October 19, 2008 9:16 am

Manchester Airport improves efficiency and planning capabilities by replacing manual sample measurement of passenger queue and dwell time with the BlipTrack automated tracking solution based on Bluetooth technology. 

Providing greater passenger service
A key objective of airport management is to make the passengers experience as positive as possible, at all times. Smooth and effective processes are therefore of great importance to the airport’s operations and its competitive position. Both are crucial to the airport and its airline partners – which is why the efficiency of airport operations is measured against a service level agreement (SLA) between the airlines and the airport authority. This is done to ensure that passengers get through a number of checkpoints within a certain time period. With the BlipTrack solution from BLIP Systems, Manchester Airport now has access to real-time data about the passenger time spent from check-in to departure, 24-7-365. Currently, Manchester Airport is checking passengers dwell time relating to the security scanning process.

Measurement and documentation
As part of its partnership approach to improve the passenger experience, Manchester Airport reports the time spent by passengers from check-in to completion of the security scan to the airlines. These reports include performance against agreed target times. Over the last two years, Manchester Airport has invested over £50 million in redeveloping its three terminals following extensive passenger research. The research confirmed that, prior to security, departing passengers through security as quickly as possible.

Once in the departure lounge, passengers begin to relax. As a result, the security search areas were expanded and re-located next to check-in, creating a larger airside space which has been extensively refurbished to include new retail space, catering, seating and gate areas – all based on passenger feedback. Thus the airport depends on the ability to track and measure passenger queue and dwell time in different areas of the airport in order to shorten the time that passengers spend to get airside.

Rick Mernock, Head of Performance, Manchester Airport, states: ”Making the passenger journey easy is the heart of our business and managing/reducing queue lengths is a critical part of our ability to achieve this. As aviation revenue decrease, the delivery of improved business opportunities for the airside retailers is also important to our overall business.”

From approximate data to accurate and intelligent data
Through automatic collection of Bluetooth IDs collected from passenger mobile phones and PDAs, Manchester Airport gets a significant amount of raw data on which the required analysis, modelling and reports can be based.

The BlipTrack solution has enabled Manchester Airport to replace legacy manual measurement systems with a modern and reliable automatic method. This enables them to achieve far greater visibility of passenger queuing and dwell time.

Stored data about passenger movements gives Manchester Airport a powerful tool for statistical modelling and forecasting. This is used in order to predict trends and future needs with the added crucial ability to plan more strategically in the long term.

“The Queue & Dwell time solution has given us a dynamic and valid tool to document our performance against the SLA and also to ensure that the right numbers of staff are in the right place at the right time for our passengers,” says Rick Mernock, Head of Performance, Manchester Airport.

BlipTrack solutions used in this case