AMORPH.aero: Successful Installation @ Helsinki Airport

Airports worldwide face significant growth figures in passenger numbers. IATA (International Air Transport Association) expects 3.8 billion passengers traveling by 2030. For airports, this leads to a challenge, providing the required infrastructure for smooth passenger handling. Airport expansions and infrastructure programs need to be planned years ahead. In the meantime, it is necessary to ensure the most efficient use of resources and facilities. Especially during the day of operations, efficient handling of resources depends very much on updated information and the capability to react to sudden changes. Empowering operations to plan ahead for the upcoming hours, Amorph Systems is the first provider of operational simulations, forecasting what is going to happen in the whole terminal environment. This keeps operations managers in the driver seat of their decisions to prevent disruptive situations before they occur.

Helsinki Airport

Helsinki Airport, operated by Finavia Corp., is Finland’s main hub and a strong transfer connection between Asia and Europe.  Due to its geographical location, Helsinki is the quickest route between Asia and Europe, serving several routes to Japan, China, Thailand and others. 18 million passengers travel via Helsinki Airport. Based on this growing demand, Finavia has plans to extend in the future he airport capacity to handle more than 30 million passengers per year. Helsinki Airport has not only ambitious plans to grow, in parallel they want to offer a first-class service to their passengers. Keeping waiting times at security at a minimum, establishing easy wayfinding and inspiring areas to spend time, Helsinki is creating a key differentiator to ensure continuous growth in the future.

Amorph Systems in Stuttgart, Germany, has proven to be a trusted international partner offering professional software solutions and consulting services for air and ground transportation, logistics and high-tech manufacturing. Its portfolio includes advanced control, simulation, forecasting and optimization solutions, allowing our clients to better manage and plan their business operations. Besides the state of the art control and modeling techniques, these solutions require sophisticated visualizations and user interfaces fully integrated with the customer IT systems. With AMORPH.aero, Amorph Systems offers an aviation specific platform tailored to the needs of airports, from planning to operations, taking the rising amount of available data into account.

The AERFOR-Project is granted within the European Union’s HORIZON 2020 SME Instrument phase 2. The main targets of the project are to show the capabilities of AMORPH.aero, the operational simulation platform, to airports and to develop AMORPH.aero into an innovative standard software solution for further and strengthened commercialization within the European and International market. Various partners from the aviation industry such as Finavia, Fraport AG, Zurich airport and the DLR are part of the project.

Finavia was the first AERFOR trial partner. The project in Helsinki consisted of various areas from operational simulation to support the terminal operations managers, to planning solutions for short-, mid-, and long-term planning. The base installation of AMORPH.aero at Finavia helped to further standardize the solution and implementation process. With additional functionalities, the project achieved to set-up a groundbreaking solution which is the first of its kind. In the future this will include also various use-cases on top of operational control, like advertising and retail and thereby, Amorph Systems and Helsinki Airport together will show the full capabilities of AMORPH.aero.

See what the participants say about the project:

“The installation at Helsinki Airport has shown the full potential of simulation through all stages of operational and planning processes. We are delighted about this fruitful partnership with Finavia, which shows a similar mindset in being creative and innovative. Finavia wants every day to improve life for its passengers, so we do for our customers. The created solution is a milestone and will play a key role at Helsinki Airport to improve their daily operations and in a long-term, by added flexibility, a significant business value. Together we already made an impressive journey and I am very curious about what is going to come in the future.”

Andreas Hofmann, Director Business Development at Amorph Systems.

 “From the outset, it has been a very ambitious journey with the purpose of building us a capability to see into the near and more distant future, and utilize this capability for better capacity planning, resource allocation, terminal operation and more relevant passenger communication. To fulfill these expectations across multiple dimensions would not have been possible without the committed and highly talented Amorph team, with whom we had the privilege to work with. Now, we have a strong solution running, with a truly inspiring roadmap that will hopefully take the Helsinki Airport experience to new and unseen heights.”

Eero Knuutila, Head of Service Development at Finavia

HOW TO GET YOUR OPS PEOPLE RELAXED AGAIN!

wrapped in telephonesFor the most of us, the summer season is the time we are looking forward to. This period means normally having vacation, travelling, spending time with the kids and just recharging the own batteries. But: the summer time is also the high season for airports and airlines. In those weeks, when everybody else is looking for relaxation, especially airport ops people are under high pressure. For example lots of European airports face their maximum capacity during this time. This means a lot of stress for the Terminal Ops, as they are responsible for safe and fluent operations in the terminal. Stress is something individual and there are multiple factors that creates this stress, but there are also ways to handle it. I think it is very important not to neglect things and go over these factors as continuous stress can easily lead into depression or burn-out. Thus an employer should do the best he can to support their people, especially those facing the customer. Every passenger will acknowledge if, even in a stressful situation, he has been treated with respect and patience. So after the summer break, there should start a lessons learned phase, what to improve and how to support operations.

Good Planning

glasbowlTo be honest: It all starts with a good planning. Summer peaks are like Christmas, they are not really surprising. Only some conditions might change, but the peaks will keep the same.

To evaluate those changes you don´t have to be Merlin or looking into a magic glass bowle.

Therefore, the right tools can help you to get things done in an easy and accurate way. The times when planners had to work with multiple systems, spreadsheets and heavy engine simulations that took weeks to get some results are over. Smart planning tools can assist everybody to have a look on changing ressources, capacity constraints or new procedures. Ideally this planning system is connected and able to communicate with operational tools to hand-over scenarios and their results.

Prepared Processes

2014-07-22-ferienspiele
copyright: Fraport AG

Based on the evaluation from the planning department about the upcoming summer, processes have to be set-up to meet the customer requirements and the own service levels during that time. This means: planning with higher amount of staff for check-points, defined steering actions to handle overflows as well as special offers for travelers.

It is very important to have a look at the passenger profile which might be different in that period than others. Probably first-time flyers and families are not that fast at security than business & frequent travelers. This affects throughput rates at security with a negative impact on the maximum capacity. The other side is that those passengers have special needs which an airport should prepare on. Frankfurt airport for e.g. introduced several offers for kids in combination with the federal police of Germany to make travelling smoother and an interesting event for kids. All this together is a big challenge to cover, but not unattainable.

Predictive Analytics

Predictive Analytics 16:9Now when talking about Smart Planning you could think now it´s all fine, Ops people don´t have to be worried at all. The problem during the operational day at airports are the deviations from the plan. Already little delays like e.g. two 747, one too early the other too late and thereby both coming at the same time can cause heavy trouble. When talking with operational people one of the biggest stress factors is uncertainty during their shifts. Being always in a reactive mode, acting as a fire fighter to deal with upcoming issues when they occur is a permanent pressure situation. But it doesn´t have to be like this: Predictive analytics can reduce stress by forecasting passenger flows. These forecasts help Ops people to handle topics long before they are going to happen.

I remember exactly when working myself for Frankfurt airport, people told me that they feel brutally lost with upcoming delays, not knowing about the effects on the landside and the inherited passenger flows. This created stress upfront when ops people saw just by numbers to face a busy day. By integrating predictive technologies and tools these eliminate the feeling of uncertainty and create situational awareness. After having installed such a solution at Frankfurt airport, terminal control said that compared to the past now they are relaxed even when passenger numbers grow to new high-time peaks.

Collaborative Platform

collaboration3Now Total Airport Management (TAM) is in discussion since years and would mean that everybody in this complex business environment shares data and information. Planners, Operations, Airports & Airlines, Federal Police and Customs, Handlers, …

And yes, things are moving in this direction and collaborative work already begun. There are some good examples of those in the industry. To make this dream come true it´s important to choose the right technology behind which supports this demand and is able to scale up as the specific airport and it´s players need it.

Therefore we created the AMORPH.aero collaborative platform. This platform enables all parties to work on their tasks like planning scenarios or operational actions and share them with each other to update the whole process chain. The aim is always to optimize the ecosystem airport, based on the latest available data.

If you need more information about the collaborative platform, and the inherited solutions please contact us at info@amorphsys.com We will be glad to hear from you and probably you will be surprised what we can do for you.

Delays at Airports – an everyday challenge for operations?

A plan is a plan … and planning at airports is complex and determined by a large variety of partners and constraints. While effective planning of resources and future capacity constraints is very important still there is flexibility needed on the day of operations. Keeping the balance between planning and operational flexibility is easier said than done. For the full power at Day of Ops, operational decision making is an important task.  Talking to operational people makes clear why. I once asked someone from terminal operations about a typical day and he just said: ” You have changing passenger behavior, different delays every day and daily disruptive situations to react on, so I can definitely say that every day is different, but not according to the plan!”

What does that mean for operations?

Google Places Help - A massive crowd in the terminal hall

Just imagine the following situation: Monday morning 07 A.M.  in front of the immigration desks at an airport. As it was suspected to be a normal Monday morning, the surprise is even bigger seeing a mass of passengers and the hall starts running full. Everybody is doing it´s best to handle the crowd, but finally it took about 60 minutes waiting time for the passengers.

After the day passed by, administration is working to analyze the root causes for this disruptive event. Finally they found out: One A380 has been delayed and a 747 came too early. This is normally nothing special, but in this case they overlapped with other flights within a peak. Therefore there had been additionally 700 passengers on top of this existing peak.

Flightschedule

Now after knowing what happened, the discussion starts how to be better prepared for such situations in the future. Planning department states, that these events can´t be planned as they change from day to day. Operations department argue that if they would have the possibility to foresee some hours before they could start to work on preventive actions. Additionally they would also need transparency about the consequences of chosen actions.

The positive outcome for plannings is to reduce the gathering of the unpredictable. There are parameters which will change every day so why not concentrate on those parameters you can really predict and set the frame-set for operation how to react if disruptions occur.

What about a solution where you can see all changes of inbound and outbound flights, the dependencies between process points, the effects of different passenger behavior, the results of passenger flow actions. Wouldn´t this be the chance to react always according to the actual demand upcoming for the next hours?

Based on our high-efficient simulation engine, Amorph.aero is able to assist live on all flight schedule changes to create the transparency needed for in-time reaction to prevent disruptive situations. With our proven solution what-if scenarios can be applied to evaluate the results of different actions to balance the passenger flow.  Following our slogan “Foresee – Decide – Inform” our system empowers airport operations to boost their workforce productivity.

Google Places Business - Amorph View of the user interface can be viewed on all machines like Mac, PC, Notebook, iPhone, android

Do you think this could be useful at your airport as well? Don´t hesitate to contact us and we will get in touch with you personally to talk about further details.

Please view also our case study at Frankfurt airport .

Amorph Systems GmbH | Phone: +49 711 672 9122 | info@amorph.aero | www.amorphsys.com | www.amorph.aero

Measurement solutions and operational forecasting

In the high-tech manufacturing industry it is quite normal to measure every tiny little step a product is in process. Every machine, sensor, system is sending data which can be used to analyze and optimize the current production process.

As airports are like big factories with different process steps and stakeholders the aim is still the same, to get data about those activities. In some cases like baggage handling systems this works quite well, others face a severe problem: the human factor. Most of the landside processes are driven by passengers using infrastructure and services. They don´t act like pieces on an assembly line which is good for the individual, but bad for airport operators that have to deal with.

According to the statement “You can´t handle what you don´t measure” there is for some years now the trend to implement measurement solutions on airports to gain more and more data about these process steps and support terminal operation processes.

Looking at the available techniques and the costs of implementation, it is necessary to have a look at detailed use cases, to decide what and where to install. The bandwidth of technologies vary from WiFi passenger tracking, camera-based people counting to thermal sensors and so on…

Comparing all those available technologies most managers will decide for the solution with the highest business value with respect to the supplied use cases. One fact is always stated wrong I would like to point out:

You can´t use them for operations!

But let´s first have a look on the beneficial side of passenger counting and tracking.

Business Intelligence

First of all there is a definite value in gaining data of the landside process steps in order to enrich the analytic opportunities. Combining this with your already existing data allows business analytics to get a bigger picture of dependencies especially between airside and landside processes. As a result, planning departments are able to work more in collaboration, understanding more clearly the effects of the various changes for the whole system.

Quality Management

Measuring the overall performance of airports with a lot of KPI´s reflecting different process responsibilities, these data are essential for QM. Measured or calculated KPI´s like waiting times, dwell times, throughput are standard parameters for the performance and quality of landside processes at Airports. They are getting even more important as retail claimed to be the most significant profit contributor for bigger airports. Every minute lost in a queue means a loss of revenue to retail and subsequently a loss of profit for airports.

​Improving daily operations

Another aim of measurement technologies is to help airport / terminal operations to improve their daily business. This can work by learning from past experiences how deviations influenced operational processes. This is quite comparable to the business intelligence aspect in order to optimize the passenger process by analyzing historical data. As every day is a bit different, this gets soon very complex and does only slightly help operational people in their daily business.

However, measurement technologies can only  show what is happening now – but then it is already too late.

NOW is too late

If airport operations want to work in a preventive mode, they must act pro-actively to manage changes before disruptions even happen. This requires another technical approach.

Ideally terminal operation managers should work with forecasted passenger demand to have time for scenario decision making and stakeholder communication. The measured data is then just the quality assurance of these forecasts.

forecastandmeasure

Amorph.aero

The specialty of an agent-based solution to prepare this forecast is the flexibility to integrate every relevant parameter according to real passenger behavior. This capability allows to forecast also waiting times, dwell times and connectivity, something which is not possible just with mathematical optimization.

Amorph​ Systems is currently the only provider of such a fast agent-based solution, able to run a whole operational day under one minute. The high quality of these outputs ensure that operational managers have always the best data available to create a great passenger experience – and that´s all that matters at the end.