According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Airports Council International (ACI) the biggest challenge airports will face in the future is going to be managing capacity. 

The scope of that challenge is considerable. Since 1960 commercial air transport has expanded six times faster than ground transport, and this trend is going to continue. By 2037, it is estimated that 8.2 billion people around the world will use air travel. In the United States alone, airports will need to handle approximately 330 million passengers per year in the next 10 - 20 years. That’s about the same size as the US itself.

Redefining the airport experience

More passengers don’t just put pressure on planes but on the airports on which they rely. And in many cases, these airports are operating in old buildings with legacy systems that are struggling to cope with demand. 

Infrastructure such as baggage carousels, moving walkways and boarding gates were once the modernity symbols of air travel. However, they are now the legacy systems that modern airports are struggling with when trying to provide new customer experiences. A successful passenger experience will be defined by digital technology, biometric tracking, bagless journeys and data-optimized airport operations.

Supporting smarter infrastructure

One solution is to build new airports, adding more runways, more gates, and larger facilities. But this takes years of planning and construction and brings huge costs.  

However, by better understanding how current assets are being utilized and maintained, established airports can meet rising demand with existing resources. Digital technologies enable airport operators to find new ways to support the expected growth in passenger and cargo traffic as well as enhance end-to-end passenger handling.

Through a virtual twin, airports can model, simulate and optimize their business operations. For example, by modeling increased passenger flow, airports can identify potential bottlenecks in operations and redesign their processes and redeploy their staff to accommodate it. Or, by better understanding how delayed flights might impact gate availability, they can allocate their resources accordinglyto allow airport operations to run as smoothly as possible.

The 3DEXPERIENCE® platform enables airport operators to make strategic decisions and future-proof the airport by simulating “What-if” scenarios. Dassault Systèmes' solutions help deliver the next generation of airports, and the basis for creating agile, sustainable and smart airports of the future. 

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