The world is becoming increasingly digitized, and technology growing exponentially more efficient – these factors ensure that collecting and analyzing data has never been easier or as comprehensive. We all now live in an era driven by data.
Anybody can now access vast amounts of resources alongside the data that comes from it. Airports especially need to learn what information to collect, and when and where to apply the data-driven trends. Those who don’t take advantage of these modern means will be left far behind others who use data-driven strategies to make key decisions.
The traveler demographic is rapidly growing and is projected to reach 7 billion passengers per year by 2020, according to the Airports Council International. This means more and more data can be collected and utilized to improve your airport. Future trends can be predicted, efficiency and security increased, and productivity improved.
Given this flood of new and rapidly growing information, a trusted technology partner to provide the requisite expertise or the in-house staff with the proper skill-sets to analyze and collect this data will be a must. Without the ability to truly analyze and utilize this data, it will be meaningless.
Not only do you need people in place to be able to analyze the information – there must be actual systems in place and you need to know what you want to get out of it. Given the depth and breadth of airport operations – from landside, terminal, and airside – it is important to know how well every aspect is performing. Data analysis can significantly aid the airport in achieving this goal.
Data gathered from daily Part 139 inspections could be utilized to see trends on the airfield and perform proactive maintenance to avoid disruptions. Passenger flow information can be examined by detail by separating it by the time of day and day of the week. It can then be viewed from the lens of underlying factors such as seasonal upticks and weather conditions. The information gathered not only can be used for airport staffing but can also be utilized to help concessionaires and parking appropriately prepare for upswings or low periods.
At our local airport, we have experienced food concessionaires closing without taking into account the scores of possibly hungry passengers waiting for delayed flights in the concourse – making it a missed opportunity. Timely information to the concessionaires can help improve their bottom line, the airport’s revenue share, and the overall experience of passengers traveling through the airport. Another common view is when the line from the parking lot snakes through rows waiting to pay at the few manned parking lot kiosks. Closing the loop on flight arrivals, parking lot capacity, and iterating the patterns when the aforementioned scenario occurs can help avoid this from becoming a repetitive occurrence.
If there is a measurable output, it can be dissected and analyzed to help improve your airport operations, better the lives of your employees and passengers, and work with the community to achieve newer and higher goals. With this massive growth of information, airports must to move with the times and wield data as a way to pave the path to a new, informative era.