The summer travel peak is in sight. Although queues and congestion, dissatisfied passengers, delays and disgruntled staff are stereotypical characteristics of the travel experience during this busy period, this does not need to be the case in your operation.
Even at this late stage, there is still time in advance of the summer period to make operational changes to improve departures, arrivals and handling processes and avoid the negative consequences of long queues and congestion throughout the airport.
There are many ways short-term gains can be made without high levels of expenditure. Examples include:
Readdressing planning and allocation methods
Have you recently assessed arrival profiles? Demand-driven planning of resources and staffing can ensure they are supplied in line with passenger and baggage demand, therefore preventing unnecessary queues from building.
Check-in and passenger screening operations are notorious for queues and congestion during peak periods. Process engineering and lean principles help to identify the root cause of suboptimal flow and provide short-term solutions to alleviating bottlenecks and creating a more streamlined flow through end-to end processes.
An effective layout promotes flow. By making better use of available space, and ensuring the layout is intuitive and encourages the passenger to use the correct facilities, it is possible to improve the passenger experience, reduce queues and congestion, and consistently achieve service standards.
Moreover layout changes do not need to demand capex and long lead times to make a difference. Changes to the positioning of equipment, staff and queues can promote flow and increase throughput if done well.
Reducing transaction times
Identifying the optimal transaction process and ensuring it is employed consistently throughout your team will help to ensure a consistent level of service, and improve average transaction times.
Clear, planned communications go hand-in-hand with intuitive processes and wayfinding. To promote flow, efficiency and service, it is important to build these into the operation in a structured manner.
Any queues you do experience during the summer travel period will focus your priorities for improvement during autumn in preparation for the Christmas travel peak.