methodology is based on Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) which is an architecture pattern for distributed computing. ACRIS recommends developing the messaging pattern that is most appropriate to the business requirements, then selecting the technology approach, such as API.

Lastly, the main ACRIS tool is called Semantic Model. To be successful, each service in a collection of information services should be consistent with every other and be based on a common understanding of the airport business. Planning and prioritising service definitions will benefit from this common understanding. The ACRIS Semantic Model provides the platform for this.

The ACRIS Semantic Model has a number of layers, comprising the airport vocabulary of business terms. The knowledge layer contains the main concepts that are of interest to an airport and its partners. The data element library layer contains detailed information on the data items, including standard naming conventions. A technology realisation layer represents the components such as message interface schemas (e.g. XML Schema Definitions (XSDs) or JSON schemas), data models for information exchange (e.g. Resource Description Framework (RDF)), rich semantic languages (e.g. Web Ontology Language (OWL)) and database schemas.

The ACRIS Semantic Model brings multiple benefits to the aviation industry. As it organises airport information into related concepts, it provides a common platform allowing consistency of information, irrespective of any particular area of interest. It enables the integration of different standards and is extensible to accommodate new standards. It provides a central source of meaningful information and yet supports different technology implementations. It therefore improves the quality of information within an airport, and between an airport and its many partners. The model continues to evolve as new projects enrich it.

Are passengers reluctant to share their data with multiple companies? Is this a challenge for the ACRIS Model?

Although it is widespread that passengers are still reluctant to share their information, we are still seeing a strong growth in the number of passengers that want to share their data in order to benefit either priority or fast services.

In addition, ACRIS protocol guarantees the security of processed data when exchanging information. It’s not a challenge for the ACRIS model.

In the future, how do you think data will be used within airport operations?

Data availability has set the ground for a promising future. Not only the airport community but the whole aviation industry will rely on big data, not just as an enabler of a smooth passenger experience, but for how passenger services can be personalised and based on individual preferences.


With more than 18 years of experience in the Information and Communication Technology, with specific focus on the aviation industry, Serge Yonke Nguewo is Senior Manager, Facilitation and IT at ACI World. He is responsible for overseeing all aspects of airport IT technology and the airport facilitation portfolio, and assists airports in using technology to improve the passenger process and airport efficiency as well as increasing non-aeronautical revenues. Yonke Nguewo is leading the ACRIS Working Group as well as the Airport Digital Transformation initiative for ACI World.

Airport IT & Security 2019 brought together CIOs, Directors and Heads of Operations and Security from the world’s major international airports and regional hubs.

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