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Current State of the Industry 13 As airports undertake efforts to integrate, these contractual rights and duties must be under- stood and managed. When new leases are being negotiated, future integration plans should be considered and flexibility provided in the use and lease contracts, as necessary to achieve the full benefit of integration. Rates and Charges Airports could realize substantial cost savings and operational efficiency by integrating finan- cial management systems with operations. Finance is the heartbeat of the airport's data system and powers the rates and charges, budgets, and Capital Improvement Program (CIP). Many air- ports have implemented some type of rates and charges software system but have had difficulty with some of the complex rules surrounding the rate-making methodology. Airports use differ- ing methodologies--usually some form of residual, commercial compensatory, or hybrid--as their use and lease agreements provide, and many use different methodologies for different cost centers within the airport, making development of software systems a challenge. Solutions that combine the following functions are just in the beginning stages of development: Encapsulate all rates and charges, Update the CIP and the Master Plan, and Provide real-time budget and planning tools. Whether the airport is large or small, it has the same interest in ensuring that any integration effort is justified by saving money, improving data accuracy, or improving customer service. Therefore, more airports are analyzing the cost-benefit before undertaking an integration project. Standards for Communicating and Using Airport Information Aviation industry groups as well as international standards setting organizations are creating global standards--agreed-on formats and methods--for transferring data. These standards are crucial because they provide uniform, consistent methods to communicate data. Industry mem- bers unilaterally agree to use these standards to increase their ability to integrate. System devel- opers do not have to purchase these standards, just as writers do not have to purchase English. The standards are updated as new technology becomes available. Standards usually contain open-architecture specifications controlled by objective third-party associations and organiza- tions. No single developer or vendor has control over the specifications. (For a discussion of open architecture, see Chapter 6, Architecture, Strategies, Technologies and Contracts.) Software vendors can use these standards to develop systems that are compatible with other systems. Other vendors can create customized functions to add onto these systems. Anyone can develop add-in applications to improve the software for their purposes without obtaining per- mission from the vendor. This next section briefly describes some additional accepted standards for the aviation industry: Recommended Practices, Common-Use Passenger Processing Systems (CUPPS), Airport Operational Databases, and Extensible Markup Language (XML). Recommended Practices In aviation, industry consortiums that consist of airports, airlines, and other organizations develop similar standards but refer to them as "Recommended Practices" or various requirements-setting