Transforming Airport Operations: Leveraging AI for Facilities Management

June 12, 2024
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Efficient airport management in airport operations is extremely important as facilities managers strive to ensure all resources are allocated appropriately based on risk and need while maintaining smooth day-to-day operations. Gone are the days of sorting through piles of paperwork, and endless systems and softwares that delay actionable intelligence needed to drive increased efficiencies. As the complexity of managing airport facilities and operations increases alongside rising passenger traffic, safety and security concerns and operational demands, the integration of innovative solutions to streamline operations becomes imperative. 

In the new and upcoming world of big data, where artificial intelligence (AI), automation and the Internet of Things (IoT) have the potential to shape the future, integration of AI technologies for improved airport operations has never been more important. According to IoT Analytics, the number of global IoT connections grew by 18% in 2022 to 14.3 billion active IoT endpoints, and by 2027, shipments are expected to accelerate to more than 29 billion IoT connections. Sitting at the conjunction of it all are customizable and flexible process management apps that can quantifiably improve efficiencies and increase visibility. Through automation and digitized process management, seamlessly integrated with sensors and IoT to fully customize workflows, tasks and data desired for optimal security, airports and aviation facilities nationwide can readily increase operational efficiency, enhance safety and security, drive compliance, and improve cleanliness for overall passenger experience .

Increase Operational Efficiency

Digitized process management tools offer smart, dynamic cleaning and preventative maintenance planning to streamline operations for productivity gains, cost savings and continuous compliance. Imagine predictive maintenance for infrastructure and equipment, optimization of resource allocation and scheduling, and enhanced passenger experience all possible through digital transformation.

Sensor-driven mobile workflows empower teams with real-time data and predictive analytics for improved decision-making. From parking and departure, to arrival and automated baggage handling systems for efficient luggage management, IoT can be applied to any stage of the passenger’s journey. When implemented correctly, integrated intelligent process management apps result in complex tasks being turned into simple and compliant automated workflows that measurably increase the quality and efficiency of operations.

Think, it makes sense to send out a security team when there are loads of people going through an airport. Introduce a process management app to your workflow, and security teams have the instructions to reroute people to less busy areas at their fingertips as they go. With automation, IoT and AI,  the use of maps and graphs can intelligently learn and report on when an airport is most busy. From there, when passenger traffic count hits a certain threshold, process management apps can gather all the data collected from sensors, temperature, movement, humidity, etc. and send an automatic email, a phone notification, or a text message prompting airport personnel with actionable next steps.

Enhance Safety and Security

Airport facilities management plays a critical role in ensuring safe and compliant environments. Responsibilities of facilities management professionals encompass regular risk assessments, equipment maintenance, emergency preparedness, safety policies, and incident reporting. At the forefront of transforming safety and security management for facilities managers is the right facilities management software. Implementing a process management app with advanced visibility and reporting capabilities allows airport facilities managers access to real-time data and insights into surveillance systems for faster threat detection.

With the right facilities management software, airport facilities managers can monitor safety in real time, harness data for decision-making, automate and facilitate the inspecting and reporting of airport gates, perimeters and other valuable assets. Airports and aviation facilities are complex, with thousands of diverse processes and factors that need to be considered. Being able to support observations and experiences with real-time, dynamic data process management apps empowers airport facilities managers to allocate resources based on sound information. Integrating advanced technologies, such as IoT and AI for real-time monitoring and control, with existing security protocols enables comprehensive protection while keeping safety and security of airport passengers and personnel top-of-mind.

Drive Compliance

Compliance today is much more complex than it used to be, as airport facilities managers navigate a rapidly evolving regulatory environment and surge in regulatory scrutiny. According to a recent Thomson Reuters report the future of risk and compliance in 2024 is only set to get worse, with compliance leaders expecting a significant increase in compliance burdens for facilities managers. Airport management needs digital tools that allow them to collect the right data on compliance, automate reporting, and facilitate action. Process management apps like mpro5 support airport and aviation facilities managers by providing a mobile app that includes features to make it possible to implement, prove and maintain continuous compliance in a matter of minutes.

No more jumping over regulatory hurdles to meet compliance requirements. And even more crucial, no more unnecessary exposure to preventable risks that can be costly in the long-run, impacting the bottom line of an airport facility and its passengers. Implementing a process management app that facilitates proper workflow and data entry can ensure and easily demonstrate compliance with Service Level Agreements (SLAs), Health and Safety Requirements, or other throughout the automated reporting process.

Airport and aviation facilities managers can save time and money by utilizing workforce management tools that streamline workflows through integrated reports and risk assessments, automated task scheduling and completion tracking with built-in protocol compliance. Process management apps combine easy-to-use dynamic dashboards, automated reports and essential alerts for data-driven decision making that can reduce the necessary number of external audits to just once per year.

Improve Cleanliness for Overall Passenger Experience

Whether a bustling airport or other aviation facility, passenger experience is everything. One sure case of this is the condition and cleanliness of bathrooms which are sure to leave a lasting impression, for better or for worse. This makes keeping them clean critical to the overall passenger experience. Input-led cleaning routines and fixed schedules are ineffective means of managing facility operations when smart sensors make it possible to move to a more productive, output-led model. Smart sensors can track door openings over time to measure foot traffic in a specific area or location, and when utilized in heavily used restroom areas, sensors can even monitor the stock of consumables - soap, toilet paper, whether the trash needs to be emptied and more.

Compound an airport facility’s sensor-driven data with real-time, dynamic dashboards available through workflow process management apps, and prompts can automatically trigger cleaning crews to the busiest restrooms once they have been used a set number of times. According to the 2021 CMM In-House/Facility Management Survey, restrooms are the most problematic areas to clean and maintain in a facility. As they are high traffic areas with the largest germ count, cleaning and maintaining restrooms should be a priority for airport facilities managers. This is one easy way to substantially improve cleanliness through sensor-driven data for overall passenger experience.



By leveraging a process management app that seamlessly integrates with smart sensors and IoT, airport and aviation facilities managers can increase operational efficiency, enhance safety and security, drive compliance, and improve overall passenger experience. As the complexity of managing airport facilities and operations increases alongside rising passenger traffic, the constant challenges airport and aviation facilities managers face are inevitable. However, by understanding IoT sensor-driven actions and data, data analytics and the role of AI automation for integrating it all, transforming airport operations for enhanced efficiency and safety can be as effortless as flying first-class.

About the Author

Fred Whipp | Vice President of Business Development

Fred Whipp is the Vice President of Business Development at mpro5, the Process Management App and customer-first solution trusted by food service, retail and facilities management. As an experienced business development executive who leads sales conversations with data, Fred is an expert on best practices and digital transformation in facilities management.