How are busy airport operations handled?

Airports are busy at the best of times, but when there’s a large event – such as the World Cup – they experience a surge in passenger traffic. To effectively handle this influx of passengers, airports employ a number of tactics.

In this article, we’re going to look at how busy airport operations are handled by airports and the techniques they employ to successfully maintain consistent turnaround times.

Data modeling and simulations

Airports are adopting various technologies to better understand how to manage busy periods in airports, such as data modelling and performing simulations. Specialist software allows airports to create realistic digital models that simulate key areas and infrastructure at airports, such as check-in areas and security clearance. These models can use actual passenger numbers to create realistic simulations that cover an end-to-end journey for passengers and estimate processing times.

These tools offer a number of benefits that can mitigate the impact of big, upcoming events. Some of the key benefits include:

• A drop in bottlenecks during the passenger journey

• Streamlining how the security process works

• Finding the most efficient locations for airport security gates

Operational analysis

One approach that airports take to handle a swell of passengers during busy periods is to plan ahead by using operational analysis. This allows airports to perform audits on their facilities and activities like ground handling operations to effectively gauge how prepared they are to handle lots of passengers. It’s also an opportunity for the airport to find areas that are lacking and require improvements, such as specific operations or communication between staff or passengers. This is a precautionary measure and is usually employed long before a big event to effectively manage large crowds and busy periods.

Modelling the passenger journey

Another way airports are harnessing modelling technology to handle busy airport operations is by modelling the passenger journey. This software looks at all of the different touchpoints for a passenger, or areas where interactions are common. This includes things like the check-in desk, security gates and bag drop-off areas. During busy times, these areas become incredibly congested so using a journey scenario modelling solution allows airports to find the best ways to establish these touchpoints. It allows airports to effectively identify and streamline things like departures, biometric scanning and baggage drop-off and pick-up.

Using the modelling approach allows airports to create scenarios which can be run and analysed. This analysis helps in a number of ways, such as:

• Helping airports better understand passenger movement problems

• Determining the right infrastructure, tools and technology to implement that will improve passenger journeys

• Providing a good baseline for passenger movements during busy times, allowing airports to prepare accordingly

• Highlight and address any security issues or vulnerabilities before the peak busy periods.

Airports have a few different approaches to handling busy times such as upcoming live events and fixtures. For the most part, technology plays a large role in ensuring passengers enjoy a safe, streamlined travel experience.