Reducing security queues while cutting rosters from +60 to 10: How Manchester Airport managed to improve operational performance with an easier planning process.
29.3 mill. passengers (2019)
In 2019, Manchester Airport was the third busiest airport in the United Kingdom in terms of passenger numbers and the busiest of those not serving London. The airport comprises three passenger terminals and a cargo terminal. In 2019 Manchester Airport handled close to 30 million passengers to more than 300 destinations.
Manchester Airport is owned by MAG (Manchester Airport Group) who owns and runs Manchester, London Stansted, and East Midlands airports. MAG is the largest UK owned airport operator.
Introduction to the collaboration with Manchester Airport.
Planning their security rosters was proving overly complex and time-consuming for Manchester Airport (MAN). Copenhagen Optimization’s consultancy team worked with the operations team at MAG to develop a simpler, more streamlined process. The result is a rostering approach that improves operational performance while reducing passenger queuing time.
With 60+ rosters for its security team, MAN was finding it hard to keep track of who was doing what, and when they were supposed be doing it. Finalizing the rosters was taking too long and growing increasingly complex. A simpler process was urgently required, not only to improve operational efficiency, but also to give employees a more stable and attractive schedule. The increasing complexity led to the airport being overstaffed at some times and understaffed at others – an unnecessary OPEX cost and an annoyance for passengers who were experiencing longer queue times than necessary. In short, employees found the rosters hard to comprehend while ops planners were finding the process frustrating.
What’s more, the airport’s ability to benefit from their Better Forecast and Better Security modules was being held back by the challenges with their rostering system.
The Solution: Better Forecast, Better Security and Better Shift
Rostering is a notoriously complex process. Instead of introducing more technology that might potentially complicate MAN’s issues even further, our consultancy team leveraged their deep expertise on rostering in the airport sector to help unpick the knots and streamline the process. The new approach is a more holistic and data-driven planning solution with fewer individual elements.
As a direct result of this project MAN was able to cut the number of rosters from 60+ to 10. With the implementation of Better Security on top of that their planning was eased significantly. Crucially, the airport is now better able to match staff numbers to passenger numbers, reducing queues and improving operational efficiency.
The new solution is already paying off. The airport welcomed 3 million passengers in July and almost 100,000 everyday in August**. A total of 96% of those queued for less than 15 minutes. And when issues do arise, the airport now has a resilience team of 100 people able to work together to resolve them.
**Data from 2023.
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