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News

Simulation program to speed up traffic at airports


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National Aerospace Laboratory NLR
: 10 April, 2008  (New Product)
The National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR) recently purchased the airport simulation program Enterprise Dynamics / SAMANTA for research of airport processes and airport operations. The research aims to increase airport capacity with the current infrastructure and to optimise the flows of aircraft, passengers and baggage at airports.
One example of improvements being researched is the punctuality of the passenger process, especially the on-time boarding of passengers. Many passengers make a quick visit to a duty-free shop and consequently arrive late at the gate. Missing passengers are among the top three reasons for late departures. Airports are therefore looking for ways to get passengers to the gate on time.

SAMANTA will allow the NLR to obtain better insight into passenger behaviour at airports. This simulation program allows researchers to simulate passenger and baggage flows at airports, and to determine how to more efficiently position aircraft at the gate, taking into account the size of the aircraft, the timetable, and the place of origin and destination. Obviously, an aircraft destined for Surinam will need a gate with more facilities than an aircraft destined for another Schengen country.
The layout of a simulated airport can be adjusted as in a Lego block system. This enables researchers to determine the number of check-ins, for example, and to enter the expected waiting times due to congestion, taking into account the summer or winter season.

The NLR intends to use SAMANTA to develop innovative methods for handling aircraft at the gate as efficiently as possible and for expediting passenger flows. As regards the latter, the NLR is contemplating a system where passengers receive a (credit card-size) box that provides them with current travel information, the required check-in time and the least busy check-in counter. “This will allow airports to better plan passenger and baggage flows. This personal approach will provide comfort for passengers,” says an NLR spokesperson. Passengers at risk of arriving late can be traced more easily and, if necessary, collected and accompanied to their aircraft. The question is: who will be eligible to receive such a box, and when? Business travellers, tourists, or both? This issue will be worked out in different models. Simulations should provide insight as to which model would be the most effective and efficient.

The NLR eventually intends to use the airport simulator as a tool to advise foreign airports on the most efficient methods for handling aircraft, passengers and baggage flows.
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