All over the world, passenger numbers are growing, with many airports reporting the highest figures in May since 2019. As pace continues to gather around the school holidays, it offers a promising outlook for the summer break.
With rising numbers and high expectations for the coming months, airport operations now face a return to the pre-2019 concerns surrounding how to manage them. We take a closer look at how airports are preparing for a resurgence of traffic.
European traffic numbers reaching for the sky
In Europe, these strong signs have led to ACI Europe revising its forecast for 2022 from -32% of 2019 levels to an expected -22%. Even this figure could be conservative, with London Heathrow reporting 79% of 2019 levels in May and Swedavia announcing record numbers alongside expansion plans for next year.
While some countries still have travel restrictions in place, many are lifting them, and the positive outlook continues. Carriers are not only beginning to resume operations, but they are also resuming expansion plans and the feeling is optimistic for 2023.
With optimism comes a realistic concern across the industry as we accelerate towards normal levels. Handling rising numbers and expanding capacity requires a streamlined approach to minimize ground delays and maintain efficiency. And there has never been a better time than now to make sure that core systems are in place and ready.
Handling rising numbers with a reinforced operational environment
The predicted resurgence has led some operators to rekindle pre-2019 plans to handle rising passenger numbers, which was a common concern across the industry at the time. Passenger numbers were rising at around 6% per year and the strain on the operational environment became clear.
Ground handling, security, and baggage teams also face increasing mandatory compliance and regulatory control procedures and requirements. This means that to minimize the risk of ground delay and enhance efficient turnaround, they need seamless access to the most up-to-date data. To enable this, the DCS needs to be robust and communicative, secure yet accessible, and also capable of enhancing performance as numbers rise.
Whether at the front desk, at the gates, or behind the scenes, the backbone of operations is in the Departure Control System. The DCS holds all the keys to the movement of aircraft and passengers and is the beating heart of operational management. This is one of the first of many integrations that can create a reinforced operations environment.
The importance of scalability in the DCS
Scalability is an important requirement in todays changing aviation environment, especially if numbers rise as predicted. We have also learned as an industry that anything can happen, and operations must be flexible for the future.
Traditionally, airport Departure Control Systems have been complex and inflexible in terms of the infrastructure needed for this type of flexibility. In recent times, this has led to cost efficiency being an issue for some operators, particularly those in the small to medium size bracket. This is why scalability has become a higher priority than ever before.
Streamlining integration and maintaining flexibility
A relatively new approach to operational management is in cloud technologies and this is where the power really lies. Within the secure cloud, systems communicate seamlessly, and this gives wings to data sharing, making it available to those that need it in near- or real-time.
Using powerful airport solutions at the heart of operations, such as the DCS, can set the scene for a much wider scope of scalability. Combining integrable cloud technologies, such as a ground handling database, or baggage reconciliation system for instance, ticks compliance boxes too.
These types of solutions are easily integrated and reduce the need for heavy infrastructure investment and resources. At a time when scalability includes management of bottom-line operational cost, it is clear that a new way is needed for the future of airports of all sizes.
A new way forward
In-cloud technologies, such as our own Airport-in-Cloud, offer a unique approach that combines integrated solutions with a scalable pricing structure. AiC has a wide range of applications from DCS and Baggage Reconciliation System to Weight and Balance tools, inter-operational message distribution, and everything in between.
Launched in the cloud or on-site, AiC is a fully integrated, powerful airport management platform that gives a simplified overview. Offering a Pay-as-You-Go commercial model, and the functionality to only select the applications you need, it also gives greater scalability than ever before, paying per use over a traditional fixed-cost contract.
Talk to us
Through continuous research and development, we aim to ensure the future of airports of all sizes. Talk to us about a uniquely scalable operational environment and how you can prepare for a resurgence of traffic.