Manchester Airport's BI helps lift one bag rule

Manchester Airport has today been given permission by the Department for Transport (DFT) to lift the one item of hand baggage restrictions, as a result of business intelligence (BI) technology demonstrating its ability to manage the added workload.

The one bag rule has been in force across all UK airports since 10 August 2006 as part of tightened security restrictions in response to potential terrorist threats.

But the airport will be one of the first in the UK to relax the rule after successfully demonstrating that passenger movements would not be affected by extra baggage and security checks as result of allowing them to carry more bags onto the plane.

Martin Bell, information services business consultant for Manchester Airports Group, told IT PRO how an ongoing programme of work to improve operational efficiency through the use of Oracle BI and data warehousing technology had played a key role in lifting the rule.

"We used operational passenger flow data to demonstrate to the DFT that we are in a position to meet the resourcing needs as a result of lifting the one bag rule without compromising customer service and security" he said.

"Key passenger flow information involved is the traffic in the airport, through archway metal detectors and boarding card systems, for example."

Bell said Manchester Airport had been using Oracle BI tools on top of an Oracle data warehouse implementation for about 18 months now to support commercial and operational business strategies.

The Airport began using the BI tools to monitor commercial business performance in terms of aviation, retail and car parking metrics, but realised operational analysis could help pinpoint bottlenecks and delays.

Bell said data relating to baggage and passenger flows throughout the airport are collected in the Oracle database and analysed by Oracle BI to identify passenger and baggage movement trends. Its forecasting capabilities help senior management to cope with the extra pressure of screening additional bags. And with this information, management can plan to provide additional X-ray machines and extra staff in advance.

He also said the airport was in the technical phase of upgrading to Oracle's BI enterprise edition: "In March we're looking to give staff on the ground real-time, dashboard access to third-party system data that supports passenger processing without having to put it through a data warehouse," he said.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.