Bristol Airport

NATS in collaboration with AiQ Consulting

NATS and AiQ Consulting have been fostering ever-closer integration over the last two years to explore developing the synergies between the focus of our two teams and creating solutions and recommendations that drive growth and deliver Return on Investment.

Our project at Bristol Airport was the first opportunity to present this integrated solution approach, working Kerbside to Airspace for End to End Airport Capacity Planning. The Bristol Airport Terminal Capacity Assessment was a highly successful collaboration, delivering a six-month joint project in time, cost and exceeding the client’s expectations.

The Challenge for Bristol Airport

Bristol Airport is the ninth busiest airport in the UK, currently serving the needs of 8.1 million passengers per annum. The airport sought to verify their current investment options to deliver significant passenger increases to 12 MPPA (million passengers per annum), with a view to enhance passenger experience whilst delivering better returns on ancillary revenue.

NATS and AiQ were tasked to verify the data assumptions from current operations and the impact on growth from 8.1m to 12m. We were challenged to provide recommendations on where the airport should best invest for growth, providing key actions and quick wins in three scenarios, as well as giving our analysis on more efficient Return on Investment (ROI) and the performance management of the airport.

The Solution

Using data from Summer 2018 as baseline, the interoperability between AiQ and NATS occurred at the stands. AiQ delivered the analysis from kerbside to the gate, looking at people, bags and Ground Service Equipment (GSE). NATS, with their deep knowledge of aircraft movement, scheduling, and queuing in the air, analysed the aircraft movements from the gate into airspace (and back to the stand).

A customer focused approach for Airport Capacity Planning

By integrating our data we were able to provide the client with a single set of results covering the airport holistically, seamlessly covering the full range of movement a passenger makes from the movement they arrive at the airport to their flights, and the corresponding processes for immigration and arrivals.

From the baseline, we were then able to give recommendations for actions that would enable Bristol Airport to increase operations. The client was extremely satisfied with the output, which enabled them to be confident of current plans and growth, with full utilization of current and future plans. In their words, they felt able to ‘sleep at night’ knowing that then plans they had put in place were right.

3D Airport Simulation and Virtual Reality

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Read NATS case study here 

The Benefits

The inter-operability provided by NATS and AiQ Consulting provided a ‘one-stop-shop’ for the client. We were able to provide stakeholder engagement at every step, create a single point of data truth, and manage all the data, processes and procedures jointly, looking at the entirety of the customer journey.

We were able to verify plans for investors before any investment took place, as well as give a true and accurate reflection of each scenario given the infrastructure. This validation took account of what would happen if the investment was not made, including when and where the infrastructure would break.

As well as giving the best sequence of infrastructure investments to achieve timely capacity growth, we were also able to suggest changes to improve revenue. For example, our review of the departure lounge as part of the holistic approach provided opportunities to improve revenue by offering paid-for seating (cafes and restaurants), rather than the current free seating. These recommendations, ‘quick wins and small changes, perhaps insignificant on their own, add up to make a big difference in an airport.

Bristol Airport benefited by using two trusted and knowledgeable experts in airports and aviation. The different focus of the two teams also brought a more diverse view of innovation to the table, strong advantage to such a forward thinking airport.

What the client says

“To support our ambitious expansion plans, we instructed NATS and AiQ Consulting to assess the current and future capacity of the whole Bristol Airport operation, focusing on the experience from our passengers’ perspective. The result was an independent report that helped to validate our investment plans and identified some immediate opportunities for us to improve, and ensuring the safe and efficient growth of the operation.

“Thanks to the report we are satisfied that the airport’s growth targets are on track and are equipped to work on the areas that really need it. Working with an experienced third party has enabled us to affirm our future investment decisions. The collaboration between NATS and AIQ Consulting provided us with a integrated airside and landside view of our airport, highlighting the strong connections between the different areas of airport operations.”

“We are delighted with the work NATS and AiQ have undertaken and look forward to working with them on more projects in the future.”

Andrew Goodenough – Development Director,  Bristol Airport


What Next?

Bristol Airport is a forward thinking and innovative client, eager to push the boundaries of their expansion programme and validate their existing plans in order to reduce risk, satisfy investors and please passengers.

NATS and AiQ Consulting continue to work with them, looking efficiencies they could make in future with smart airport options and state of the art technology, a key issue for their stakeholders.