Departure board

London Heathrow Buggy Ops

The Challenge

When AiQ Consulting was asked to provide a simulation of every terminal at Heathrow with the objective to determine how many premium buggies could operate within the terminals at any given time, we saw an opportunity to expand on this request. By creating a tool that would allow us to determine passenger numbers at any location within a terminal at any time of the day, we could inform airports of passenger flow and demographics.

This could then, in turn, inform placement of retail sites throughout terminals in any airport. The correct, and therefore most profitable, placement of retail or Food & Beverage (F&B) outlets within a terminal is a challenge faced by airports worldwide. By determining not only passengers numbers but also their demographic, airports can use this information to inform locations of retail sites, provide the best experience for passengers and get the most profit from their tenants.

The Solution

Our simulation model breaks down the floor area of terminals, both Arrivals and Departures, to determine how many people are in the terminal at any given time. Using schedules and behavioural modeling, we then get a true idea of when each passenger would be arriving, checking in, eating, browsing the shops, visiting the toilet or simply sitting and waiting. These aspects all affect space and resources in different areas at different times. Demographics and practicalities also affect the model, such as the use of Executive Lounges, long haul versus short haul flights, and so on.

By breaking down the terminal and determining the routes that each individual passenger takes we are able to know the percentage of passengers doing any activity at any part of the terminal at any given time of day.

The Benefit

Knowing the whereabouts of passengers by demographic at any time is of great benefit to retailers and the airport. Whether you are Tiffanys or WH Smiths, you have a sound idea of your target market, so to be able to pin down the location of your store to the optimum flow of passengers within that demographic is a big bonus to sales and profits.

Our tool can determine the locations and demographics of passengers in any terminal. It is this knowledge that can also inform airports about how and where to place retail concessions, store baggage trollies, and transport passengers using Premium or PRM buggies in the most efficient way. For retail and food in particular, the most effective placement of stores can raise footfall, increase sales, and therefore boost the revenue paid to the airport owner.

  • Resource utilisation increased
  • Improved passenger customer service and airport experience
  • Improved airport profits
  • Improved passenger flow
  • Integrated technology