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  • By Tony Waller
  • In Blog
  • Posted 12/04/2017

Recently, I was in Spain visiting a WITNESS Simulation customer in the air travel industry and got to thinking what a perfect industry to benefit from Smart Operations using Simulation. Airports offer a lot of different simulation modelling opportunities due to the complex nature and time criticality of the operations. Options include plane schedules/stand occupancy, refuelling, catering, baggage handling, taxiing, check-in, security, retail, customs/immigration, parking, shuttles, the list goes on.

It’s an industry that I am certain will benefit from the move to digital twin simulation models, enabling better, more effective responses to emerging situations. The huge range of options need not all be included in a single model, in fact this is probably undesirable due to operational complexity and the efficiency to be obtained from models offering a streamlined scope for particular purpose.


Imagine a model of plane schedules and stand occupancy (example picture of a 2D/3D WITNESS simulation model above) that is kept up to date regularly – and automatically from on-line systems. The model can re-evaluate performance against schedule based on current information - the changing predicted weather, today’s actual staffing, current queues and other facility status and performance! A regular beat to re-planning using a live, updated model fed by the latest information.

Simulation modelling is heading in this direction as the technique undoubtedly offers better evaluation and hence better information on which to base decisions. Truly exciting is the fact that some of these decisions can and will increasingly be made automatically using Artificial Intelligence. As in other industries the era of Smart Airports is dawning.

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