What are constrained and saturated airports, and how can you increase airport capacity?

Airport Capacity

Constrained and saturated airports are becoming increasingly common. Rising demand for air travel, larger aircraft, as well as restrictions for airport building and a lack of available space can create complex airport capacity challenges.

Adrian Todd, CEO of AiQ Consulting explains the challenges facing constrained and saturated airports worldwide and how AiQ helps airports realise their capacity. …Continue reading…

Effective Asset Replacement for Airports

Asset replacement is an essential and continuous task for airports to remain secure and efficient. Hold Baggage Screening (HBS) replacement has been driven by new security standards with ECAC Standard 3 requiring much of the existing screening equipment to be replaced. An increase in demand for Early Bags Storage (EBS) may force the requirement to upgrade for increased efficiency and capacity. Whilst adopting new technologies for check-in and baggage systems have created the need to replace older equipment and updated processes. …Continue reading…

CUTE and CUSS – How does Common Use Equipment Give Airport Operators More Flexibility?

CUTE (Common Use Terminal  Equipment) and CUSS (Common Use Self Service) are priorities for the aviation industry, as airlines and airports invest in sharing assets that create more efficiencies for passengers and operators alike. What exactly are CUTE and CUSS, and how can they create efficiencies?

What are CUTE and CUSS? …Continue reading…

Meet the Simulation Team – Ian MacKinnon

Ian MacKinnon, Technical Director, was part of the founding team of AiQ Consulting, using his unique skills of project management, computer aided design and data analysis, as well as his game design background, to create TransvisionAiR™ our bespoke modeling tool. In this Meet the Team blog we find out more about what projects he’s found challenging, his background and what the future holds for the company.

What was your background before joining AiQ? …Continue reading…

How can you increase airport capacity through efficient use of existing infrastructure and resources?

We have been working with airports for many years increasing capacity using the airport’s existing infrastructure and resources. Making small changes to layout or queue management or working patterns can have a large impact on the overall system. So often ‘working the asset’ more efficiently can delay the need to upgrade it or replace it. This is a more cost effective and lower risk approach to increasing airport capacity.

Airport Demand Forecasting and Management

The rise of self-service check in and baggage handling technologies has changed the rhythms of an airport. Demand forecasting and management is therefore crucial to efficient use of capacity. Working closely with airports to better understand their existing and potential capacity, spreading demand peaks and supporting their decision-making.

Airport demand forecasting is a key AiQ service. We have developed software tools to generate and forecast future annual and peak hour traffic for airports, using regression analysis, a more accurate and realistic method than trend forecasts. It predicts traffic using additional variables that could influence statistics, such as GDP, exchange rate, fuel price, unemployment figures, and much more. It tells us which variables affect the traffic and how, in a much more robust, holistic approach. We can then efficiently use and apply this scientific methodology, creating scenario forecasting models that make future airports aware of change and able to adapt to it.

Airport Capacity Planning

Our approach to airport capacity planning is based on IATA standards, to provide optimum passenger experience. Our updated IATA Tool is a development of our existing IATA software using the new LoS requirements with sections covering processes from check-in desks and security lanes to emigration. Using IATA standards, we believe our clients can not only understand how their future airport will comply with the guidance, but it also allows us to highlight capacity and operational efficiency improvements.

We can tell airports the optimum space required per passenger at all processes and optimum waiting time per passenger at each process, a valuable device in order to understand how their airport is working and what can be done to improve it, whilst retaining existing infrastructure and resources.

Modelling Simulations

Mathematical modelling and simulations can be a massive advantage to airports wishing to increase capacity whilst using existing infrastructure and resources. Through our bespoke modelling tool, TransvisionAiR™, our AiQ team uses modelling and simulations to find out, for example, how large airport check in areas should be, whether passengers are travelling through departures in an acceptable amount of time, and if arrivals procedures are up to scratch.

The flow of passengers is critical to the success of an airport. This flow interconnects with airport operational efficiency and management, and therefore realising capacity. We use typical human behaviour in all passengers for our simulations to focus on how passengers are moving realistically through the airport. This allows us to understand how they move and therefore how to improve both their experience and the use of airport capacity.

Crucially we have a range of methods to report the results. Every project has a different treatment. The simulation output may be a simple pivot graph in a spreadsheet, a minimal 2D model or a fully realised Virtual Reality 3D simulation. The scale of the model is dependent on the scale of the decision to be made.

Understanding the options allows better management decisions, better cost benefit analysis and it reduces risk, keeping the stakeholders engaged.


Using operational and technological innovations also has its part to play in improving airport capacity. Airports are investing more and more into new technologies that enhance and improve the passenger journey, and for good reason. Not only can these new technologies increase efficiency, but passengers also have now come to expect these types of technology in their daily lives. For example, the introduction of bio metric security can reduce congestion and improve passenger flow whilst self service bag drop and early bag stores allow passengers more flexibility about when and where they check in.

We invest in both our knowledge and application of these new technologies, including Autonomous Electric Vehicles, Self Service check-in, Robotic Baggage Build, Self Service Bag Drop & Early Bag Stores and more, in order to understand the implications for airport capacity for the installation and use of such new innovations throughout airports.

If you wish to increase airport capacity through efficient use of existing airport infrastructure and resources, take a look at our case studies to find out more about our approach, or contact us today to talk about our services.

Does Your Airport Comply with Hold Baggage Screening Standard 3?

Time is running out for airports to comply with Hold Baggage Screening Standard 3, which comes into force September this year in the United Kingdom. In Europe the deadline for compliance is September 2020.

The EU regulation No. 1087/2011 calls for compliance to the framework, defined and regulated by the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC), that sets the minimum required levels of detection. ECAC Standard 3 level of Hold Baggage Screening applies to hold baggage screening systems (HBS) explosive detection systems (EDS), liquid explosive detection systems (LEDS) and security scanners. It requires airports to achieve detection levels only provided by CAT (Computed Axial Tomography) type detectors.

The upgrades to hold baggage screening equipment are seen to be most difficult and costly challenges to be faced by airports in recent years. This equipment is not only expensive, but also large, adding increased stress on existing airport capacity. It may mean a complete re-build of baggage halls and facilities for many airports.

How can you upgrade to ECAC Standard 3 without a negative impact on your airport? …Continue reading…

How can you improve your Baggage Handling Process?

Baggage Handling Systems (BHS) present a multitude of challenges to airports and their stakeholders. Whether you are a hub airport or not, the impact on baggage flow and passenger experience means that challenges in BHS must be tackled to maximise efficiency and capacity.

Increasing passenger numbers, as well as the passenger’s desire for greater control around baggage and check-in services also means a rise in self-service solutions, such as kiosks and bag-drops, now sitting alongside existing systems. As well as increasing capacity in-line with demand and offering passengers a better experience, they also provide challenges and opportunities for Baggage Handling Systems.

What is a Baggage Handling Process?

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Passenger Experience – Why is it Important for Airports?

With record-breaking passenger numbers moving through airports and high expectations from today’s passengers, their journey experience is a very important development area for AiQ Consulting’s work with airports throughout the world.

As global experts in constrained and saturated airports, we place immense focus on passenger experience in airports. When we approach operational efficiency and capacity planning, we do so with not only a scientific approach to big data and innovation, but also a strong emphasis on the passenger journey.

IATA Standards

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Support The AiQ Consulting Team at the Vitality London 10,000!

A group of runners from AiQ Consulting are running the Vitality 10,000 in aid of Bliss – the charity for babies born premature or sick.

Our runners – Marina, Rachel, Matt, Nicola and Olivia – are looking forward to raising funds for this worthwhile charity. It may be a new challenge to some of the team who haven’t run a 10k before, but for our experienced runners it will be a chance to raise money for Bliss, and take in the London sights in a very different way!

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Our approach to Big Data and what it means for your airport

AiQ - Airport Consultancy

AiQ finds the most effective methodology to solve problems in the quick-moving and reactive Aviation industry, particularly around Operations, Resilience, Future Demand and Capacity. We model or simulate at the level of detail that Big Data can support, and aim to provide appropriate analysis and forecasts based on realistic assumptions and processes.

Our method

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Real Time VR successfully tested at AiQ

AiQ VR Testing

AiQ are global experts in creating capacity and operational efficiency, solving complex problems and introducing new technologies. We have currently been developing Real Time Virtual Reality to offer significant benefits to clients and stakeholders, taking the decision-making process to the next level.

We will soon be able to offer clients the ability to become a passenger and follow the check-in processes, using the self-service kiosk and bag drop system as it is proposed to be!

As specialists in constrained and saturated airports worldwide, this innovation will allow the airports we work with to not only understand the impact of decisions and new technology, but also to communicate this with their stakeholders, staff and suppliers with ease.

The ability of the tool to engage the user as a passenger helps them understand the efficiency of the layout and way finding, enhancing passenger flow. It also gives clients the opportunity to understand the spatial offering to passengers for new airports and terminals in concept development, as well as other areas of infrastructure development in existing airports.

Last week the AiQ team were able to walk around a simulation of Terminal 3 Heathrow, based on future self-service check-in arrangements with passengers from a busy day in summer 2017. This test was a simulation based on a recent project we have completed for Heathrow.

The next step is for our clients to be immersed into the Real Time outcomes of decisions regarding their new investments in check-in, baggage and processes throughout their terminals, as if they themselves were the passenger.

If you want to innovate your future airport, AiQ can help you understand different approaches with the use of this innovative technology. Contact us today to talk about the impact of Real Time VR on your airport.