Fraport AG achieves smoother airport operations using SAS® Viya® on Microsoft Azure
As Vice President of Administrative IT Applications for Fraport AG, Dieter Steinmann introduced SAS analytics 25 years ago to the transportation company best known for running Frankfurt Airport in Germany. As Fraport has grown in Frankfurt and worldwide, Steinmann and his staff have come to rely on SAS for forecasting, adequate staffing, baggage efficiency and data sharing with airport vendors.
Today, Fraport relies on the cloud-native SAS Viya platform, which it runs on Microsoft Azure.
“An airport is a really complex environment, and our vision is to bring data together, analyze it over the whole process and provide better service to the passengers,” Steinmann says. “We’re responsible for the whole life cycle of different business applications, and analytics helps us run things smoothly.”
With SAS Viya on Microsoft Azure, Fraport can forecast the time that a flight will arrive at the gate. This allows the airport to deploy the ground crew efficiently and better manage passenger flows according to the situation on the ground. The goal is to use IT to provide the best possible operational support for the airport.
An airport is a really complex environment, and our vision is to bring data together, analyze it over the whole process, and provide better service to the passengers. Dieter Steinmann Vice President of Administrative IT Applications Fraport AG
Forecasting for more efficiency
All processes at an airport are closely coordinated. But sometimes they get out of sync. Planes don’t always arrive as scheduled. People don’t all arrive at the same time for their flights, and they don’t move through security in lockstep.
Steinmann built a forecasting simulation using SAS with several data sources more than a decade ago. It remains a crucial tool to help Fraport determine how people move through security and border checkpoints. While traditional data points like arrival and departure times and plane sizes are built into the simulation, it goes beyond that.
“It’s a relatively complex thing because you have to look at when people arrive at the airport, how fast they walk and how fast are the process points,” Steinmann explains. Similar simulation data is offered to retail vendors so they can understand when passengers will seek beverages, snacks and reading material for their journeys.
Fraport – Facts & Figures
airports on 4 continents
passengers traveled via Frankfurt Airport in 2022
metric tons of cargo traveled via Frankfurt Airport in 2022
Meeting service level agreements for baggage and more
Fraport has service-level agreements with carriers to provide ground handling of passenger baggage and cargo, and plane arrival times and deplaning delays can complicate staffing deployment.
“Our colleagues from ground handling need a better prediction – to a granularity of two-minute intervals – because they need to begin unloading baggage within 10 minutes,” Steinmann says.
How does Steinmann’s team do it? “We bring data together,” he says. “We bring in radar data, we bring data from the ground movement of planes, and with that, we predict the inbound time.”
As an analytics-driven organization, Fraport is well positioned to get passengers and cargo from point A to point B quickly and efficiently. “The new functions and capabilities we have with SAS Viya help us to go deeper in collaboration and support the decisions we make to enhance operations and ensure a pleasant experience for our guests,” Steinmann says.