Bristol Airport’s new flow management solution provides a seamless and detailed picture of how their passengers move through and use the airport. The information gives the airport added value, unlocks new business opportunities and improves services.

In 2016, passenger numbers exceeded seven million for the first time in Bristol Airport's history. To help obtain an in-depth cohesive view of passengers’ movement patterns, guide daily and long-term operational and business decisions, and drive higher profitability and passenger satisfaction as this number continues to rise, the airport last year implemented an all-encompassing passenger flow measurement and analysis platform named BlipTrack.
The high-tech solution provides Bristol, which is one of the UK´s fastest growing airports, with a cohesive, wide-ranging view of passenger movements from carpark entrance to gate – and gate to carpark exit.
It presents the airport with a unique opportunity to get ahead of traffic and passenger flow issues before they happen and to more efficiently plan resources in and around the airport.
Paul Davies, Operations Director at Bristol Airport, says, “We wanted to introduce a state-of-the-art technical solution to the challenges airports face in improving customer flow management in the terminal.  We had very high expectations prior to the introduction of the system, and I am very happy to say that the outcome has proved very successful. The system has capabilities of further enhancements, which will provide other long-term solutions in the future.”
Numerous other international hubs, including Amsterdam Schiphol, Auckland and Billund airports, are following suit. The operators understand that to improve individual areas of operations; it is essential that passengers´ journeys are seen as one process, rather than as a string of isolated events. Understanding that all individual events influence each other is key to unlocking potential gains. These airports have recognised that comprehensive passenger flow data is indispensable for guiding physical expansion plans, and for streamlining operations to accommodate rapid passenger volume growth.
As the solution enables the airport to measure and identify flow patterns throughout the entire airport, it allows them to see the impact of the various actions they implement.  With improved operational efficiency and more streamlined check-in and security processes, passengers at Bristol Airport will enjoy a faster and more pleasant transit experience.
Phil Holder, Head of Operations Support at Bristol Airport, explains, “Before we installed the BlipTrack solution, we were reliant on our control centre staff to detect queues, using CCTV cameras. This approach was very time-consuming and was only carried out at certain times of the day. Now we have coverage at our fingertips 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We can now record information more consistently, enabling us to use service level agreements more fairly—not just over selected periods. In addition, as the solution collects data in real-time, it provides early warning if congestion occurs. This rapid information allows us to take fast, proactive measures before the situation escalates, such as opening up additional lines, reducing the risk of bottlenecks and frustrated passengers.”
Live Wait Time Information to Ease Passengers´ Minds
Holder also mentions the benefits of displaying wait-time information, saying that by presenting the length of time passengers could expect to be in the queue, their minds are set at ease, reducing their stress, as they are automatically reassured that there is no issue with this part of their ongoing journey.
Using Flow Data to Boost Non-aviation Revenue
“We will have a view of stacked passenger dwell times for each of the airport areas, from all carpark entries right through to the boarding gates and immigration. The data will help indicate which processes we need to improve, for instance the number and frequency of car park buses. We can measure when passengers arrive and how long it takes them to get to the terminal, which will help us plan bus timetables. By linking it to the boarding gates, we will have a good idea of what time passengers travelling to different destinations choose to turn up at the airport. It will also enable us to evaluate whether there is a need to increase the throughput in security, if airside concession dwell time is low,” ends Phil Holder.
Bristol Airport can retrieve both live and empirical metrics about queue wait times in its processes, and specific flow patterns, such as walking routes, entrance and exit usage, and time spent in particular areas, such as carpark, check-in, security, lounges, gates, immigration and more. Patterns can be averaged over a day, week, month, a specific time of day, holidays, or a range of other metrics. Ultimately, this enhances the understanding of how disruptions or changes affect standard behaviour and helps the airport to optimise their operations in areas of interest.
Besides Bristol Airport, the solution has also been adopted by other UK airports: Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh. And internationally, more than 25 international airports are reaping the benefits of this Danish-developed technology, including JFK Airport in New York, Dublin, Copenhagen, Milano, Oslo, Geneva, Brussels, Cincinnati and Keflavik.
The solution is not only confined to airports, but it is also employed in road traffic optimisation efforts in Portsmouth, Port of Dover, Bangkok, Zürich, Aarhus, Stockholm and Auckland. In recent years, it has even been rolled out in train stations, ski resorts, amusement parks and at events all over the world.

“BlipTrack has proven quite successful. It has enabled CVG to continue our close collaboration with TSA to ensure that the passenger experience is one that enhances the journey experience not detracts from it.”

Candace McGraw

CEO at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport

“BlipTrack gives us a clear picture of passenger movements, allowing us to provide the best customer service and proactively manage service levels before any issues arise.”

Giorgio Medici

Head of Customer Care at Milano Malpensa Airport

“BlipTrack helps us manage and eliminate potential problem spots within the facility. Sharing the processing time with our travelers provides them with peace of mind, so they may continue to expect a pleasant travel experience.” Read more

Gert-Jan de Graaff

President and CEO of JFKIAT

“BlipTrack provides valuable information that helps everyone manage expectations, especially when lines get long. The solution alerts airport employees about developing bottlenecks which allows them to react to the situation more quickly.” Read more

Daryl Jameson

Vice President at JFKIAT

“BlipTrack enables us to monitor the quality of the terminal processes to improve resource planning, and to perform consistent reporting to internal and external stakeholders.”Read more

Ward Decaluwé

Director Passenger Experience at Brussels Airport

“BlipTrack has given us a dynamic and valid tool to document our performance against service level agreements, and also to ensure that the right numbers of staff are in the right place, at the right time, for our passengers.” Read more

Rick Mernock

ATM Policy and Planning Manager at Manchester Airport

“With the automatic BlipTrack measurings, we now know precisely how many passengers to expect at the passport control at specific hours, and based on that we can reduce tailbacks.”

Kaj Lykke Majlund

Commanding Police Officer at Copenhagen Airport

“BlipTrack provides us with immediate visibility to the customer experience and resource effectiveness with throughput planning. The solution allows us to put the customer at ease at a critical stress point and reinforces our expectations around superior customer experience.” Read more

Brian Cobb

Chief Innovation Officer at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport

“BlipTrack provides us with valuable insights into passenger processes. The insights are used to continuously improve our performance together with our stakeholders.

Martijn Van Boxtel

Operational Manager Terminal Logistics at Schiphol Group

“BlipTrack has helped us to resource our operations on-the-day and to identify pinch points and potential build ups. The very accurate data has enabled us to provide an optimum passenger experience by displaying accurate queue wait times.”

John Seely

Technology Projects Manager at Dublin Airport

“BlipTrack provides us with valuable real-time insights about passenger queue time dynamics. It helps our managers to secure low queue times at minimum cost, and also provides our Analysis Department with direct feedback on their forecasting performance.” Read more.

Esben Kolind

Head of Operational and Business Analysis at Copenhagen Airports

“BlipTrack has allowed us to gain a good understanding of the security check-point dynamics, and most importantly, our customers benefit directly by getting a better service.”

Anita Filli

Project Manager Landside Operations at Genève Aéroport

“As the most reliable, and one of the only solutions on the market capable of measuring passenger flow through multiple stages of the journey, it provides us with continuous, airport-wide visibility 24 hours a day, seven days a week.” 

Guðmundur Karl Gautason

Manager - Operation research at Isavia

“BlipTrack has greatly helped improve the customer experience by providing us with the ability to schedule taxis to be available when needed.”

David J. Boenitz

Director of Ground Transportation at San Diego International Airport.

“We are able to keep our passenger fully informed 24/7 about what to expect at security. Our aim is to make the experience as smooth as possible – BlipTrack help us do that.”

Adrian Witherow

Chief Operating Officer at Edinburgh Airport

“We had very high expectations prior to the introduction of the system, and I am very happy to say that the outcome has proved very successful. The system has capabilities of further enhancements which will provide other long-term solutions in the future.”

Paul Davies

Operations Director at Bristol Airport

“Vital to our Master Plan programme is a deep understanding of airport capacity, bottlenecks and constraints, and BlipTrack is key to this.”

Chris Wilson

Head of Capacity & Performance at Birmingham International Airport

“We value the long-term cooperation and their professional approach in providing us with technology and data to ensure efficient operations and passenger satisfaction.”

Lars Erik Flatner

Head of ICT Portfolio at Avinor.

”BlipTrack helps us identify how passengers move through and use the airport, from the time they park, when they leave, and everywhere in between. It enables us to look for patterns through the day/week, to see the impact of the various actions we implement, to reduce bottlenecks and wait time for our passengers.”

Jan Hessellund

CEO at Billund Airport.

“BlipTrack has allowed us, together with our airport partners and stakeholders, to better manage operations, as well as improve the passenger experience by communicating expected wait times to passengers at processing points.”

Michael Side

Operations Technology Asset Manager at Auckland International Airport

With BlipTrack we have coverage at our fingertips 24 hours a day, seven days a week, enabling us to use service level agreements more fairly—not just over selected periods. This rapid information allows us to take fast, proactive measures before the situation escalates.”

Phil Holder

Head of Operations Support at Bristol Airport

“BlipTrack helps ensure that passengers experience a quick and easy passage through this stage of the journey, and significantly increase the opportunity for a positive experience throughout the airport.”

Øystein Skaar

Airport Director at Bergen Airport

“BlipTrack was our first “innovative” push for our organization. This has subsequently paid off in operational efficiency, customer goodwill, effective supporting deployment strategies, positive organizational momentum as well as positive global press and organizational credibility.”

Brian Cobb

Chief Innovation Officer at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport

“With BlipTrack, we can proactively manage passenger flow, and respond promptly and efficiently to irregular operations and disruptions.”

Olivia Pierre

General Manager of Commercial and Customer Experience, Queenstown Airport