Damarel History

For over 20 years we have helped our customers worldwide to automate their passenger and ground handling operations, improving performance whilst reducing costs. If this is your aim then we can help.

Take a look at a small selection of highlights from our history.

1988 - The year it all started

In 1988 Damarel Systems was started by a group of dedicated Aviation IT professionals. The philosophy was the same then as it is now: to deliver class leading software solutions for airports, airlines and ground handlers.

1989 - FiND a better way

The first generation of our FiND operational database for Ground Handlers is delivered to Ogden Aviation Services at London Gatwick Airport (LGW).

Originally designed to remove the overhead of manually transcribing messages between systems, FiND automatically read airline data messages from the Type B network and updated a variety of airport systems, such as the public FIDS. FiND also linked to airport based data feeds, including apron control, to relay information on ‘finals’ and ‘landed’ back to the airlines.

From such humble beginnings! See what FiNDnet is now capable of here.

1991 - Damarel joins the Common Use revolution

1991 saw the first installation of Damarel’s Aura Common Use (CUTE) platform. Installed on over 50 terminals at Birmingham International Airport (BHX) in the UK, Aura allowed all of the check-in and gate positions to be shared securely by all airlines. Shared use gave much more efficient use of the terminal space, allowing for the controlled growth of the airport without requiring prohibitively expensive building works.

1993 - Overseas AuRA deployment

Turin Airport in Italy (Aeroporto di Torino – TRN) becomes the 2nd major AuRA site. With over 100 Common Use terminals, TRN emphatically proved how expandable the AuRA solution is. Using state of the art peripherals for check-in and boarding and Damarel’s own airline Terminal Emulators, TRN provided a first-class showcase for the new generation of airport systems.

1995 - Embark gets people on board!

Although it seems a little strange from today’s vantage point, there was a time when airline boarding was a truly manual process. Airline or ground handling staff would be responsible for manually checking boarding passes and tearing off the retained portion. Some airlines had boarding applications built into the host DCS, but these were all proprietary, rarely supported Common Use platforms and required training. Whichever approach, there was a huge cost overhead for the resources and training.

To address these problems, in 1995 Damarel developed Embark – the first truly generic automated boarding application. Embark transparently connects to the airline DCS to retrieve the passenger list for the flight, controls the boarding locally and, crucially, keeps the DCS in step. All with a single, easy to learn GUI!

That same year San Francisco International Airport (SFO) became the first airport to benefit from Embark, automating boarding for a number of international carriers, including Virgin Atlantic Airways, Philippine Airlines, Mexicana and Japan Airlines. With over 150 sites now installed worldwide, Embark is a truly global solution for simplified, automated airline gate boarding.

1997 - DCS becomes a local affair

If you are going to redefine the concept of an airport based DCS for use by airlines that don’t have one, or have no connectivity to their own, you might as well start big! Damarel certainly did with L-DCS, delivered to McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas (LAS) in 1997 for use by all airlines in the International terminal. LAS was the perfect proving ground, with demanding functional, performance and up-time requirements and a very aggressive timetable for delivery. We certainly like a challenge…

Passenger throughput was also designed to test the power of our Local DCS, with over 15.000 people per day being checked in during peak periods. This baptism of fire certainly helped forge our Local DCS, providing the perfect environment to develop a robust, scalable and user friendly system that has since gone on to be used around the world. With over 45 airport installations, and now a fully hosted option, L-DCS has gone on to be our flagship product and is the premier DCS of its kind.

1998 - Backup DCS keeps operations moving

With operations around the world Japan Airlines recognised the need for a Backup DCS to cover check-in and boarding during periods of both unscheduled and scheduled downtime. Damarel were commissioned to produce a technically demanding solution that would provide:

  • A full GUI that would act as a front-end to the JAL DCS (JALCOM) when connectivity was available and, importantly, as an identical interface when running in backup mode. This meant agents could be trained in only one system – a very important consideration when you have over 1,000 agents at Tokyo Narita, for example!
  • A complete backup architecture with locally stored, continuously updated flight and passenger data ready to take over as soon as required
  • Full check-in and boarding capability
  • Primary DCS update via Type B messages once the host became available

Fukuoka Airport (FUK) was the first site to be deployed, with a further 27 following. This included many major international airports, such as Tokyo Narita (NRT), London Heathrow (LHR), Incheon International (ICN) and John F. Kennedy (JFK).

Since then the Damarel Backup DCS offering has gone from strength to strength. We now offer a range of options from hot to cold standby, ensuring we have the right system for your operation.

2000 - Babel speaks a Common Language

Babel is now installed in nearly 200 different airports and supporting over 50 airlines, processing hundreds of millions of passengers every year. When you consider those facts, it makes the origin of the product even more astonishing.

Based on our track record and industry knowledge, Damarel was selected to provide a Common Language Facility (CLF) for 4 airlines operating on the new CUTE platform about to be installed at London Heathrow Airport (LHR). The problem was the 6 week timeframe…!

After consultation with the agents, managers and IT support staff at the airport, our engineers designed a truly novel approach. They developed a fully bespoke scripting language that allowed for complete customisation of every aspect of the user interface. This was allied with a number of components that we already had for terminal emulators, CUTE platform APIs and gateway interfaces. That, plus burning a lot of midnight oil, resulted in the first generation of Babel, ready on-time and working perfectly for the first flights on the new platform.

Babel has continued to evolve since then, supporting ever more platforms, airlines and devices. The scripting language has become significantly more sophisticated, allowing for endless customisation. From bag drops to self-service, Zero Integration Platform (ZIP) applications to vanilla Terminal Emulators, Babel supports them all.

2001 - Pastures new for Damarel

Ok, maybe not the most significant event in our history, but one we enjoyed! In 2001 our growing company relocated to larger offices in a beautiful rural location – Tongham, Surrey. The converted barns have been our home ever since and we look forward to welcoming many more visitors.

2003 - L-DCS hits the heights

Think a Local DCS is just for small operations? Think again! In 2003 Manchester International Airport (MAN) handled over 5 million passengers with Damarel’s L-DCS – nearly 50% of all departing traffic.

London Gatwick recently ran them close with well over 4 million passengers handled in a single year. However busy your operation, L-DCS can deliver the best possible experience for your Low Cost Carrier, charter and point-to-point airlines.

2007 - Damarel expands into the Chinese Market

The aviation industry in China has been booming for a  number of years now, and Damarel has been integral to helping the international carriers standardise their software.

2007 saw us appoint Fortech Systems as our agent in China to help with a local presence and product support. Based in Shanghai, David Kim and his team have a huge amount of experience in the aviation industry, dealing with airlines, ground handlers and airports all over PRC.

2008 - Major airport deployments

2008 was a hectic year for Damarel, with significant installations for Babel and Embark in 3 major airports – Hong Kong (HKG), Singapore (SIN) and Phnom Penh (PNH).

With 11 airlines to support in HKG alone our engineers were certainly kept busy scripting, testing, installing and training ground handlers. We even managed to squeeze in a few other installations, including Local DCS and LodeStone in Siem Reap (REP).

2010 - Babel CLFs for 15 carriers

2010 saw Damarel selected to supply Babel and Embark for 15 carriers handled by Singapore Air Terminal Services (SATS), the chief ground handling agents in Singapore Changi Airport (SIN).

The extensive airline list included such premium international carriers as Air China, Japan Airlines, Turkish Airlines and ANA, a real reflection of the success that SATS have enjoyed over the years.

2012 - iOS and Android takes off

Mobile workforce solutions are becoming common in many industries, and aviation is no exception. In 2012 Damarel made sure that their clients could take advantage of the mobile revolution by providing options for passenger handling and operations management on a range of consumer devices such as smartphones and tablets.

With support for iOS, Android and Windows Mobile, our products give ground handlers the opportunity to deploy the right technology in the right location, helping match capacity to demand and optimising the workforce.

2013 - Damarel's silver jubilee!

25 years old – and not looking a day of it!

Damarel’s Silver Jubilee also had another cause for celebration – the roll out of our fully Hosted DCS option to multiple sites. Our advanced UK based data centre allows for the rapid deployment of our DCS to airports, regardless of the CUTE/CUPPS platform they have installed. With no requirement for any additional equipment our low cost DCS is now even more accessible, even for very small sites.

2014 - FiNDnet Allocations & FiNDnet Viewer launched

With margins tighter than ever in airline ground handling, effective planning and the correct allocation of staff makes a huge difference. Building on the core FiNDnet Operational Database, after consultation with global customers, Damarel released the FiNDnet Allocations system. From demand planning to real-time, on-day staff and team assignment, FiNDnet Allocations puts you in complete control of your operation.

FiNDnet Viewer is also released, extending the mobile workforce capabilities with a simple to use application that delivers all of the most important details directly to the staff. Available on all types of tablet and smartphone, the FiNDnet Viewer makes sure all your staff stay informed.

2015 - UK-based Data Centre has significant upgrade

Our UK-based Data Centre underwent a significant up-grade due to the massive increase in demand from our customers. Data centre traffic is 400% up on 2014 levels! The substantial investment in new VM and database hardwarehelps process ever higher volumes of data for L-DCS, Lodestone and FiNDnet customers.

Use of our data centre means reduced infrastructure and IT costs for our customers, with faster deployment times and simplified support.