Navigating the Chaos: Taming Delays at Airports

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 to change passenger behavior, different delays every day, and daily disruptive situations to react to, so I can definitely say that every day is different, but not according to the plan!”

What does that mean for operations?

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

After the day passed by, the administration worked to analyze the root causes of this disruptive event. Finally, they found out that one A380 had been delayed and a 747 came too early. This is usually nothing special, but in this case, they overlapped with other flights within a peak. So there had been additional delays at airports on top of this existing peak.

Now after knowing what happened, the discussion starts on how to be better prepared for such situations in the future. The planning department states, that these events can´t be planned as they change from day to day. The operations department argues that 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 of planning is to reduce the gathering of the unpredictable. There are parameters that will change every day so why not concentrate on those parameters you can really predict and set the frame-set for operation and delays at airports if disruptions occur. The Future of Delay Management at Airports

What about a solution where you can see all changes in inbound and outbound flights, the dependencies between process points, the effects of different passenger behavior, and the results of passenger flow actions? Wouldn’t this be the chance to react always according to the actual demand for the next hours?

Based on our highly efficient simulation engine, is able to help 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.

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.