Building Agile and Sustainable Future Ready Airports – Smart Airport Operations

This article about Smart Airport Operations has been written by Eugene Cheong, and published on Asia Pacific South blog site of Dassault Systèmes.

The Coming Disruption for Airlines and Airports

Air travel volume is on the rise and expected to nearly double to 7.8 billion by the year 2036[1]. This presents opportunities for increased revenue and growth for the aviation industry. At the same time, it also presents a challenge for airlines and airports to handle the massive increase in passenger demand and achieve operational excellence without sacrificing passenger experience.

Most airports are already at or near capacity, and are unable to build new infrastructure in time to handle more capacity. They will have to somehow manage with their current existing facilities and resources.

[1] (2017, October 24) 2036 Forecast Reveals Air Passengers Will Nearly Double to 7.8 Billion

smart airport operations


Is today’s path for airport infrastructure development creating the future we want?

Airlines and airports need to think strategically about how to address these growing challenges. Below are some questions to consider:

  • Do we have the right airport facilities to support the increase in passenger traffic?
  • Should we build more and bigger terminals, which may inherently stress and confuse passengers?
  • How is this going to affect air traffic growth and aircraft turnaround times?
  • How do we address the increasing congestion on the ramp?
  • How do we increase non-aeronautical revenue and improve passenger satisfaction?

The above questions impels us to adopt a new way of thinking about the planning, design, construction and operation of the airport in order to deliver exceptional passenger experience across every touch-point.

Below are some key challenges that are transforming airports with smart airport operations:

  1. Grow & Expand Quickly: Airport capacity is at a premium and passenger volume is growing, demand can only be met by:
    1. Upgrading existing facilities and optimizing operations to increase efficiency and throughput
    2. Building new terminals and/or airports to increase capacity
    3. Smarter facilities management through use of integrated intelligent automated technologies
  1. Improve Passenger Experience: Passengers want to be more connected, well informed and in control of their travel experience2. How do we provide more personalized service and improve their experience with technology?
    [2](2017, October 24) Passengers want technology to give them more control over their travel experience
  1. Increase Non-Aeronautical Revenue: Non-aeronautical revenues are a key contributor to the financial success of airports and are major sources of funds for airports to invest in infrastructure and service improvements3. How do we improve the airport retail experience?
    [3](2018, April 10) ACI World’s Airport Economics Report
  1. Increase Operational Efficiency: Fixed resources, ground crews, passenger flow and technology are inextricably interconnected and limited. How do we optimize operational efficiency to handle increased capacity and improve better passenger experience?
  1. Adapt to Risks and Uncertainties: Uncertainty of the ever-changing societal, technological, environmental, economic and political landscapes, and terrorism is creating unprecedented challenges for Airports. How do we prepare for the unexpected?
  1. Airport Cities: Airports are more than a major transportation hub. Airports plays a considerable role in the economic development and growth of cities and regions. Integrating with the city-based ecosystem of partners, companies and entities that interact with the smart airport operations is crucial.


Delivering Exceptional Passenger Experience at Every Touchpoint

Airport Experience powered by the Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE® platform is an integrated solution that provides a single source of truth of information, allowing you to create a virtual twin of the airport which is a digital replica of the physical airport and its behavior in the real world with a 3D digital representation.

Not only does it provide insights into your airport operations, infrastructure and passenger experience, it also opens up endless possibilities to future-proof the airport through scenario planning by simulating “What-if” scenarios and exploring contingency strategies, solving operational problems before it becomes real.

It improves situational awareness and predictability for effective collaboration, planning and decision-making. It also raises productivity, cost and operational efficiency, resulting in improved passenger experience.

Virtual Twin is the next evolution of digital airports and the basis for creating agile, smart and sustainable airports of the future.

At the heart of Airport Experience by Dassault Systèmes are two evolving technologies:

  1. Airport-Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM) / Airport Operations Centre (APOC): For advanced planning, scheduling and optimization of overall airport operations and resources
  2. 3D Building Information Modelling (BIM) PLM: For optimizing the management of facilities throughout the building life cycle e.g. design, construction, procurement and logistics of different facilities, spaces, networks and utilities

 

Long-term Benefits of Airport Experience Solution

The Airport Experience solution helps to achieve:

  • VISIBILITY among all involved stakeholders by synchronizing all stakeholder information in a single source of truth to foster real-time collaboration
  • EFFICIENCY in airport operations by implementing a predictive model to continuously improve operations and cost reduction
  • FLEXIBILITY and PREDICTABILITY with unexpected situations by providing a holistic view on improving airport operations and understanding how those adjustments will improve efficiency, effectiveness and agility
  • GROWTH of Airport activities by providing more connected and integrated solutions to help passengers make fast and informed decisions
  • COMPLIANCE with expectations by achieving full traceability on Requirements-driven Processes to improve certification processes and ensure the right solution is built
  • QUALITY of Engineering data by building a structured and data-driven Virtual Facility Referential to ensure full control over the information and capture trusted knowledge

One such technology, which can help airport manage their operations, is the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

Watch on our web site how smart city paradigms apply to airports -> 3DEXPERIENCity

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Mark Bese

Mark Bese

Industry Marketing Director at Dassault Systèmes
Mark Bese is the Industry Marketing Director for Natural Resources at Dassault Systèmes. His scope within Natural Resources encompasses mining, upstream oil and gas, water, and agriculture and forestry. He began his first engagements in mining almost 15 years ago marketing software solutions.