Image: Jeff Hitchcock

Passenger traffic at Keflavík International Airport has been rising at a staggering rate over the past few years. The airport expects more than 10 million people to pass through its terminal buildings by the end of 2018 – an increase of 450% compared to 2013, when it served 2.2 million travelers. Could a combination of more sensors and advanced deep learning algorithms ease the growing pains?

Iceland’s air navigation service provider, Isavia, said it will expand its use of the Veovo Flow Management solution at Keflavik International Airport (KEF). The decision comes after Isavia forecasted that Iceland’s popularity as a transatlantic stopover destination means transfer passenger traffic will will rise by 33% this year compared to last year, and overall airport traffic will exceed 10 million in 2018, a 17% increase compared to 2017.

Veovo’s technology, which was initially deployed at KEF in 2016, uses sensors and advanced deep learning algorithms to produce check-in and security checkpoint wait time and occupancy figures that enable management to understand how passengers move within airports and take informed decisions to prevent overcrowding. The airport also deployed Veovo’s Airport Management System for operational visibility, which displays wait times and flight information to passengers on screens and in KEF’s mobile app.

“Now we are able to make more informed decisions, and anticipate problems before they arise.” – Guðmundur Karl Gautason, Keflavík Airport

“We use the data to see when levels of service are breached and to find out the reasons. This has helped us to identify the problems we had with our work shifts starting too late,” said Guðmundur Karl Gautason, Keflavík Airport’s operation research project manager. “Before implementation, we did not have this information at hand to actually be able to quantify the problem. Now we are able to make more informed decisions, and anticipate problems before they arise.”

Isavia said the extended rollout will give airport staff a more detailed picture of travelers’ movement patterns from arrival to boarding, including the ability to extract real-time or historical data across all sections of the airport and view data broken down by individual flight. “[Veovo’s solution] will provide us with continuous, airport-wide visibility 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It will not only enable us to more efficiently plan resources but also allow us to see the impact of the various actions we implement,” said Gautason.

Isavia said this could include everything from optimizing bus usage and gate allocation to informing the positioning of signage and future expansion plans. Additionally, it said the airport’s retailers will be able to use the data to fine-tune their services with improved staffing, product placement and variety of items.