Dubai Airports reduces passenger wait times by 40 per cent in two years

The Airport Operations Control Centre, which was officially inaugurated on Wednesday, processes real-time data from 50 systems across two airports

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Reporter: Kelly Clarke: Dubai airports command control room (called Airport Operations Control Centre) will be officially inaugurated by Sheikh Ahmed, president of Dubai Civil Aviation. Wednesday, March 4th, 2020. DXB, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Dubai Airports officially inaugurated its high-tech control room on Wednesday, which helps to monitor and improve operations at the world's busiest airport, including passenger wait times.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, president of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, led a media tour of the area, giving a glimpse of how passenger movement is tracked at the airport.
Since the Airport Operations Control Centre (AOCC) started its operations in February 2018, customer queue times at Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Dubai World Central (DWC) have reduced by 40 per cent.


In 2018, wait times decreased by 28 per cent compared to the previous year. And last year, it decreased by 15 per cent from 2018.
Located in a four-floor building on Al Ittihad Road, the 930 square metre nerve centre is close to Dubai International Airport terminals 1, 2 and 3.
With 96 work stations and 123 wall screens, more than 120 staff at the centre monitor aircraft logistics and passenger-related movement to ensure the smooth running of day-to-day operations, said Damian Ellacott, vice president of operations.
Described as a "fully resilient mission critical facility," the AOCC processes real-time data from 50 systems across the airport, including the airfield, aircraft stands, terminals and flight information display systems. It processes about "seven billion data points" every day.
"We have a network of about 800 to 1,000 sensors located in the ceilings across the airport, particularly across some of the most important passenger touch points like immigration or check-in," Mr Ellacott said.

Average operations on a busy day at DXB. The National 

"The sensors are able to monitor passengers and see how long they are dwelling in queues.
"The data collected from these sensors help to predict things like wait times and system productivity, in real-time."
With certain targets in place which define "acceptable wait times", staff use the collated data to improve passenger flow in certain parts of the airport.
"We can anticipate where we need to redeploy resources or open more check-in counters, more security lanes, to make sure we keep the movement of passengers as smooth as possible," he said.
Baggage handling is another area of focus for the control room.
"A single piece of luggage accumulates hundreds of data points through its journey from arriving at the airport to being loaded onto the aircraft," Mr Ellacott said.
"If delays in the process are spotted, mechanisms are put in place to expedite the flow of bags so customers are not kept waiting."
A number of service partners work alongside the control room staff including personnel from Dubai Police, Roads and Transport Authority, Dubai Customs and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, among others.
An expert forecaster from the National Centre of Meteorology helps staff to analyse and predict disruptive weather patterns.
"The weather so obviously effects what we do here," Mr Ellacott said.


"At certain periods of the year we have a high risk of fog, and thick fog can disrupt our operations.
"With our meteorologist we can work together to predict when that weather will come and when it will clear.
"That kind of information allows us to forecast how quickly we can rebound and establish the operations back to normal."
Noted as the backbone of Dubai's airport operations, a back-up facility has been constructed just kilometres away, at DXB's terminal 3.
"We have to be prepared for the possibility that this facility is not able to operate," Mr Ellacott said.
"We have a very robust resilience programme that ensures we are as ready as possible in case of an eventuality that undermines our integrity.
"If there was a significant event that meant we could not access or operate from the main building, we can quickly turn to the back-up control room," he said.
Noted as the world's busiest airport for international passenger traffic, Dubai International Airport recorded a total footfall of 86.4 million last year.