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Advanced Forecasting System for Proactive Airport Passenger Flow Management

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - AERFOR (Advanced Forecasting System for Proactive Airport Passenger Flow Management)

Reporting period: 2017-11-01 to 2019-01-31

Airports, especially in Europe, are facing a common problem of increasing passenger numbers versus limited space and capacity. In the long term, new infrastructure must be built to cover this demand. Until a new building is up and running, which takes years, the existing capacity should be used as efficiently as possible. This requires smart and innovative approaches to enhance productivity to the highest possible levels.

Therefore, Amorph Systems has developed an innovative software product called which provides airport operators with continuous, accurate, near-term forecasts of passenger flows and an ability to simulate operational impacts.

During the project, the system has been deployed at the airports of Frankfurt, Helsinki, Nantes, Stuttgart and Zürich for verifying the utility of short-term capacity prediction. The potential for the concept is however much greater, offering advanced abilities to proactively control and optimize passenger flows over longer planning horizons (midterm planning from days to weeks, seasonal planning from 1 month to 1 year and strategic planning from years to decades).

Within the AERFOR project, was further developed into an innovative standard software solution, with enhanced planning, as well as real-time forecasting capacity, for commercial introduction into the European and international market.

The project results provide a disruptive passenger flow optimization solution to the European air transport industry, which significantly and durably improve airport profitability. Capacity optimization leads to more efficient (continuous) passenger flows and brings reduced operating costs, higher security, reduced energy consumption and better customer service. The resulting capacity increase delays or defers the need for new investments in airport infrastructure. All of these aspects enhance Europe’s leadership in efficient and sustainable air transportation.

Furthermore, airports are key drivers of the economic health of regions. More efficient passenger flows enhance the economic performance of the airport, and by reaction the economic performance of the airport ecosystem where many SMEs are represented. The technology developed in the project gives rise to a new generation of high-tech SMEs focusing on transport capacity optimization and could be transferred in other industries.
There are three main objectives that have been performed within the AERFOR project:

Objective 1: Adapt and improve solution based on the initial proof-of-concept feedback and commercial trial results
Objective 2: Validate the practical value of in trials involving early adopter airports
Objective 3: Develop best practices, guidelines and methodologies supporting the deployment of AERFOR, and encourage widespread adoption of the project results in the airport industry

In order to achieve these goals, a large number of tasks were defined within different work packages in the Grant Agreement. During the 2nd reporting period, the work was performed according to the work plans.

Regarding objective 1: several additional core features were implemented for the solution and 2 trial deployments at airports Nantes and Stuttgart took place. The overall product implementation and framework was refined. Also, the interoperability was improved by implementing SaaS functionalities.

To reach objective 2, within the 2nd period of the project two more commercial trials were prepared and performed at the airports of Nantes and Stuttgart. Extensive internal tests of the modules were performed for quality assurance of product releases 2 and 3. Thereby, the practical value of has been validated and further optimizations of defined KPIs have been achieved.

To fulfil the objective 3 a variety of communications and dissemination measures have been implemented in the 2nd period, e.g. the establishment of a user group, further intensification of communication via Social Media, publications, extensions and refinement of website, participation in standardization committees (ACI), participation in a trade fair and conferences. Again, several workshops with potential customers took place. An IPR strategy was set up, a trademark was registered and a patent application is under processing. A lot of scaling-up activities were carried out. As well, a Commercial Trial Package Rollout Process was developed. This way, we encouraged the widespread adoption of the project results which was also confirmed in many customer workshops which were performed as part of the scaling-up activities.
1. Current airport planning system still rely on static, reactive approaches.
Current solutions linking automated measurement systems with workflows and other corrective measures for operations remain low-tech. Very few airports have a better solution than simple manual data fusion (i.e. processing various input data into a spreadsheet used support resource and priority decisions during daily meetings between stakeholders). This process is resource- intensive (expensive), and lacks sufficient accuracy or adaptability to unforeseen circumstances.
The reason for this is that powerful forecasting methods and algorithms, and sufficiently fast computing systems to allow them to operate effectively, have only been available at affordable prices in the past 2-3 years. The problem is therefore well-known, but the solutions to solve it in a cost-effective manner are new and relatively untried.

2. The product introduces a novel operation forecasting engine.
Now, after finishing the project and once having completed developing the product, we can confirm that the extraordinary about is, that it combines advanced algorithms and approaches such as agent-based simulation, discrete event simulation, genetic algorithms, linear programming, regression modelling, decision tree modelling, statistics and probabilistic distributions, and multi scenario analysis, in a time-efficient way.

3. introduces new big-data analytics collaborative decision-making platform. – has been implemented with a set of applications focusing on real-time and short-term operations and forecasting. The software synthesises real-time measurement data available through varying data sources with a customized model of the airport and its processes to give an accurate real-time view of the current operational status using a configurable customer interface (dashboard).

With regard to impact the target is to place as a unique product, which is what we have done through the communication and dissemination developed so far, addressing the entire spectrum of passenger flow operational management and planning for airports. The product enables large passenger capacity optimization improvements from real-time operations to long-term planning, improves passenger throughput, reduces operating costs, reduces delays and missed connections, reduces or defers infrastructure investment, improves the passenger experience, and boosts retail revenue.

Societal benefits of are to reach more efficient airports, that will also have a lower carbon footprint (via improved hub operations) and provide higher security and safety for travelers (via real-time passenger flow monitoring).
Meeting of USER GROUP at Amorph facilities, Stuttgart on 18/09/2018 for WP4 Community B
AERFOR project’s Presentation Slide, especially for CUSTOMER AND PARTNER WORRKSHOPS WP4 Community Bu
AERFOR project’s roll-up presented, among other events, at Passenger Terminal Expos (PTE) / External
Product flyer presented, among other events, at Passenger Terminal Expo and ACI conferences for WP4
Meeting of AERFOR External Advisory Board in Munich on 28-29/09/2017 for WP4 Community Building, P