Airports are one of the sectors most affected by the international COVID-19 pandemic and are facing a complex scenario that requires more flexibility, adaptability and innovation than ever before, in order to regain the confidence of travellers and guarantee their safety.

In addition to the difficult daily tasks they perform to provide a good user experience, airports are facing the cancellation and postponement of countless flights. According to Statista's data, the number of flights scheduled worldwide in the week of May 4 was reduced by almost 70% compared to the same week last year. In the case of Spain, the week of 20 April was the one that recorded the greatest loss so far, with a drop of more than 95 %.

Dassault Systèmes, an expert in 3D virtual collaborative environments, believes that complex airport operations can be managed by taking into account three essential elements and using technologies such as virtual twins.

- Visibility: to anticipate potential problems. It is crucial to see what is happening on the ground in real time. To do this, data from various sources, such as change patterns, entry times, equipment performance or key performance indicators are collected in one place. By using comprehensive digital platforms that view the airport as a complete system, planners receive a clear, real-time view of operations throughout the airport, including changes as they occur.

- Planning: In this field it does not make sense to make plans based on generalizations, because every day is different. It is desirable to make solid plans, based on accurate visibility and analysis. Patterns can be identified in current data, which will help predict what will happen, through advanced analysis and machine learning. This allows operators to look at possible next day's flight cancellations, time spent on a task, or the number of passengers in a week. Similarly, thanks to these technologies, what-if scenarios can be simulated to explore strategies and solve potential problems before they occur.

- Optimization: to achieve results, plans must first be put into action. The organization must be agile, both in the face of planned maintenance and unexpected interruptions. A powerful optimization engine, with predictive analysis and autonomous planning capabilities, allows you to understand trends in passenger demand or personnel management and make better decisions for both customers and employees. By having a platform that collects all the data and allows you to see real-time updates and interact with ground staff, you can solve a problem quickly without having a major impact on other departments.

Airports with a virtual twin
Airports like Copenhagen are already making use of digital technologies to manage operations quickly and efficiently. One of the main trends in the industry is the use of virtual twins, created from an existing airport, its assets and processes, to plan around various scenarios and simulate various ideas, before implementing them in the real airport.

These virtual twins provide information on operations, infrastructure and passenger experience, thereby increasing productivity, cost and operational efficiency, without losing sight of the level of customer satisfaction and without hampering day-to-day operations. They also help airports and airlines to work together in cases like this.

Dassault Systèmes has developed the expertise of the "Airport Experience" industry solution, based on its 3DEXPERIENCE collaborative platform, and enables the creation of these digital and functional replicas, which can be visualized in augmented and virtual reality.


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