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Cloud-based Airport Operations Planning tool with holistic forecasting of airport allocation planning.

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - BA-AC (Cloud-based Airport Operations Planning tool with holistic forecasting of airport allocation planning.)

Reporting period: 2020-10-01 to 2021-09-30

The aviation industry is under an immense pressure. Before the COVID-19 crisis, it was expected that the demand in traffic would increase with 15% by 2025, with 40% of EU airports not meeting this demand due to capacity constraints. The crisis has changed the industry and it is currently rebounding from the crisis. This is imposing new and unexpected challenges on airports and means that uncertainty is larger than ever before and month-on-month growth is unprecedented. Now more than ever, airport operations must plan efficiently and effectively to cope with the ever-changing volatility in passenger traffic. Although total air traffic numbers are lower than before COVID-19 in most of the world, we see indications that peak-time traffic is returning relatively faster than off-peak traffic. Airports will face challenges of varying intensity: for example, whereas physical distancing poses limited issues while traffic is very low, it will increasingly complicate operations as more passengers crowd the terminals. Because of this it is expected that airports will run into the need for improved optimization of existing capacity and infrastructure.

Despite the corona crisis, airport operators are left with two options to achieve future growth: either investing in expanding the airport in size or optimizing the utilization of existing resources to increase efficiency. Given this crisis's size, we expect that CAPEX investments will be lower in the years to come, prioritizing investment in optimizing current infrastructure. New EU initiatives are also pushing airport operators to adopt data-driven solutions, as current systems have minimal ability to share and apply operational planning information across stakeholders. As a result, airport operators need a solution that combines all airport operational aspects into a holistic overview.

Better Airport® is the first cloud-based, holistic, next-generation RMS solution, providing airport operators with an AI-driven, easy-to-use solution which efficiently and effectively creates optimized operational plans, enabling informed decision making across airport stakeholders. Using advanced mathematical models and based on years of consultancy within airport operations, Better Airport® covers the entire value chain, from passenger check-in, security, and border control to baggage handling and aircraft allocation. Our cloud-based approach allows all stakeholders to access information wherever, whenever, increasing efficiency across operations and ultimately saving airports at least €10m/year, while also driving the EU goal of a Single European Sky. Better Airport® will allow airport operators to forecast, plan, and interact with airports in between, connecting all airports with one system.

The BA-AC project built upon upscaling our validated prototype. Most of our efforts were focused on technology maturation, piloting, and market maturation, specifically on the maturation and integration of Better Aircraft, into Better Airport®, and performing large-scale piloting at three major airports, advancing our current prototype from TRL7 to TRL 9.
Since we started working on the BA-AC project, Better Stand & Gate has matured significantly and entered its testing phase period before becoming the final piece completing our Better Airport® software package. The product interface and the AI algorithm have been successfully implemented and integrated into our Better Airport software. Furthermore, the product has been refined during the pilot phase where we received positive feedback from our pilot airports. We consistently implement the feedback received allowing us to advance our current prototype from TRL7 to TRL9. By the end of summer 2021, Better Stand & Gate had received enough maturation to become a key component of Better Airport, reaching commercialization. The success of the pilot is also reflected in the fact that licenses of Better Stand & Gate have already been sold in 2021 with more prospects to come in future years.

Despite COVID-19, both our development and sales teams have progressed with their respective agendas developing and maturing Better Airport, adapting to the new market trends, and searching for new leads and opportunities to increase our product sales and expand our business globally. Furthermore, we have maintained our client base in addition to adding new airports to our Better Airport partner base. We are proud to say that more than 500 million passengers per anno go through airports planned in Better Airport® during normal traffic levels (pre-COVID).

To conclude, even though the airport industry is facing one of their most significant crises in history, the team at Copenhagen Optimization has been able to adapt to the challenges and continue to help airports around the globe. We are on the way to delivering a new and innovative product to the industry. The product Better Airport® has already proven itself valuable in managing volatile airport management as seen during the pandemic. We continue to support and enhance airport operations worldwide as thought leaders and solution providers to the industry.
Better Airport® is a market-creating innovation by being the first holistic next-generation RMS, providing airport operators with an AI-driven, easy-to-use solution that efficiently and effectively creates optimized operational plans enabling informed decision making across airport stakeholders.

Ultimately, as more and more airports implement integrated RMS, Better Airport® will lead the way for interconnectivity between airports, allowing further transparency and collaboration airports in between, not only enriching airport operational management and strategy, but also in the end, heightening the experience for passengers. With Better Airport®, airports will obtain a solution that enables decision making at both the operational, tactical, and strategic levels, which will lead to a more efficient daily operation and ensure that the airport can cope with future growth.

Better Airport® can support optimal operations planning also in a COVID-19 context as it integrates seamlessly with airport systems to create operational plans for the entire airport operation. This secures situational awareness and proactive planning and during COVID-19 this has meant that airports such as London Heathrow, Copenhagen, Stansted, Singapore Changi, and many more have been able to create optimized check-in counters opening plans that reflect counters unavailable due to physical distancing, balance allocation of flights, and bags to baggage reclaim belts to distribute passengers across the available area and avoid formation of crowds and queues.

With a total market of 575 airports, we expect 5 years post project, to reach a market share of 17.7%, totaling 102 client airports, an annual recurring revenue of €10m, creating 20 new full-time employee positions.
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