Airport operators around the world are investing significant time and money in researching and implementing smart, digital solutions to improve the passenger journey. Self-service units for check-in, baggage drop, and boarding are available on the market; innovative programs like Smart Security, initiated by IATA and ACI, focus on improving the many security processes.

The ultimate goal is an undisrupted passenger journey from curbstone to airside with a minimum of inconvenience and an optimal operational efficiency. To achieve this, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has started a comprehensive development process to create a smart and digital airport.

An important element in this process is Seamless Flow, the program to use biometrics for enabling a seamless flow throughout the whole passenger journey without repeatedly using passport and/or boarding card checks. It only requires one enrollment process, the verification of the passenger passport and identity, including a facial scan. From this moment, your face is your identifier.

Once the identification is successfully completed, border security processes can already be started. This provides the authorities more time to perform background checks and detect risks before the passengers are actually at the border. Using more detailed information on passenger flow enables airlines to further optimize their ground operations. The advantage for the passengers is found in reduction of process times, at the border and at the gate.

Currently, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and its program partners (the Dutch ministries of Justice & Safety Security, Infrastructure & Water Management, and Defense, the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee, Customs, HUB-airline KLM, Cathay Pacific, and private companies) carry out pilot tests at a border control location to determine the performance and feasibility of the biometrics checkpoint and to gain experience with the required process times for enrollment and the border processes.

INCONTROL Simulation Software was asked to apply its simulation software Pedestrian Dynamics in a study to contribute to the program. With this software, simulation models of future situations are created and different scenarios are compared. The model includes processes and equipment for Seamless Flow, such as kiosks for enrollment and verification, on-the-move immigration control gateways, automated access gates.

The models are used:

  • to study the dynamic requirements and behavior per border control filter.
  • to determine the required number of facilities in order to be able to meet service levels.
  • to perform a sensitivity analysis for impact of variation in process times.
  • to compare the results between a configuration with Seamless Flow facilities and one without for a future situation.

The analyses have determined the impact on the required infrastructure and the passenger flow time and are used as an important input for the business case of the Seamless Flow program.

„The results from INCONTROL’s simulations provide important insights into which parameters we need to pay most attention to during further development of the system, and to see the effects of multiple operational concepts early on,“ says Hedzer Komduur, Value Stream Owner for the Seamless Flow program. „They allow us to tailor our efforts to the most promising concepts, and use our resources most effectively.“

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