Written by on Wednesday June 6th 2012 in What We're Thinking

Has the Airport Experience Become Horrible?

This was the headline of a recent BBC news story, one of several recent articles that have questioned how changes in the air travel industry have affected the passenger experience. Increased security measures, busier flight schedules and steeper competition between airlines are just some of the factors that have been making it increasingly difficult for airports to please everyone. Yet bucking this trend, some airports have adopted simulation as a way of improving passenger management; yielding them a superior customer experience and increased flexibility supporting increased passenger numbers and revenue.

Ironically simulation, whereby real life events are mirrored using computer software and then analyzed under different scenarios to determine the optimal approach, is something that airports have been familiar with for decades in the form of Air Traffic Control. Every year billions are spent to ensure that cutting edge Air Traffic Control systems are in place to safety navigate aircrafts, spot potential problems and determine the most efficient flight paths. So why not apply this same approach, which has been so successful for managing aircrafts, to managing passenger services as well?

This is exactly what simulation does. However, instead of using locational data from radar systems and miles of runway, simulation takes into account factors such as historical data, passenger behaviors and service capacity in order to accurately replicate the performance of airport facilities in different scenarios (such as increased throughput, new terminal layouts or contingency planning). By using SIMUL8’s simulation software our clients have achieved the following benefits:

Ease of use and accessibility

Working with SIMUL8’s specialist consultancy team, our clients quickly develop simulations and interfaces which run from existing data sources and allow full flexibility and control to rapidly test multiple scenarios.

Variance and realism

At any airport no two days are ever the same, passenger numbers fluctuate, flights can be delayed and many other influences such as seasonal variation will come into play. Modelling this type of variation is the only way to achieve accurate and realistic results from any simulation. In SIMUL8 there are a host of tools to manage variation and ensure that all aspects of a process match real life behaviors.

Systems testing and avoidance of critical failures

Just as Air Traffic Control is employed to prevent critical safety failures, simulation of airport layouts and passenger flows are used to prevent critical failures in customer services. If passenger numbers increased or if new timely security measures were introduced would you know where and when your service levels would breakdown or what measures would be required to maintain them?

Testing these types of scenarios and communicating solutions in a highly visual and interactive manner is a real focus of SIMUL8’s software.

Practical applications, KPI tracking and detailed results

With SIMUL8 we focus on providing a tool that is of real practical use to teams and managers. The key to this approach is to ensure that the results coming from a simulation are relevant and meaningful. Whether your results need to be calculated hourly or you are dealing with a complex array of different service levels requirements, SIMUL8 can be customized to deliver results in whichever format suits your organization.