Better use of data and analytics can help airports accommodate growing passenger volumes and future-proof their operations.

All current predictions for passenger volumes show a similar picture. Within the next 10-15 years, there will be a substantial rise in the number of people traveling by aircraft, nearly doubling today’s figures. These growing numbers will pose a challenge for many airports in Europe and worldwide. Typically there are two physical drivers of this growth: higher seat load factors or bigger planes on the same route; and additional routes from/ to an airport. Hub airports in particular have a significant wave structure due to the arrival and departure of long-haul aircraft and their connecting flights. For those airports this growth will be much higher during existing peaks and of lower intensity during off peaks.

Planning challenges

This unbalanced distribution throughout the operational day makes it difficult to plan in terms of the infrastructure and investment required to meet capacity on the ground. Additionally, many airports are subject to location or environmental elements that prevent them from extending their existing infrastructure. The only option these airports have is to optimize their use of the given space as best they can. Optimization requires creativity, innovation and the willingness to change – and a partner like Amorph Systems.

The dynamic passenger flow model shows travelers’ progress through the terminal

Data to analytics

Amorph Systems is a software provider offering solutions to optimize the entire process chain from check-in to plane. With long-term experience in setting up data-driven projects, the company knows how to analyze the necessary information and data sets from airports to create
the required parameters. By using simulation, airport operators can see how checkpoints influence each other over the entire passenger flow. Thereby, improvements in every step can be achieved without ignoring the overall performance of the entire passenger process flow. Amorph Systems focuses on creating valuable insights from the data-gathering stage up to the analytic and predictive elements. Its product portfolio therefore consists of tools that extract data, transform it and calculate KPIs through machine learning. These days, as airport infrastructure becomes increasingly smart and digital, dependence on the reliability of information sources is high. Imagine, for example, a situation where a waiting time measurement system is counting incorrectly because of an error in one of the hardware devices. Fast and easy hardware integration, including intelligent distribution to all IT systems, is therefore essential. With Smart Unifier, Amorph Systems is launching a software product that can connect easily with any new hardware based on standard protocols and translates the information into any format required. This step saves up to 70% of the integration time and effort required compared with typical interface development and integration.

Connecting the silos

One of the major challenges in aviation is how scattered its stakeholders are, either processwise or due to their use of different IT systems. Standardization approaches such as the airport collaborative decision making (A-CDM) process have shown that collaboration and data sharing have enormous optimization potential. Just imagine the achievements possible with the hitherto untouched combination of airside, landside and baggage operations. It is therefore necessary to investigate the possibilities of interconnecting these silos and enabling the full potential of an airport-wide collaborative platform. This will require the involvement of IT and data exchange standards such as ACRIS to harmonize the data landscape and simplify access for stakeholders. already has the capacity to set up predictions for different types of parameters, such as passengers, bags or cars at parking lots. With a predictive platform that can cover all types of processes, there is a basis for supporting optimization rules on top of these predictions. This enables users to link business processes and balance them according to the overall revenue optimization. This cross-coupling of entities should then work over several time horizons to cover long-term resource planning for day-of-operation decision making.

“A key element in success is strong collaboration with the airlines at the airport, to establish it as a gateway”

Helsinki case study

Finavia, the operator of Helsinki Airport, sees innovation as a major way to strengthen the airport in the context of competition from other growing hub airports. A key element in success is strong collaboration with the airlines at the airport, to establish it as a gateway for international routes and transfer connections. This traffic change requires efficient airport operations to keep connections stable and ensure that Helsinki remains a pleasant airport for passengers. With the Amorph Systems Flow Predictions, Finavia is in full control of adjusting processes and resources according to any upcoming changes, enabling it to make sure that operations run smoothly. With the platform, Finavia is able to steer passenger flows and optimize resource allocation to keep waiting times to a minimum. Additionally, as part of the upcoming terminal extension at Helsinki, the transition phase between stages of the airport expansion plan can be evaluated. Matti Lehto, head of operations digitization at Finavia, says, “The platform provides us with the up-to-date calculation of loads at process points such as security and border control, as well as very clear and understandable visualization of capacity versus load. “This enables the terminal control operation to make better decisions and adjust resources in daily operation. We are also aiming for cloud implementation with the platform to enable easy and quick data sharing with our airline customers and other stakeholders, to further enable better decision making in each stakeholder subprocess.” Finavia could therefore use the Amorph Systems toolkit to prepare scenarios and evaluate in advance the potential impact of the infrastructure changes. Operational scenarios or even the expected retail revenue of future schedules can be reflected and prepared up-front.

The platform helps airports allocate resources at peak times 

Original Article from the Passenger Terminal World ANNUAL SHOWCASE 2020.