How Kerb-to-flight passenger flow management is transforming Birmingham Airport
Birmingham Airport (BHX) has long been recognised as one of the UK’s most punctual and family-friendly travel hubs. The four-time winner of the prestigious Star UK Airport prize loves keeping its customers happy. However, the airport realised it needed a new way to keep things running smoothly.
More passengers. More challenges
With passenger numbers rising, BHX wanted to gain better insights into how customers move and use facilities from arrival to departure. While BHX manually measured passengers via its security processes, it only reflected 10% of travellers – meaning it relied too much on assumptions.
The airport needed a platform that could accurately capture the flow of passengers across the airport, no matter the physical layout, and make sense of that data to better optimise resources, increase revenue opportunities and smooth the passenger experience.
The all-knowing airport.
Following the implementation of Veovo’s passenger predictability solution, the results were indisputable – a near-trebling of data capturing capabilities, as well as the ability to keep passengers informed and relaxed by displaying accurate wait times in its processes.
With the expansion to airport-wide flow management, BHX now receives detailed insights around customer occupancy, dwell time and movement patterns, both in individual areas and holistically. With a seamless understanding of the interconnections between customers, flights and processes, BHX now has real-time situational awareness across the entire airport ecosystem.
year-on-year reduction in security queue length
more data capturing capabilities
Seeing the bigger picture of operations
BHX’s operational teams use the solution to view real-time data, allowing them to be able to reduce security queue length by 10% year-on-year. In response, BHX has adjusted its KPIs to ensure they are on a journey of continuous improvement.
The ability to create flight schedule-based forecasting has also improved by the tight integration between Veovo’s passenger flow and operation software, used by the airport to manage resource planning and improve day-of-operation decision-making. By combining people movement and AODB data, BHX can now analyse flow patterns alongside flight schedule information, such as trends by airline, time of day and destination and the effects on show-up profiles and dwell times at processes.
These insights enable the airport to proactively adjust resources to adapt to any changes to the operational plan, to meet service level agreements and improve guest communication.
to use data from any sensor, now and in future
Live situational data
to know when occupancy is approaching its limits
to rapidly adapt to changes
Terminal Operations Project Coordinator, BHX
“We’re now not only able to view what’s happening as it happens 24/7, but we can also compare current operations against expectations. It allows us to optimise the entire customer journey, rather than sub-optimising isolated areas.”
Using AI to improve flow, health and safety
AI and predictions play a crucial role in Birmingham Airport’s decision-making in relation to its future expansions, ensuring it matches future capacity with demand, as well as complying with health and safety regulations. BHX uses live situational data to raise the alarm when occupancy is approaching its limits and historical data analysis to understand what impact passenger levels have in the main dwell areas at different times of the day.
For example, if the departure lounge is approaching capacity, the airport can use tactics such as “call to gate” to redirect travellers – using the Veovo Guest Engagement (FIDS) – to go to the gate area, reducing the lounge headcount. It can also measure the number of people using escalators and lifts, allowing it to make proactive preventive maintenance plans.
Planning the future
Today, Birmingham Airport is exploring new use cases, such as detecting the location and movement of assets like trollies, employees and vehicles and determining the necessary improvements. The airport is also considering leveraging Veovo’s new advancements in 3D sensors to improve measurement precision at key choke points.
In the long term, BHX sees Veovo as key to providing it with a deeper understanding of capacity and constraints on a larger scale as it looks to invest in its facilities to handle an expected 40% growth in passengers.
Take a look inside Birmingham Airport
Giles explains how moving from single-process queue measurement to airport-wide flow management is helping improve staff resourcing, bottleneck prevention and expansion planning.