Customer satisfaction for airlines and airports often pivots on ‘on-time departure’ performance. How can airports proactively ensure punctuality and smooth the guest travel experience?

Punctuality is a key factor for travellers when choosing both an airline and an airport. A recent survey by Ipsos MORI, on behalf of NATS, the UK’s Air Navigation Service Provider, confirmed that operational performance is influencing travel decisions for a majority of passengers. Still,  many airports lack good visibility and control of their crucial performance levers.

With upfront awareness of possible late arrivals, airports can make the best decisions to limit potential capacity constraints. Even for timely arrivals, ensuring availability of the right crew and resources for turnarounds, alongside insights that reduce the likelihood of late passenger arrivals at the gate, can significantly improve on-time departure performance.

By connecting passenger movement prediction with insights into operations from key systems, such as Total Airport Management and Collaborative Decision Making, airports can make significant steps toward a holistic and collaborative approach, to a performance-driven ecosystem.

1) Ensure timely gate show ups

The heightened focus on airport security and capacity constraints can translate to longer wait times and late passenger arrivals at the gate. By accurately forecasting wait times, based on flight schedule, weather, and seasonal factors; communicating wait times and delays proactively to passengers; and flexing resourcing to manage peak demands, airports can significantly reduce guest bottlenecks.

+    Copenhagen Airport was an early adopter of predictive guest planning for security checks. Its ability to accurately match staff with demand and anticipate busy periods led to an average wait time of under five minutes.

However, what happens when the delay is beyond the airport – like when traffic congestion or a road accident hampers timely arrival for passengers, airport staff and airline crew?

+    Auckland is a city facing significant traffic congestion. Auckland Airport took proactive steps to address late arrivals by using predictive analytics, which helps guest understand the best time to leave home. As a result, the airport has, on average, shaved 10 minutes off arrival-to-terminal door times. Layering this type of traffic analytics with passenger movements predictions can then be used to optimise the entire door to gate journey.

2) Activate the ecosystem for faster turnarounds

Coordination of resources and airport partners can accelerate the turnaround process, and get more flights leaving on time.

+    Birmingham Airport – recently given a 5-star rating by OAG for on-time performance – has boosted turnaround efficiency with intelligent automation. As daily events unfold,  airport resources, such as stands, are dynamically reallocated to best fit the new flight schedule, minimising disruption.

Connecting operations to the rest of the airport, from ground handlers to catering, using software such as Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) can drive even higher performance. By creating more awareness of each’s role in the turnaround process, airports generate more accountability.

3) Tap into historical trends to drive improvement

With hundreds of sensors and systems, airports have significant opportunities for data-driven optimisation. Predictive collaboration offers airports a way to make sense of that data to make better decisions, in real-time and long-term planning.

+    Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), awarded Skytrax best world airport 2018 (5-10 million passengers), is working with their partners at TSA to use live and empiric guest movement data to refine security resourcing and processing plans. As a result, security line wait times have been reduced by one third.

At the airside,  opportunities to blend historical air traffic data, apron congestion and aircraft towing times could be used to predict a slip to a flight’s Target-On-Block Time (TOBT). The flight could then be reallocated to a stand more suitable for a fast turnaround, and the planning model refreshed in a continuous cycle of improvement.

Passengers should not have to accept that delays are inevitable. With ecosystem collaboration, predictive analytics and intelligent automation playing an increasing role in an airport´s operations toolkit, they do not have to. By transforming their approach to on-time departures, airports can not only reshape the travel experience, but successfully compete for, and retain the loyalty of guests and airlines alike.

“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

“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

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 was a critical investment. The data has provided valuable insight into our operational performance across both our assets and processes. Most importantly, it has enabled us to have meaningful conversations with our key operational stakeholders and vendors, as we collectively seek to improve the passenger experience.”

Mark Croudace

Manager - Passenger & Terminal Operations at Auckland International Airport Limited

”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.

“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.

“The team are a credit to the organisation and have helped the airport immensely, with data analysis and reporting.”

Chris Wilson

Head of Terminal Operations at Birmingham International 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

“With BlipTrack we can keep our passengers fully informed 24/7 – both in the airport terminal and online – about what to expect at the security process. At peak times, over 3,000 passengers an hour travel through security, and our aim is to make that experience as smooth as possible whilst ensuring safety – BlipTrack helps us do that.”

Adrian Witherow

Chief Operating Officer at Edinburgh Airport

“BlipTrack has helped identify time periods where passenger wait times exceed 10 minutes, thereby allowing us to assess schedule deficiencies and taxi dispatches. The data has greatly helped improve the customer experience by providing us the ability to schedule taxis to be available when needed.”

David J. Boenitz

Director of Ground Transportation at San Diego International Airport.

“BlipTrack enable us to see when levels of service are breached and locate the reasons. We can identify work shift problems and make more informed decisions.”

Guðmundur Karl Gautason

Manager – Operation Research at Keflavik Airport.

BlipTrack has provided us with powerful tools which have 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

“The solution 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 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 Operations

“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 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

“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 enables us to continually refine, evaluate and improve key operational processes.” Read more

Bjorg Hill

Contract Manager at Oslo 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

“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 of Operations at Brussels Airport

“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 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 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 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