Time is money they say. But when it comes to saving time people always say no
No one likes it, when we waste our valuable time in queue lengths and security checks in airports. An airport architecture is an operational system comprising of a framework of infrastructures, facilities, personnel which collectively provide a service to a customer, who is the traveling passenger.
An typical layout of Airport serves a complex set of needs, because they are:
* A point of interchange among different means of inland transport (such as road and rail system) and the air system;
* A service center, because it must provide the necessary services for ticketing, security checking, baggage handling, boarding, deboarding, documentation for control of passengers and goods;
* A point of connection between arrivals and departures, since it must ensure an easy transit from a system of continuous arrivals, which is passenger flows to a system of discrete events, which are the scheduled flight arrivals and departures.
And, the overall experience of passengers at an airport can be demanding and time
consuming. Delays occur with parking, checking in, security screening, and boarding.
*The less time the customer spends in the systems, the higher the satisfaction. However, at the same time, the airport is obliged to hold standards that the passengers must meet. These standards include proper identification, limited luggage weight, and safety procedures at the security checkpoint and much more.
For these reasons, there are several airport terminal designs that must be examined to find a design that would be most suitable for a given city based on its city size, population, forecasted passenger loads, budget allocated, amount of land available, etc. These decisions are not easy, and this is the reason 3d simulation technologies are often used to improve the quality of decision making. When you integrate 3D simulation with data analytics and artificial intelligence the results will lead you to the solution.
The main issue facing all airports is managing passenger flows to reduce passenger delays and congestion in all service areas. This is a complex problem, as passenger arrivals rates are random and erratic, whereas flights are scheduled at definitive time intervals. It is only through simulation, one can examine the various performance metrics to study airport performance.
There are many airport operational areas where simulation is used to improve airport performance. Some of them are listed below:
- Passenger Traffic Flow, Queue Analysis and Congestion Studies
- Ticketing Processes
- Baggage Handling
- Airport Security
- Custom Checking
- Tarmac Bus Traffic
- Flight Arrivals and Departures
- Study Different Terminal Concepts Analysis
Airport Performance MetricsAnd from simulation modeling the following performance metrics can be determined, namely:
- Maximum and average passenger waiting times at each service point
- The maximum and average number of passengers waiting at each service point
- The utilization rate of baggage handling systems and determining bottleneck and delays during peak hours
- Number of passengers In the airport at all times and congestion analysis - maximum and average
- Walking distance for each passenger - IATA metric
- Level of Service for Passengers or LOS - IATA metric
IATA Metrics for Airport PerformanceInternational Air Transport Association or IATA is the trade association for the world's airlines, representing some 290 airlines or 82% of total air traffic and it has its own metric to determine airport design effectiveness.
The two main IATA metrics are walking distance and LOS. Both these metrics can be determined from a airport simulation model.
The IATA walking distance metric indicates that a given passenger's walking distance should be less than 300 meters.
The other very important IATA metric is called Level of Service or LOS. It is an indicator of how comfortable a passenger feels in an airport by virtue of the amount of space that is usually available to him or her at all times. LOS is especially applicable where passengers are waiting in a queue for either check-in their luggage or at security before boarding the aircraft. LOS improves if there are more service counters available like check in counters or more security gates operating etc
Because, airport simulation model considers the geometry of the layout, it is possible to determine LOS at all times to report the average and the minimum LOS at every given part of the airport
Using the above airport performance metrics the airport operator can ascertain the following:
- Is the existing space enough?
- Is re-organisation / expansion of area required?
- How many passenger lanes are needed?
- What is the passenger throughput?
Raw Passenger Departure and Arrival Data is Important for Building an Accurate Simulation ModelThe main input for an airport simulation model is passenger departure or arrivals rates. Ideally this data should be captured in its raw form. The question is how can this be done?
Given below is a proposed approach for capturing passenger departure rates for an airport for flight departures between 6:00 am and 8:00 am. This data can be captured when the passenger checks in at the airport security or check in counter.
It is this level of granularity in data input, that is required in simulation modelling for the model to accurately determine the amount of passenger wait times, queue lengths, LOS and other airport performance metrics mentioned earlier.
Predictive Analytics for AirportUsing simulation technologies like VBTantra, a user can create an Excel interface to input the raw data into the airport simulation model. Using a VBTantra tool called Expert Fit a user can estimate the most appropriate data distribution to fit passenger departure data.
Using a fitted data distribution the simulation model can turn the simulation model into a predictive model to estimate resources to be used at different times of the day, such as number of check in counters to be open, the number of security gates to be opened etc based on passenger traffic.
It is therefore not advisable to summarize the raw passenger departures or arrivals data using average values or any other form of simple data summary methods as such average like inputs to the simulation model will only distort the simulation results.
Due care should therefore be given to all aspects of the data such as variability, shape and the central tendency. The best approach is still to use the raw data as input as this would give the best result.
New Airport Terminal SimulationSimulation is primarily used in two different ways by Airport operators. They use it in designing a new airport and in operating an existing airport. In both cases, current and forecasted passenger departure and arrival data, plays a key role in ensuring a feasible design and in efficient operation of an existing airport.
For instance, when designing a new terminal, an airport operator can examine how different terminal designs will function for the same level of passenger departure and arrival rates and then compare the different performance metrics for the different terminal designs to derive the most cost-effective design.
In the age of technology it is always suggested to "Simulate before Investing"