New York’s busiest—one of the world’s largest—airport is streamlining operations and easing passengers minds with the Veovo Guest Predictability solution.

Few airports compare to New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport. It’s the USA’s busiest international entry and exit point, and during 2017, nearly 60 million people passed through its six passenger terminals. Moreover, traveller expectations are growing just as rapidly - tolerance for bottlenecks and slow-moving lines is getting ever lower, and the demand for real-time solutions ever higher.

Travellers want a stress-free transit through the airport, while regulators expect security wait time service level agreements to be stringently adhered to, and airlines rely on airport processing to ensure on-time departure of their flights.

In 2015, Terminal 4 was much like all the other terminals - crowded with passengers, busy 24/7, with the tension and stress of national and international travel hovering in the air like a fog. Keen to improve the situation, airport operations began to explore opportunities for a way to ease the stress on passengers, speed up their lines, reduce queue build-up and help passengers get a realistic view on how long they could expect to wait at various processes.

The answer was found in the Veovo BlipTrack Guest Predictability solution. The solution comprises a combination of sensors and data processing software, which together offer insightful, real-time passenger queue and flow information.

In the past, the airport relied on active monitoring, using cameras and stopwatches, to manually track how long it took fliers to get through lines. However, it was difficult to ensure consistency in the data, and it was impossible to provide this data around the clock.

Placed at the TSA Security and Customs Border Protection checkpoints, as well as the indoor taxi queue, the solution has, since implementation, provided the airport with both live and empirical data to provide an understanding of how people move through the terminal.

With this data, the airport can proactively manage passenger flow, allowing them to respond promptly and efficiently to irregular operations and disruptions - for example, by opening additional lines. Effectively, this means that the airport can prevent problems from developing, rather than reacting to them once they have already formed. Moreover, because the aggregated data gives the airport a clear picture of trends and patterns and how they are performing, it enables them to detect wait time and movement anomalies over time, helping them identify peak periods more efficiently and accurately. This allows management to plan ahead and match staff resources with demand at the right times.

Besides ensuring smoother and more efficient operations, the solution also helps solve the problem of frustrated passengers, thanks to continuously updated wait-time information that is displayed on large screens at the various passenger process entry points.

"People like to know how long they are going to wait. Nobody likes to wait in lines, and signage helps to manage expectations. Not only does the system tell passengers how long they're going to be standing around, but it also alerts airport employees about bottlenecks developing, which in turn allows them to react to the situation more quickly,” said Daryl Jameson, vice president at the company JFKIAT, which runs Terminal 4 at JFK.

Airport advocate, Joe Sitt of the Global Gateway Alliance, has praised the new technology: “For too long, passengers were left in long lines at the airport, with no information. The wait-time screens at JFK Terminal 4, however, are the kind of modern technology that infinitely improves the passenger experience and helps advance the airport into the 21st century.”

JFK International is not the only US airport that’s keeping passenger journeys moving smoothly. North America’s fastest-growing airport, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, has managed to reduce their wait times by a massive 33%, while the solution has helped San Diego International Airport identify taxi rank bottlenecks to provide taxis when needed.

“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