What should you know about airports and how they function?

What should you know about airports and how they function?

Airports can be described in two words: organised chaos. Millions of passengers travelling to thousands of destinations with hundreds of airlines all with their own fleet of aircraft and crew to look after. With this amount of air traffic, it is easy to see that the logistics required for a smooth, safe and efficient operation are staggering. The travelling passenger may only see a tiny fraction of the systems in place designed to get them where they should be safely and without incident.


What causes airport disruptions?


Computer systems crashing, freak storms and adverse weather conditions, human error and even civilians intent on causing mayhem can disrupt operations at an airport. Even a small delay measured in minutes can have a knock-on effect lasting hours, even days. In December 2018 hundreds of flights were halted at London’s Gatwick Airport after there were reports of drone sightings close to the runway. The incident lasted just 3 days but disrupted 140,000 passengers.


Airport operations that improve efficiency


Consider airports as an oasis in the desert, the only place where air traffic can take off and land safely while mitigating the millions of potential hazards outside the safety fence. It is imperative that airport systems operate at peak efficiency and sync together in a web of operational unity. Here is a ‘behind the scenes’ in-depth look at some of those systems, their complexity and inter-connectivity.


Electronic Flight Strips


For decades, paper flight strips have been used by ATC (Air Traffic Controllers) to keep track of flights in the air. They are now being upgraded with Electronic Flight Strips, which are set to change flight operations significantly. EFS will allow for real-time updates, streamline the planning process, and allow data sharing. EFS systems answer questions like ‘has the traffic volume fluctuated?’ and ‘has the weather changed severely enough to affect air travel?’.


The EFS system will update the system promptly, including memory aids for the ATC in the event of a closed runway to reduce human error. The EFS is fully integrated into other systems where it is deployed to reduce the impact of adverse events on air travel.


Baggage Reconciliation System


Passengers and airlines agree that lost luggage can be the most annoying and time-consuming mistake that can happen, reducing trust in a carrier. It is a negative experience for everybody, not to mention a security risk if an unauthorized bag gets onto a plane without a corresponding passenger.


The Baggage Reconciliation System (BRS), uses computer-generated tags to track a bag through every stage of its journey in real-time and matches all loaded bags with passengers onboard an aircraft. It is very similar to modern parcel tracking systems used in the postal service.


The system is highly efficient as it takes advantage of existing airport systems like BagLink gateways to send and receive baggage messages in standard IATA formats. This system also allows baggage handlers to know exactly where a bag is located, even accurate down to the individual container onboard the aircraft. In the event a bag must be removed, it can be quickly located with 100% accuracy.


Thanks to the ingenuity of humans and advancements in technology, we know that we can board flights safe in the knowledge that everything that can be done to improve safety and reduce risk is done, many, many times a day, every day.


If you’re looking for trusted aviation solutions, contact our team at Bayanat Engineering today.