Capacity management at Heathrow

Capacity management at Heathrow

04 March 2014

NATS, the UK’s leading provider of air traffic services, together with partners Siemens Postal, Parcel and Airport Logistics, McLaren Applied Technologies and AVTECH Sweden AB, have won a capacity management contract with Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL), which is to run for four years.

The contract will deliver an enhanced capacity analysis capability, which will allow Heathrow Airport to rapidly assess proposed changes to the airport infrastructure. This will improve the schedule planning process; assist in making the airport more efficient; and help Heathrow deliver its operating schedule to plan.

The airport will have access to a set of enhanced capacity analysis tools, specifically configured to Heathrow and the unique challenges it faces, via a web-based portal. This will allow the airport planning and operations teams to assess the impact of various factors on performance, such as taxiway closures, apron restrictions, stand closure and reallocation, and air traffic control/ground movement procedures. Other problems such as schedule delays and weather conditions can also be incorporated.

Fergus Cusden, Head of NATS Consultancy and Derek Provan, Director of Airside Operations, HAL formalise the contract

Fergus Cusden, Head of NATS Consultancy and Derek Provan, Director of Airside Operations, HAL formalise the contract

This is the first operational contract for this capacity management solution and while the initial delivery has been tailored to Heathrow’s particular specifications, the core system can be tailored for other airport customers in future.

The combination of several robust analysis tools, together with the speed of delivering results and the expertise of all the partners makes this an innovative and ground breaking tool, which will allow airports around the world to increase capacity and improve overall performance.

Mike Stoller, Director of Operations (Airports) NATS, said: “For Heathrow to run an efficient and resilient airport,  keeping to schedule is vital and NATS is delighted to be supporting the airport through the delivery of an innovative capacity management tool that has the potential to fundamentally change the way in which its schedule is constructed. Working with our partners, McLaren Applied Technologies, Siemens Postal, Parcel and Airport Logistics and AVTECH Sweden AB, the simulation and modelling capability will successfully support the delivery of the current scheduling process as well as enabling the simulation of any major infrastructure changes.

“This project serves as a first step towards our intent to develop a compelling airport performance proposition, which will bring new products to the market and directly support our growth agenda, as well as ensuring our current airport customers have access to innovative solutions and added value.”

Dr Andrew Robinson, Managing Director, Siemens Postal, Parcel and Airport Logistics said: “Siemens Postal, Parcel and Airport Logistics is proud to be part of the team that will deliver the technology that will improve passenger experience, reduce environmental impact and increase operational efficiency through improved capacity management at LHR, one of the busiest airports of the world. This project will provide a platform to consolidate data from previously disparate sources enabling a higher level of integration and consequentially improved airport capacity and will set the benchmark for global aviation.”

Geoff McGrath, Vice President, McLaren Applied Technologies said: “For decades McLaren has led the Formula 1 world in the use of advanced simulation technology to gain a competitive advantage and help us win races.  This world leading expertise is now being used to improve the efficiency of very complex systems in a range of industries, in this case by providing cutting edge decision support tools to be used at Heathrow Airport.

The combination of Formula 1 and one of the world’s busiest airports may seem unlikely, but at both Grand Prix races and Heathrow Airport we are seeking to achieve very similar goals – to increase efficiency, maintain the highest levels of safety and continually improve performance.  In partnership with the other blue chip companies involved in this project, we are confident that we can make a significant difference to the efficiency and environmental impact of this crucial transport hub.”

Lars Lindberg, President, AVTECH Sweden AB, said: “This is truly an exciting project for aviation.  AVTECH is honoured to be a part of a game changing team which includes some of the best organisations both inside and outside of aviation.   We are convinced that the team will implement an industry changing system at London’s Heathrow, which will lead to a new standard in schedule forecasting throughout the world.”

Derek Provan, Director of Airside Operations at Heathrow Airport said: “We are delighted to be working with NATS and their partners on the airfield capacity management solution. The innovation it offers will deliver Heathrow a step change in our capability at the same time as reducing our operating costs. We look forward to rolling out the suite of integrated tools across our business throughout this year.”

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