Space limitation is one of the most important topics for the airport industry. According to IATA passenger forecasts, passenger numbers will double over the next 20 years. So even if we know that this growth will not be steadily rising and distributed equal among all regions, it will have a heavy impact on the existing capacity of many airports. So two of the main questions to ask are:
Is an airport physically and legally able to grow and not restricted yet? If yes to question 1: When are new facilities really needed so when to start extension projects?
The timing is important as no one wants to waste funds in already built but not yet needed infrastructure as well as miss revenue because of too late finished extensions. Financial crisis back in 2007 brought some turbulence into those master plans, especially at some European airports. Many of them froze or postponed their extension plans, as the calculated ROI was no longer valid. They first needed some clear signals from the market to recover. The hard decision again is the right timing to restart the extension engine. The risk takers are now lucky to be in time, but all others are facing severe problems as the recovery process is getting faster and passenger amount are increasing continuously.
Cargo growth vs. Passenger growth
Cargo rates, who have been always seen as a pre-indicator for passenger volumes stabilized and start to grow again and even more: passenger growth even lagged cargo rates and recovered faster. Now for some airports it is foreseeable: for the next years, the existing infrastructure will be working under heavy pressure as terminal capacities create a bottleneck situation.
But there comes something positive with this painful outlook: Challenging conditions can stimulate the innovation process.
Why? The fact of not being able to change the surrounding conditions creates creativity and flexibility to deal with the existing in the best possible way. Some call this optimization. It´s up to the management then to set the framework for innovation to take place.
I remember pretty well in the past, working as a data analyst, I once discovered decreasing throughput rates at security checkpoint. Confronting the responsible manager with this, the answer was not like I expected: “Don´t make this public.” he said, “Otherwise we would be forced to build more security lanes to handle the demand. We can´t afford this”. I was confused as I thought more about: “Hey, let´s go out there and find out why this is happening and how we can change it”. People are sometimes not acting in aspect to take the change as a challenge. If you do so, you will find tons of topics to improve. Now beside process related improvements, data driven optimizations are getting more and more important. The big data hype is in everyone´s ears and yes, smart solutions are needed to step through this mess of data. Otherwise your data analysts will soon get flooded with requests they can´t fulfill because of the wrong tool-set, not empowering them to create fast and accurate results.
Data Exploration and Collaboration
Not only since Google, Amazon and co. we all know: data is the key! Data availability plays an important role in particular in the aviation industry as well. Compared to other industries, the amount of stakeholders make things more complex and planning a long lasting process. This requires a general commitment on conditions and purpose between each other’s. The biggest step is to convince everybody in place, that only with collaboration they will succeed. Most airlines are not able to survive without their home base and vice versa. Even federal institutions, although they always neglect, profit from a prospering airport. So why don´t they share data and analytic competences? The analysis of already available and future required data is important to ensure competitiveness and deliver first class services now and in the future. Once the necessity has been established and agreements are set, this opens the door to a wide range of possibilities to learn and optimize the whole process chain. In the end, it is the passenger who will benefit from optimized processes and an even more passenger-centric communication.
State of the art Technology
Therefore, let´s have a realistic view. Google glasses & co. won´t bring terrific changes to the aviation industry. This might look sexy to some technical directors, creating the image of an innovative company. The real innovations are others and some smart companies like Amorph Systems are already working on it. One of the key drivers of BI in the past and in the future is about empowering people to speed up their decision process. Analytic tools are getting more and more visualized, real-time data fed and easy to use, so Amorph Systems applications are.
The clue with their products is: they are stable and fast running so they can be used for operational purpose as well as for analytic research. You will never work disconnected again. Planners and Operational people can work with the same interfaces and tool-set to increase the whole process.
With the platform Amorph.aero you can run passenger forecasts for all required points of interest in your airport, in operational mode. This creates visibility and enhances reaction time for operational managers to adopt their processes and resources to upcoming changes. Integrated with What-If Simulation functionality, end-users are able to check their adjustments first before bringing them live. This will enhance workforce productivity for airports and all involved stakeholders, reduce waiting times for passengers and as a positive effect improve the retail revenue.
Operational Passenger Flow Forecast
Installed at Frankfurt Airport this is part of an innovative approach in the BI strategy of the airport. Frankfurt airport was one of the first in the industry exploring this Big Data challenge, containing real-time BI with our agent-based simulation. Focusing on security checkpoints, Frankfurt Airport managed to increase capacity up to 15% by using operational passenger flow forecasting.
Beside that we now that every airport is unique. With our simulation and optimization experience and the business know how about airport and terminal operations we create value to your business by integrating your individual requirements and needs into a tailored solution.