Airport Landside Simulation Model

Bechtel Corporation; San Francisco, CA

The Airport Landside Simulation Model simulates airport terminal operations. The purpose of the model is to evaluate the conditions inside the terminal and the service level from the patrons' viewpoint. Given a certain facility layout, an operating policy (number of servers), and a schedule of airplanes and their passenger loads.

The movement of individual passengers, greeters, well-wishers, visitors, and any other parties are modeled over the period of time and statistics are kept for the time they spend walking, queuing, being served, of in idle wait. The total time spent is the clearance time from the aircraft door to the crossing of the airport boundary in a ground transportation mode.

At each service facility, a record is kept of the queues that develop over time and, in specific areas, the occupancy by all parties is also monitored.

Most variables and processes are random in a given range, including walking speed, service times, party size, and earliness of arrival, and are given as distributions. A few variables are deterministic, such as airplane schedules and airplane loads.

The behavior of each group of people is determined by specifying deterministically, or randomly, the next facility the group will reach after leaving the presently occupied facility. This movement may depend on a certain attribute of the person, such as ground transportation mode, number of bags, airline gate, etc.

Three main output reports are generated:

  • The clearance report (for each type of airport patron).
  • The facility queuing report (average and worst queues for each server of each facility).
  • Area occupancy report (worst and average module, i.e. m2/person, as well as a periodic count of patrons in each area during the simulation. Other reports are available, as well a graphs of area occupancies over time. With these reports, the analyst can have an idea of the performance of the terminal as a whole and also pinpoint specific problem areas. Corrective action can then be taken, for instance:
    • Modify the throughput of a facility (number of servers).
    • Place constraints on the schedule (maximum operation per hour, better aircraft sequencing).
    • Relocate some facilities (modification of the layout of some area of the terminal).

Alternatives Considered: SLAM II

Benefits of SIMSCRIPT II.5: Ability to handle large models, graphics capability.

Customer Quote: "SIMSCRIPT II.5 enabled us to run the simulation of a busy airport with very low costs and reasonable speed."