Speedy analytics lets Manchester Airport lift baggage restriction

Manchester Airport says its use of near-real-time analytics has enabled it to be among the first UK airports to lift a restriction of one item of hand luggage per customer.

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Manchester Airport says its use of near-real-time analytics has enabled it to be among the first UK airports to lift a restriction of one item of hand luggage per customer.

The move comes after the Department for Transport cleared airports yesterday to allow more items of hand baggage so long as passenger flows were not affected.

Manchester Airport, which is run by the local authority-owned Manchester Airports Group, said it was able to respond immediately to the change because an Oracle business-intelligence system it introduced 18 months ago meant it could analyse and respond to various performance metrics it to improve the flow of passengers and luggage through its three terminals.

Martin Bell, information services business consultant at Manchester Airports Group, said that complex decisions were being made more quickly with the airport’s enhanced BI capability.

“The data is no longer so historical,” he said. “Reports that were taking half a day are now taking 30 minutes. And some of the more complex analytics that took five days are now taking a few hours.”

The airport turned to Oracle in 2006 because its use of a combination of Business Objects’ Crystal Reports and Microsoft Excel spreadsheets was proving too slow and limited.

Bell said the airport settled upon Oracle Business Intelligence because it already used Oracle’s e-Business application suite, an Oracle financial management system and an Oracle database, so the choice “caused less disruption” and built on existing technology, he said.

The BI platform offers simple dashboards to duty managers and front line workers, said Bell, enabling the group to quickly judge where to move airport staff so that queues do not grow too fast. The airport currently has around 22 million passengers per year, but this is expected to rise to 50 million by 2030 as air travel increases.

Bell said the platform also allows the airport to direct planes into the right slots where quick turnaround is needed to reduce a delay.

The airport is using the system to closely monitor the lifting of the one-bag rule in its terminals, and will report back to the Department for Transport on the effects on passenger flow, with the aim of making the change permanent.

The group also owns the East Midlands Airport, where it next plans to roll out the business intelligence system, before implementation in its two smaller airports, Bournemouth and Humberside.

Future plans include the use of Bluetooth detectors to better track the exact flow of passengers through the airports and enable enhancements to terminal design.

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