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  • By Tony Waller
  • In Blog
  • Posted 05/05/2011

It’s good this month to see a paper from Andrew Beck of British Airways published in the Journal of Simulation.

I enjoyed reading not just about the details of a good case study but also Andrew’s reflections on how to apply simulation well and how it combined with other OR Techniques such as cluster analysis. The WITNESS model that they generated was for passenger flows at Terminal 5 in Heathrow airport. Anyone who uses Terminal 5 today will admit the passenger experience is extremely good and time spent waiting to be processed is minimal.

Lanner too has a wealth of experience in modelling airports for many customers around the globe. We are often involved in new terminal designs and layout optimisation and there has been a strong rise in the use of simulation to forecast required staffing levels, plan stand allocations and the use of ground vehicles. One of the largest models that I’ve seen is by Lanner consultants in France of the detailed baggage handling facilities at Paris (CDG) airport – several miles (air miles?) of conveyors. The benefits of using simulation for airport operations are great – witness the presentation by HRS at the Lanner user event last October. Their WITNESS model looked at passenger flows at John Lennon airport in Liverpool. In this model one SECOND less time spent by passengers being scanned at X-Ray meant 22 seconds less overall queuing time. More time for retail activity with a predicted extra revenue of over £200,000 per year!

The paper by Andrew Beck is published in the May 2011 edition of the Journal of Simulation published by Palgrave Macmillan and is available for a fee online here.

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