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SPECIAL REPORT

Next Generation Integrated Solutions for Improving Modern Airport Operations One Airport – One Process: Viewing the Airport as a Whole to Maximize Efficiency Managing Airport Growth The Next Generation of Technologies The Drive to Improve Docking Procedures A New System for a Safer Future

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Published by Global Business Media


One airport. One process. One partner. Airport performance delivered, from approach to departure

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS FOR IMPROVING MODERN AIRPORT OPERATIONS

SPECIAL REPORT

Next Generation Integrated Solutions for Improving Modern Airport Operations One Airport – One Process: Viewing the Airport as a Whole to Maximize Efficiency

Contents

Managing Airport Growth The Next Generation of Technologies The Drive to Improve Docking Procedures A New System for a Safer Future

Foreword

2

Tom Cropper, Editor

One Airport – One Process: Viewing the Airport as a Whole to Maximize Efficiency

3

Fredrik Johansson, SafePerformance – Product Manager, Safegate Group

Mechanical Machine Efficiency

Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media

Published by Global Business Media Global Business Media Limited 62 The Street Ashtead Surrey KT21 1AT United Kingdom Switchboard: +44 (0)1737 850 939 Fax: +44 (0)1737 851 952 Email: info@globalbusinessmedia.org Website: www.globalbusinessmedia.org Publisher Kevin Bell

Sharing Data to Support Decision Making ATCO Predictability and Awareness Improved By Active and Visual Flight Crew Guidance Aircraft Visual Guidance Docking System (A-VDGS)

Managing Airport Growth

6

Tom Cropper, Editor

Growth of Airports Solutions Environmental Considerations

Business Development Director Marie-Anne Brooks

The Next Generation of Technologies

Editor Tom Cropper

James Butler, Staff Writer

Senior Project Manager Steve Banks

Automated Docking Procedures

LED Lighting Comes of Age

Advertising Executives Michael McCarthy Abigail Coombes

Tower Solutions

Production Manager Paul Davies

The Drive to Improve Docking Procedures

For further information visit: www.globalbusinessmedia.org

8

Integrating New Technologies

10

Tom Cropper, Editor

Sticky Issues

The opinions and views expressed in the editorial content in this publication are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily represent the views of any organisation with which they may be associated.

Time is of the Essence

Material in advertisements and promotional features may be considered to represent the views of the advertisers and promoters. The views and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily express the views of the Publishers or the Editor. While every care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, neither the Publishers nor the Editor are responsible for such opinions and views or for any inaccuracies in the articles.

Jo Roth, Staff Writer

Overcoming Challenges

A New System for a Safer Future

12

A Busy Sky An Automated System The Challenge of Awareness

References 14 © 2015. The entire contents of this publication are protected by copyright. Full details are available from the Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner. WWW.AIRPORTTECHNOLOGYREPORTS.COM | 1


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS FOR IMPROVING MODERN AIRPORT OPERATIONS

Foreword A

LL OVER the world, airports have a challenge.

and where they are predicted to go in the future.

Passenger numbers are increasing

We’ll then examine some of the solutions using the

exponentially, but their own capacity for expansion

most up-to-date technology in airport operations. By

is capped by financial realities and environmental

improving management of gate, apron and air traffic

pressures. The only way to cope is to become

control operations, airports have an opportunity not

much more effective at processing customers.

only to improve their safety record, but also to make

As Fredrik Johansson, SafePerformance Product

the entire passenger experience much more positive.

Manager of Safegate Group explains in our first

Finally, we’ll cast our eye to the future. With skies

article, that is a challenge. Systemic inefficiencies

becoming crowded, a new, more automated system

represent a growing cause for concern, with major

of air traffic control is paving the way for real gains

hubs increasingly struggling to cope with the influx

which are improving safety, efficiency and profitability.

of passengers. That increases the chances of delays

Without a doubt, airport operators are facing

and also the risk of accident. According to him the

major challenges over the next 20 years. As so

main problem is the difficulty of different parts of an

often, technology holds the key, but successfully

airport’s operations communicating with one another.

incorporating new technologies will be no easy

The solution, he believes, is to bring in more integrated

task. Doing so successfully requires significant

operational support which enforces cooperation,

understanding and awareness of what’s available

sharing and communication in order to achieve a

and what it can do.

higher efficiency at the entire airport as a whole. In our second article, we’ll take a more in-depth look at the problem at hand. We’ll examine how passenger numbers have increased over the past few decades

Tom Cropper Editor

Tom Cropper has produced articles and reports on various aspects of global business over the past 15 years. He has also worked as a copywriter for some of the largest corporations in the world, including ING, KPMG and the World Wildlife Fund.

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS FOR IMPROVING MODERN AIRPORT OPERATIONS

One Airport – One Process: Viewing the Airport as a Whole to Maximize Efficiency Fredrik Johansson, SafePerformance – Product Manager, Safegate Group

Today’s Airports contain a complex network of stakeholders. Often these stakeholders have efficient management and communication strategies within their respective departments. However, inefficiencies that hamper productivity and performance can be created when these stakeholders interface with other departments and external organisations. If a holistic approach is to be implemented, a philosophy of One Airport – One Process needs to be adopted.

A

IRPORTS TODAY are a collection of immense infrastructure with a vast array of systems and products that must work and interact in order to keep the airport operating efficiently 24/7 all year around. One Airport – One Process is the concept of viewing the airport as a whole; as one operational entity with many parts which are all tied together by the aircraft movements, from arrival to departure. By looking at the one operational process which interacts with all parts of your airport, they need to be fully efficient as an individual and work together to achieve optimal efficiency as a whole. To meet the One Airport – One Process framework, synergies that achieve common performance-based objectives must be reached between the organisational structures, the procurement and ownership of systems services, and products. The relatively rapid growth and expansion of modern airports is increasingly leading to negative impacts on operational efficiency, lifecycle cost and environmental impacts that are extremely complex to resolve.

Mechanical Machine Efficiency Other industries are constantly looking to gain maximum efficiency from their assets with Mechanical Machine Efficiency (MME) or similar, where all elements such as systems, infrastructure, procedures and personnel are included. In an MME concept inefficiencies not just within individual components but also across the whole output machine, are measured, analysed and rated. Losses of efficiency (non-

optimized interfaces for example) are focused to bring the MME up to an industry standard or better. Adapting this MME approach, and accounting for less predictable factors such as humans, weather and safety aspects, to an airport environment could reveal a relatively low efficiency value. Most industries using MME as a measurement concept would consider current airport efficiency levels as concerning, particularly because there are many benefits to achieving high efficiency, particularly where it involves improved use of current off-the-shelf technology without necessarily the need for novel concepts in operations. Closing this efficiency gap could considerably decrease inefficient airport expenditure as money and resources are allocated to improving processes rather than on more costly infrastructure. Higher efficiency could also translate into operational throughput benefits at the airport. In order to achieve a higher efficiency (MME) and thereby achieve maximum throughput, thousands of data points are measured, logged and analysed. The results are used as input into the design and operation of each part of the machine in order to be as efficient as possible and, at the same time, be fully optimized with the rest of the machine. The MME production line model can be compared to responsibility areas within the airport. As an example, the gate operations need to be efficient within themselves, but also support other areas such as airfield and tower operations, to optimize the complete process.

One airport With world-leading airport solutions on one seamless platform connecting all parts of the airport, you are supported to handle more and safer aircraft movements.

Safegate Group Airport performance delivered, from approach to departure. www.safegate.com

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS FOR IMPROVING MODERN AIRPORT OPERATIONS

The relatively rapid growth and expansion of modern airports is increasingly leading to negative impacts on operational efficiency, lifecycle cost and environmental impacts that are extremely complex to resolve

Traditionally at airports today, each stakeholder is relatively optimized (high MME). But when looking at the total “production line” the MME is low due to inefficient interaction and interfacing between the airport “modules”. The reason for this can be found in isolated processes, systems and organisations. Optimizing your MME may sound like a challenge, but there are many quick wins to be gained by sharing data and information beyond its traditional borders. Being creative and thinking outside the box can be seen as an old and overused platitude, but it’s still very relevant when reaching for a higher level of performance at airports today. The overall objective of an airport is to safely achieve the highest possible throughput and, therefore, revenue. All systems and functions available at the airport are there to support safe operations with high throughput.

Sharing Data to Support Decision Making Many systems in place at today’s airports are capable of logging data and information about its operations. It is quite rare that this is done in a way where logged data/information can be utilized by an external department. They are most often operated within their traditional requirement and usage department where just a few stakeholders are addressed; hence the data is closed and beyond other stakeholders reach. Integration of systems and services, with a lateral functionality that crosses the airport technical and operational departments, would create a cross-department operational tool. This would enable the sharing of relevant data and display information that supports on-time operational decision making. This tool would also enhance situational awareness in real time and allow airport operational challenges to be analysed from a more holistic point of view. Holistic analysis can identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies, areas of safety concern and failures in the process, and alert stakeholders in advance when new resources need to be deployed or released. Initiatives that have already begun, such as Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM) and the European Preliminary Deployment Program (PDP) from SESAR, are addressing the fact that individual airport stakeholders and systems need to work together and that further integration is necessary. This integration covers cooperation and communication between people, systems and procedures where requirements, constraints and outputs are synchronised towards achieving a common set of objectives. The A-CDM initiative is a good example of integration, where the design manages to zoom out to look at the complete operational picture in the network and airports.

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It can be foreseen that more and more integration may increase the level of complexity from a system point of view. If integration is done in an incorrect or inefficient way, this may be directly reflected in the operational support given to the users, and may result in an increase in workload. Therefore, the user’s operational situation, including procedures, must be considered in the design phase. The system should be designed in a way where it automatically takes care of the tasks that don’t need to be managed by the controller. The following are examples of what has been described so far, and show that there are already existing systems that can be utilized to improve operational performance. These include the airfield lighting ILCMS (Individual Light Control & Monitoring System) and the A-VDGS (AdvancedVisual Docking Guidance System) at the gate. Both of which have great potential for being utilized for a higher level in the total operational concept at the airport. These systems are very common at airports worldwide and are available for integration with other operational systems.

ATCO Predictability and Awareness Improved By Active and Visual Flight Crew Guidance With the results from the recent SEAC Follow the Greens validation trial performed at Frankfurt Airport, we know that savings in taxiing times are considerable when airfield lighting is used to support navigation on the airfield. At many airports, simply operating pre-defined routes would generate significant savings compared to the non-standardized route assignment utilized today. Additionally, it is not unusual that radio frequency is a limiting factor in the apron area, during low-visibility and where other weather phenomena are present such as snow and freezing conditions, where de-icing is required. Airfield lighting is a mandatory system for all airports as part of their compliance to the requirements for Category I operations or higher. In addition to the traditional airfield lighting solutions, there are great benefits in incorporating ILCMS, as it would provide the ability to control and monitor each and every light and segment on the airfield. Traditionally, ILCMS has shown most benefits from a monitoring point of view, where it makes the maintenance significantly easier because the lights do not need to be manually inspected as frequently. This can be done from a fairly standalone system point of view, where the maintenance department can see the real time status of the airfield on a screen. When expanding the use of airfield lighting ILCMS to integrate into operational systems such as Electronic Flight Strips (E-Strip) and A-SMGCS (Advanced Surface Movement Guidance System),


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS FOR IMPROVING MODERN AIRPORT OPERATIONS

the airport can improve the use of individual systems as part of an airport wide operational concept. This integration can provide an active guidance tool for the pilot to follow, reducing (or eliminating) routing compliance errors and improving taxi efficiency. Integration also allows this to be achieved in a manner that reduces ATC workload and, moreover, is integrated into their existing workflows. This has shown great savings in terms of taxi time and fluency that is directly reflected in fuel burn, taxiway predictability and safety. A correct integration of the E-Strip function will help connect ATCO decision processes to the airfield lighting for efficient management of stop bars and taxiway centreline lightings. It will actively reduce the workload for the controller and, at the same time, ensure stop bars are being utilized more effectively, increasing runway safety.

Aircraft Visual Guidance Docking System (A-VDGS) A-VDGS is traditionally a system that actively provides guidance for flight crews and personnel on the ground in order to park the aircraft at the stand in the most efficient and safe manner possible. During the turnaround process, the display capabilities of the system are typically not used. However, airports are beginning to integrate the A-VGDS so it can be utilized for other functions, including as a message board (also known as RIDS, Ramp Information Display System) for milestone communication to flight crew and ground personnel within the A-CDM workflow. Another way to utilise the A-VGDS is as a data collection point. The strategic position of

the A-VDGS (i.e. in difficulty areas close to the terminal building) can be utilised to track the progress of the turnaround process. A-VDGS input to systems such as DMAN (Departure Management System) and E-Strip can be used in order to improve pre-departure sequencing and progress awareness for the ATCO and additional stakeholders, who may benefit from this information. These information sharing systems can improve on-time performance for departure flights and a reduce radio communication, which in turn reduces ATCO workload and enables better, more efficient practices. There are many advantages to opening up and sharing the operational value and benefits that already exist within the different departments at the airport. By simply looking at existing infrastructure and systems from another perspective, the potential operational performance may be revised and much needed Airport Traffic Expansion (ATX) can be achieved to support future traffic increases.

One process Increase your throughput by letting your airport work together as one unit – from approach to departure. Do more with what you already have.

Contact For more information contact: Fredrik Johansson SafePerformance – Product Manager Safegate Group Djurhagegatan 19, SE-213 76 Malmö, Sweden Phone: +46 (0)40 699 17 00 Email: market@safegate.com www.safegate.com

Safegate Group Airport performance delivered, from approach to departure. www.safegate.com

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS FOR IMPROVING MODERN AIRPORT OPERATIONS

Managing Airport Growth Tom Cropper, Editor

Airports are growing rapidly, but can they continue to operate effectively with increased traffic throughput?

Airport traffic has been doubling every 15 years since the seventies and most experts believe it will double again in the next 15

C

ORPORATE MANAGERS often speak of the ‘Peter principal’ – the idea that a person can rise and rise until they get to a point beyond their own areas of competence. It means that eventually, almost everyone in an operation is not quite cut out for their jobs. A similar situation exists with airports. For the past few years they have been expanding rapidly, but as they become bigger, their ability to handle traffic reduces. The results: longer waiting times, increased risk of accident and a poorer overall passenger experience. Reversing this trend is one of the primary tasks facing modern airports.

Growth of Airports Airport traffic has been doubling every 15 years since the seventies and most experts believe it will double again in the next 15. Numbers took a temporary hit after the 2008 recession, but all the indicators are that passengers have renewed their pre-recession love with foreign travel. According to the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority, 238 million passengers passed through UK airports in 2008, an increase of 4.4% on 20131. Passenger numbers have grown continually for the past four years. Globally, passenger numbers are also growing. An IATA passenger forecast suggested numbers could reach 7.3bn by 2034. Annually, that equates to a growth of 4.1%. Much of this growth comes from increased air travel from countries such as China. The figures suggested that China would overtake the US as being the biggest user of air travel in 2030. India, Indonesia and Brazil will also be among the five fastest growing markets.2 This growth presents a number of problems in terms of operation and safety. With so many new people coming into airports, it will be difficult for existing hubs to process traffic quickly and efficiently. Waiting times are already a sore point for passengers, and if IATA’s growth forecast is accurate, the situation is only going to get worse. Equally, processing that volume of air traffic safely is a major challenge. Simple problems such 6 | WWW.AIRPORTTECHNOLOGYREPORTS.COM

as misidentifying incoming aircraft types can lead to positioning accidents such as collisions with ground vehicles. Passenger accidents are also most likely to occur at the gate and ramp. Finding ways of smoothing their passage onto the aircraft is crucial if safety standards are to be maintained.

Solutions Airport operators have traditionally had a very blunt approach to handling this increase in air traffic: expansion. As the demand on their services grows, they build more terminals and runways. In London, Heathrow has already completed its much vaunted Terminal 5 building. The city’s other major airports are also looking to expand. Gatwick plans to build another runway and have instituted a major publicity campaign labelled ‘Gatwick Obviously’ designed to drum up support. The owners of Stansted have also been submitting plans for expansion including a so-called hub consisting of four runways.3 Other options for expansion have included extended runways at Heathrow and even the completion of a new London airport in the centre of the city. However, globally, airports are reaching the point where physical expansion is approaching its limits. Building a new terminal is a long and expensive process. Construction of Heathrow’s Terminal 5 took six years between 2002 and 2008. However, the planning process had been in progress for a further 10 years. Planning studies were first commissioned in 1988; inquiries and reviews took place throughout the 90s and it was not until 2001 that the government granted Heathrow planning permission for the Terminal. The eventual cost ran up to £4.5bn, and when it finally opened it was initially beset by severe problems and delays. In short, building new terminals and major hubs simply takes too long to adapt to changing circumstances.

Environmental Considerations Public and environmental pressure also inhibits expansion. Campaign groups have opposed airport expansion plans around the world.


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS FOR IMPROVING MODERN AIRPORT OPERATIONS

One partner With 40 years of experience from the world’s busiest airports, Safegate Group is your one contact point for a complete solution guaranteeing your airport performance.

Environmental regulations also make it difficult for airports to expand at the same time as keeping its commitment to reducing emissions. While London considers its plans for expansion, it also has to take into consideration that it has consistently failed to meet clean air targets. With expansion becoming less viable, the only solution is for operational changes to increase efficiency and safety within airports. Doing this means efficiency gains and also the introduction of more efficient and sophisticated technology to manage operations across the airport. Key to this is the emergence of new, more integrated, software applications. The big problem for operators is that much of the functionality within the entire airport is siloed away into different areas of operation. This leads to miscommunication between different departments which, in turn, lead to delays, accidents and an overall deterioration of passenger wellbeing. To combat this, innovative companies are coming up with a range of integrated software applications designed to improve the overall airport operation. However, implementing these brings another set of challenges. New technologies require the introduction of new

procedures to incorporate them. Equally, frontline staff will require additional training in managing and working with new systems. Most of all, airport operators will need to be comfortable that the solutions they adopt are up to the task. Any new technology brings with it a host of risks and costs. Purchasing and installing the system represent a significant upfront cost. If the system ends up being not appropriate it will waste time and money, while creating more problems than it solves. Operators, therefore, need to work closely with providers in developing new systems which deliver on their key operational requirements. Work will have to be invested into the planning phase to ensure as smooth a transition as possible. Any new development may have initial operational glitches during the early stages, but in airports where thousands of people are passing through every day, any glitches can lead to major delays for the passengers. As such, the solution requires much more than simply bringing in new technology; instead operators need to analyse accurately how that technology is performing and being incorporated into the overall operations of the airport.

Safegate Group Airport performance delivered, from approach to departure. www.safegate.com

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS FOR IMPROVING MODERN AIRPORT OPERATIONS

The Next Generation of Technologies James Butler, Staff Writer New technologies are helping to improve safety and efficiency throughout the airport.

A combination of factors is sparking a shift in the way modern airports are lit

T

HESE ARE good times for the aviation industry. After the economic crisis, passenger numbers are up and forecast to grow rapidly over the next couple of decades. However, all that good news comes at a price. The increase in traffic places considerable strain on infrastructure, while all airports must adhere to a list of new environmental requirements, together with a more demanding passenger and more competitive market. These pressures are spurring innovation across the aircraft journey from air traffic control, to landing and at the docking gate. In this article we’ll examine some of these innovations and how they are being incorporated into operations.

LED Lighting Comes of Age A combination of factors is sparking a shift in the way modern airports are lit. A need to control costs, cut carbon footprint, improve visibility and handle increasing traffic volumes has contributed to the rise of LED lighting systems. These first came into use approximately ten years ago as airports sought more energy efficient alternatives to traditional fluorescent light bulbs. Governments around the world introduced new legislation monitoring the energy efficiency of lights. The response from some airport operators was to start the move toward LED technology. As well as being significantly brighter than fluorescent counterparts, LEDs also consume a fraction of the power and are easier to install and maintain. This resulted in reduced installation and running costs, as well as contributing to minimising the airport’s carbon footprint. However, this technology has faced a battle for acceptance. Pilots regularly complained that systems were too bright and represented a safety hazard in themselves. A report earlier this year highlighted the pilot complaints that lights were dazzling, were unable to dim and caused problems on take-off and landing. In one report from 2006 a pilot wrote: “I feel there 8 | WWW.AIRPORTTECHNOLOGYREPORTS.COM

are [problems] with the new LED [taxiway] lights. In ATL, they are replacing the old incandescent lights with new LED lights. They are very bright, making it difficult to taxi. Please look into this as it is a big human-factors event waiting to happen.” 4 However, there are signs that this technology is beginning to mature and offer significant benefits. As well as lower installation and maintenance costs, it is offering greater flexibility providing intelligent systems which controllers are able to monitor and control. Airports around the world are switching to the systems, including Brisbane West Wellcamp which recently became the first fully LED lit airport in Australia.5

Automated Docking Procedures The gate and apron area is one of the most high risk areas of an airport, accounting for the majority of all accidents. Here, the trend over recent years has been towards greater automation and enhanced levels of data sharing – all of which can contribute greatly to increasing safety, efficiency and improving traffic flow. The growth of technology in this area began in the 1970s when airports began using Visual Docking Guidance Systems to improve safety at the gate. These used a combination of video technology and manual operation to guide pilots in and precisely position at the docking ramp. Mistakes here can be costly. Get it wrong and an accident can be highly likely, which is why investment is now being sunk into more automated systems to reduce the human-error factor. These use laser scanning technology to identify an approaching aircraft and provide guidance information to the pilots through an intuitive display. Ramp management technologies are also developing rapidly with a push towards greater levels of data sharing. By sharing real time information on ramp positioning, airports and airlines are able to make real efficiency savings and safety improvements in the docking process.


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS FOR IMPROVING MODERN AIRPORT OPERATIONS

One airport With world-leading airport solutions on one seamless platform connecting all parts of the airport, you are supported to handle more and safer aircraft movements.

Tower Solutions

Integrating New Technologies

From the moment autopilot technology was introduced on board airlines, approach management has been moving towards greater levels of automation. The demands on pilots and air traffic control staff are immense. Human error is a very real danger and when it happens the consequences have been catastrophic. At the same time there has always been considerable push back from pilots and staff against automation, largely because it takes control out of their hands and leaves them reliant on computers. When autopilot was first introduced, pilots were initially highly sceptical. However, it soon became an accepted part of life. Today, much of the approach work is managed on autopilot freeing up the pilot to concentrate on other things. Tower solutions are bringing yet more levels of automation into the process, as well as increasing the amount of information at the disposal of controllers. This allows them to efficiently plot the best route for any incoming or outgoing aircraft, and to have a more accurate overview of conditions on the ground. Not only can this improve safety, but the efficiency improvements achieved here contribute to lower fuel burn and operational costs.

As always with any of these new technologies, there is a major challenge with bringing them into the operation of the airports. To do this, operators need to work with clear objectives in mind: to improve safety, make efficiency gains and cut carbon footprint, fuel usage and emissions. In a world in which competition is tough and profit margins increasingly tight, planning ahead for installation is critical. Any excess costs here, or additional downtime, can have serious consequences for the financial performance of the airport. There is something of an unofficial arms race going on in development of new technology. The demands of modern aviation are driving the need for improvements, which creates a significant opportunity for developers of new, innovative, products. The result is that aviation trade shows become hotbeds of competition as companies strive to prove the worth of their new systems. Such is the level of information on display that operators can be forgiven for being overwhelmed. The secret, though, is to keep an eye on the end goal and consider how any new innovations can contribute towards achieving that end.

Safegate Group Airport performance delivered, from approach to departure. www.safegate.com

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS FOR IMPROVING MODERN AIRPORT OPERATIONS

The Drive to Improve Docking Procedures Tom Cropper, Editor Why reducing the amount of time aircraft remain on the ground is crucial to helping airlines and airports achieve their key goals.

Carbon footprint, noise pollution and impact on the surrounding countryside are all major issues for airports

T

HE APRON area at the airport represents one of the greatest logistical challenges facing airports. Congestion is growing and aircraft risk coming into contact with ground vehicles and individuals. Mistakes here can be fatal. Aside from the very real safety concerns, it’s a major issue for airlines and airports as they strive to maximise revenues. Time is money in the aviation industry and every minute spent on the ground represents time the aircraft is not bringing in revenue. Therefore, airport operators have a dual challenge. They must improve safety in one of the most congested areas of the airports, and they must reduce turnaround times in order to increase flight numbers.

Sticky Issues As the operators of major airports consider their strategies for the future, they have to balance a number of factors. • Increased passenger numbers: Passenger numbers are expected to boom over the next couple of decades. Capacity of major hubs is near peak, which means efficiency gains will be crucial. • Competition is growing: Today’s passenger is much more demanding and has more options. Most have a choice of different international hubs from which to make any journey, which means they can choose their airport based on 10 | WWW.AIRPORTTECHNOLOGYREPORTS.COM

which one they believe will provide the better experience. • Tighter regulatory oversight: Carbon footprint, noise pollution and impact on the surrounding countryside are all major issues for airports. Governments around the world have brought in tougher environmental targets. Meeting these represents a considerable challenge for operators of all sizes. At the same time as airports react to these developments, they are working with two overriding goals in mind: commerce, and safety.

Time is of the Essence Time has a critical value for airlines. The more flights they can operate in any day, the more revenue they will be able to generate. For the operators, increasing flight numbers enables them to remain competitive and cope with the expected increases in passenger numbers. Reducing the time spent in the apron area during turnaround can be critical. The more important overriding consideration, though, is safety. The gate area is the most high risk area of an airport – a place which aircraft, passengers and ground vehicles often come into contact. As well as reducing turnaround, and thereby increasing revenue performance, efficiency gains can make this a much safer environment to be in.


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS FOR IMPROVING MODERN AIRPORT OPERATIONS

One process A 2011 report into this issue highlighted a number of things airports could do including: • Improved tracking and data sharing. • Faster clearance through security of tools required for aircraft maintenance. • Early warnings about possible disruptions. • Automated tracking and management of safety equipment. • Better coordination and sequencing of access to aircraft which can alleviate congestion. Technology plays an important role in addressing all these issues. One of the leaders in this space is Safegate whose SafeDock system makes use of an advanced visual docking and guidance system (A-VDGS). This brings greater automation into the entire process, scans the apron for vehicles and other obstacles, issues warnings when needed, reduces the amount of people required to be in the area, verifies the position of the boarding bridge and guides the pilot into the correct position with intuitive signals. The system draws heavily on enhanced information to provide improvements. Their Software SafeControl allows for improved data sharing capabilities. The results of this system can be seen in a year-long study at an American Airport. Using the Safedock system, they achieved an average saving of 3 minutes 35 seconds compared to gates using purely manual methods. Using Safedock, pilots could park their planes before air crew arrived, docking bridges could be connected more quickly and luggage could be overloaded more rapidly. By logging all the data into one system the airport was able to increase the operational efficiency and analyse data to drive efficiency improvements. The cumulative effect of all this is to bring down docking times, reduce the risk of damage and improve turnaround times of the airport. Even so, adoption is far from uniform. Speaking to Airside International, John Parish, Vice President of Terminal Systems at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, described his frustration at why US airports continued to rely primarily

on manual docking procedures, rather than advanced automated solutions on offer. “Even some of our partner airlines in the US are reluctant to use the DFW system and I can’t for the life of me figure out why,” he explained. “This is such cool technology. For all docking systems, there has to be a manual fall-back. But, to wax philosophical for a moment, these days technology-enabled processes mean the human option should be the fall-back position, not the primary option. Docking systems automate the processes to make them better, faster and cheaper.”6

Increase your throughput by letting your airport work together as one unit – from approach to departure. Do more with what you already have.

Overcoming Challenges Like any new technology, inertia is a difficult issue to overcome. Operators can be set in their ways and if a system has produced adequate performance over time, they will be reluctant to change. However, the challenge for developers of these new technologies is to demonstrate that, while coping with today’s traffic might be one thing, all operators need to be ready for the challenges which come in the future. Those airports which are unable to adapt to risk are being left behind. Increased traffic brings a higher risk of delays, accidents and down time. It means airports will struggle to meet the capacity requirements of the future and will run into considerable operational issues such as delays, congestion and safety issues. The apron area represents only a small part of the process, but it is a very important one. Easing congestion here and expediting the turnaround process leads to incremental improvements throughout an airport’s operation. Customer satisfaction improves as they spend less time waiting for their planes to take off. Safety performance is better as fewer staff on the ground are placed in harm’s way. Moreover, operators have a chance of increasing the number of flights arriving and departing during the course of any single day. It all leads to a safer, more efficient and more profitable operation.

Safegate Group Airport performance delivered, from approach to departure. www.safegate.com

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS FOR IMPROVING MODERN AIRPORT OPERATIONS

A New System for a Safer Future Jo Roth, Staff Writer

Controlling aircraft in the air and on the ground is becoming more challenging. To combat this issue new technology is crucial to providing controllers with greater visibility and control.

As air traffic has increased over the years, measures to control it have been forced to become increasingly more sophisticated

O

UR SKIES are becoming crowded. Passenger numbers are up, airport capacity is expanding, which means more aircraft are coming in and out of major hubs than ever before. This creates a major challenge for air traffic controllers as they seek to manage these booming numbers. Getting it wrong could have catastrophic consequences for everyone. However, improving management of air traffic can play a crucial role in making sure airports meet the challenges of the next few decades. In doing this, a new generation of sophisticated, integrated and automated IT systems will be key.

A Busy Sky As air traffic has increased over the years, measures to control it have been forced to become increasingly more sophisticated. In the early years of aviation, pilots navigated by simply using the instruments in their cockpit and scanning for landmarks. However, as the commercial environment took off, the demands began to change. Aircraft were increasingly required to fly at night and traffic volumes grew rapidly. To help pilots, the job of air traffic controllers was introduced to control movements in the sky. However, as volumes continue to increase, the job of the ATC is becoming increasingly challenging. A report in 2011 said that mistakes by air traffic controllers on the ground were responsible for doubling the number of aircraft flying too close together7. At the same time, the number of incidents on the ground had also grown significantly. Although part of this increase has been attributed to better reporting, a number of other factors are at play, including over-crowding, fatigue of controllers and systemic failings. The report found that, despite the mistakes and near misses, no serious incidents had occurred 12 | WWW.AIRPORTTECHNOLOGYREPORTS.COM

that year. However, the consequences when things go wrong can be devastating. In 2000, a Singapore Airlines 747 collided with a bulldozer after steering onto the wrong runway. The jet had been taxiing in heavy rain when it accidentally steered onto a runway which was closed for repairs. 83 passengers were killed in the accident. A year later, miscommunication caused a collision between a business jet and an incoming passenger airliner. A Cessna Citation Business Jet had been given clearance to disembark on a route which would have avoided the main runway. However, the pilots misinterpreted the message and turned in the wrong direction taking it across the main runway and into the path of an incoming jet. In total 118 people were killed in the disaster. With traffic in and out of major airports becoming busier, the risk of such accidents is growing. The challenge is to introduce technology which reduces the risk of miscommunication, provides enhanced control of processes and includes alarms and warning systems to prevent accidents.

An Automated System The solution lies in Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control Systems (A-SMGCS). This is a more sophisticated surveillance system which enables aircraft to be tracked in the air and on the ground in all weather conditions. Compared with most existing options, this is a more automated system which allows movements to be viewed in one overriding system. The benefits include easier detection, fewer runway incursions and a lower risk of surface collisions. In short, it makes airports much safer and more efficient in their operations. The system comprises four steps: •L  evel 1: Improved surveillance levels covering the manoeuvring of ground vehicles and aircraft.


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•L  evel 2: Safety nets and alerts to protect runways. • Level 3: Detection of conflicts. This involves detection of any conflicts in the movement area and provides clearer guidance to controllers and pilots. •L  evel 4: Resolution: The final level involves the resolution of all conflicts and the planning and guidance for all pilots and controllers. Adoption of this new automated system is far from complete around the world, but major hubs are implementing – or are in the process of introducing – new advanced surveillance systems. Dubai Airport, for example, is currently in the process of introducing a new A-GSMCS system. They are building two new ground movement radars, upgrading existing radars and expanding their existing system. The operators of Dubai hope that the enhanced data provided by the system will give controllers improved situational awareness, allowing them to see the big picture, and manage traffic flows more effectively. The benefits of these systems go beyond mere safety. At Singapore Changi Airport, a new system promises to improve safety, efficiency and also improve performance from an environmental standpoint. It selects the most efficient route for in-bound and outbound traffic based on surveillance and flight plan data. Once a controller has approved a route it can

be activated either automatically by the system or at the signal of the operator. Warning information from the A-GSMCS can be displayed quickly in front of the controller. The more efficient system provides safer and improved traffic flow in all visibilities, while the more efficient routing system will reduce aircraft fuel burn resulting in reduced carbon emissions and financial savings for the airline.

The Challenge of Awareness The benefits are clear, but as with any new system of significant size, implementation requires time and planning. Operators need to plan new systems effectively and for that they require considerable input from the developers. Their know-how and expertise can be crucial in helping airports introduce systems which work for the specific requirements of their operation. In doing so, selection of operating partner is crucial, which is why all the innovators in this space are vying to gain the best reputation. A-SMGCS represents just one tool in the armoury of controllers. However, it is crucial in providing the efficiency and traffic flow improvements airports desperately need. Many have come to the end of the road in terms of what physical expansion can achieve. Their best option is more efficient and sophisticated traffic management systems to improve the operation of the airport.

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References: 1

P  assengers at UK airports increase for fourth year in a row: http://www.caa.co.uk/application.aspx?catid=14&pagetype=65&appid=7&mode=detail&nid=2447

2

New IATA passenger forecasts reveals fast growing markets of the future: http://www.iata.org/pressroom/pr/pages/2014-10-16-01.aspx

3

Stansted Airport Expansion Plans Revealed: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-23376899

4

Airports FAA adapting to LED push: http://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/aerospace/2015-01-15/airports-faa-adapting-led-lighting-push

5

First Fully lit LED system in Australia:

http://www.safegate.com/latest-news/safegate-partners-with-brisbane-west-wellcamp-airport-for-first-fully-led-lighting-airfield-system-in-australia 6

Cool Technology: http://airsideint.com/previous-issues/airside-spring-2014/cool-technologya

7

Air Traffic Control Errors and Runway Incidents soar: http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/10/14/report-air-traffic-control-errors-and-runway-incidents-soar/

14 | WWW.AIRPORTTECHNOLOGYREPORTS.COM


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Next Generation Integrated Solutions for Improving Modern Airport Operations – Safegate  

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Next Generation Integrated Solutions for Improving Modern Airport Operations – Safegate  

Airport Technology Report – Next Generation Integrated Solutions for Improving Modern Airport Operations – Safegate