Passenger screening process study and recommendations for Stansted Airport

The challenge

Stansted Airport requested an Industrial Engineering review of the existing Outbound Security process to understand opportunities to improve throughput and therefore maximise the use of existing capacity, prior to making capital investment decisions.

A key objective was to understand the usage and productivity of each element of the security process, and therefore where there was scope to develop and introduce optimised processes and procedures.


Our role

In order to fully understand the opportunity and make informed recommendations, o&i consulting spent time in Stansted Airport’s live passenger screening operation.

After an introductory observation session at the security checkpoint, our team set up a detailed operations measurement exercise. Breaking down the security process to look at each individual element from queuing through to the repack / clearing area, we measured each area during busy periods across a week.

Detailed analysis of the data collected, combined with observations of live operation, identified the key constraints and opportunities for improvement. It also became clear where equipment was not performing as well as it could, and where resource could be utilised more effectively or work methods improved.

Fulfilling the core requirements of the brief, our team provided the client with a detailed understanding of its operation, describing current usage and productivity of each element of the security process. We identified a direct correlation between throughput and periods of low productivity and, through our analysis, were able to feedback the key causes of this.

Our recommendations directly addressed these opportunities for improvement. The client received a set of solutions to optimise the end-to-end screening process, encompassing the pre-screening area prior to boarding card check and the queue maze. Our solutions targeted the key causes of low productivity as well as making a series of incremental gains to improve the overall process and throughput levels. Taking a holistic view, we looked at the effects of increased throughput in one area on subsequent areas of the process and how these areas could be further improved or changed to handle the higher demand.

We recommended actions to eliminate waste within the process, with a particular focus on passenger preparation, the walk through metal detector, and the bag search / repack area. Solutions included process and layout improvements, equipment and resource change, improved communications and changes to the queuing structure and management.


o&i expertise

  • Industrial engineering review
  • Process time study and observations
  • Detailed analysis of process
  • Solution development
  • Reporting
  • Passenger security process expertise
  • Industrial engineering expertise


Project Key Facts

Title: Passenger screening process study and recommendations for Stansted Airport

Client: Stansted Airport

Theme: Passenger Security Screening