SMX to bring in new information system

By Julian J. Ramos/Staff Writer

Real-time flight information, weather updates, and the latest news and sports scores for airline passengers are coming to the Santa Maria Public Airport.

Known as the ProDIGIQ system, the airport TV network is meant to keep passengers in the airport terminal informed on the status of their flights while providing news, weather, and sports reports. There will also be a link on the airport’s website for up-to-the-minute arrival and departure flight information.

Advertising space for sale is also a component of ProDIGIQ.

A meeting with the Calabasas-based vendor is scheduled in about a week to hash out the installation schedule, said Chris Hastert, airport general manager.

The Santa Maria Public Airport District Board of Directors approved the $27,000 purchase of the system hardware, licensed software, a 4- inch HDTV, two years of service, support fees and other costs, Thursday in a 4-1 vote.

Director Chuck Damiano, who cast the dissenting vote, said he believes revenues generated by advertising on the system won’t recover the costs spent by the district, and the money could have been better spent.

At the moment, there is a small computer monitor with a single page of flight schedules near the United Airlines check-in counter, while the passenger waiting area in the terminal, also known as the hold room, has two TV sets with flight schedules and news programming from Dish Network.

The new 48-inch screen will be installed in the check-in counter area, and one of the screens in the hold room will stay tuned to Dish Network news content, Hastert said.

Keeping passengers informed on the timing of their flights should ease their fears of late or delayed flights, Hastert said.

Santa Maria Airport, also called SMX, will become the second Central Coast airport and the sixth nationwide with ProDIGIQ.

The system is currently in place at Santa Barbara Airport, and airports in Redding; Medford, Ore.; Missoula, Mont.; and Elmira, N.Y.

Sunday, July 25, 2010