Efficiency and agility to support operational decisions at airports managed by Zurich Airport Brasil

Although information can be accessed quickly and easily these days, knowledge has always been the starting point for making the best decisions. Thus, optimization is the key word for assertive management, which in turn leads to good results. Aware of this fact, Zurich Airport Brazil implemented a program that flexibly, efficiently and objectively collects data about operations to facilitate better operational decisions on a daily basis.

Even in the dynamic routine of airports with situations reflected in terminals around the world where flights can be canceled or rescheduled, the travel experience should not be stressful for passengers. The problem of maintaining the standard of service quality in such situations becomes even greater.

Decisions must be persistent and consistent. That was one of the lessons. By creating a new model of information management, solutions become flexible due to the full display of data related to operational intelligence, which in turn allows to optimize costs, quality of service and, above all, to maintain an optimal level of customer service.

Principles of the project

Initially, the aim of the project was to generate information for operational areas that would have input data on passenger traffic and the main peak hours of passenger traffic at the airport. Previously, this information was provided once a month, which created a problem because it was not dynamic enough for the needs of operational agents and created information bottlenecks for operational decision making.

After the implementation of the first phase, the need for 24/7 access to information for all people involved in the operational plan became clear, and to meet this demand, an automated platform was created, which works as an information center. This platform collects data from various systems, processes the information and automatically makes it available to those who need specific information.

Once information is made available and automatically delivered to the right people, reactive operational management becomes more predictable and operational agents can prepare and anticipate changes, allowing them to better allocate resources.

This program was based on three main pillars:

People: Every type of data analysis starts with questions and hypotheses from people who need answers to make decisions in their daily lives. Therefore, all the information available on the platform is created from the questions asked by the people involved in the operational plan, and thus they become catalysts for the whole process.

Technology: Technology is the means by which information is transmitted, from the source of the data to the devices of the people who need it. Therefore, the implementation of this platform requires technological tools so that the data generated by the company’s internal and external systems is automatically collected, processed, calculated and delivered to the right people.

Process: The three stages were created to ensure the consistency of the platform, so that all the information received fits into a simple, efficient and reliable management process. These stages are called: “Planning, Execution and Review”. The planning phase provides detailed information on the operational plan based on forecast demand. In the execution phase, the flow of passengers, aircraft and resources is managed, and information is delivered to maintain communication and common awareness of operational situations where all agents receive the same information at the same time. Finally, in the review stage, the information obtained is used to identify improvement actions, review performance, and provide input for a new plan cycle.

A solution for all airport components

Given the above considerations, the “Plan, Do, Review” process can be applied to different components of an airport’s infrastructure, where each aspect has its own characteristics and works in sync, providing an overview of the points and moments that put even greater strain on the infrastructure. The application of each of the components can be described in detail as follows:


This component is very important as it is the first impression passengers have of the airport. A scenario where passengers about to board a flight find that the curb is overcrowded is sure to have a negative impact on the start of their journey. This creates the need for appropriate planning actions to improve curb flow, which means reducing the waiting time of each vehicle on this component. To monitor this flow, data is collected from all vehicles passing through checkpoints located at the entrance and exit of the boarding and boarding area. This data is used to measure the average time each vehicle spends on the shoulder and is then cross-checked with regular flight data. This analysis allows the calculation of the expected number of vehicles at a certain time and allows planning of actions to increase the flow of vehicles during periods of heavy traffic.

Cleaning the terminal

The cleanliness of the station area is an important factor in ensuring quality passenger service. Thus, ensuring clean floors, windows and toilets, among others, becomes part of the complete and excellent passenger experience, and to achieve this we have cleaning teams that are organized according to the volume of passenger traffic and the service curve required throughout the day. Therefore, when there are changes in flight requests, the model automatically calculates the corresponding size of required cleaning commands. In addition, the system provides detailed information to create cleaning plans, including which restrooms are likely to be crowded and at what time of day. This information, in turn, informs contract management staff and enables them to take actions that optimize resource allocation.

security checkpoint

Uncontrolled queues at checkpoints are known to be the most important aspect of this component, and unless there is proper planning in terms of the equipment strength required to manage the demand curve and handle the passenger flow at all times of the day, disorganized queues tend to form. Such a scenario will have a serious impact on the passenger experience as it reduces the quality of services provided by the airport. At the same time, excess equipment in operation during times of low passenger traffic is counterproductive for the airport as it leads to downtime and unnecessary costs. The developed program allows for rapid action to determine the need to add or remove operating equipment based on changes in passenger demand. This means that whenever there are changes in flight demand, the model automatically calculates the actual need for equipment, providing our staff with the information they need to optimize the use and allocation of resources.

Boarding bridges

Once the slots are approved for operation at the airport, flights must be allocated to boarding ramps at each the terminal. This allocation process becomes very important as it directs the distribution of passengers in the departure lounge, which itself affects consumer purchases, restroom usage, seat availability and equipment maintenance, among others. With this in mind, the platform has been configured to be able to alert whenever the ramp becomes overcrowded during a certain period so that there is a balanced distribution of passengers in the departure hall.

Next steps

When the main components of the airport are organized and parameterized according to the level of service we want to offer to our passengers, the next step is to increase the scope and points for data collection. This can allow us to continue to improve our computing models, expanding the scope for developing machine learning algorithms and implementing artificial intelligence to increase automation between data collection and the delivery of information for decision-making processes.

Ricardo Bresalin, Operations Planning Coordinator at Zurich Airport Brazil, along with his co-authors, tells International Airport Review about their new data collection platform that helps them make better operational decisions.Ricardo Bresalin has been working in the logistics and transport infrastructure sector for 10 years and in the aviation sector for the last five years. He has completed various postgraduate courses, including business analytics and data analysis. He is currently the coordinator of operational planning at Zurich Airport Brazil and is responsible for the development of projects focused on operational efficiency.

Ricardo Bresalin, Operations Planning Coordinator at Zurich Airport Brazil, along with his co-authors, tells International Airport Review about their new data collection platform that helps them make better operational decisions.Clayton Mendez Peixoto is an experienced airport operations manager with more than 15 years of experience working directly in several airports in Brazil. His leadership is focused on creating value through operational efficiency with a focus on customer service and business development. He is currently the CEO of Zurich Airport Brazil.

Ricardo Bresalin, Operations Planning Coordinator at Zurich Airport Brazil, along with his co-authors, tells International Airport Review about their new data collection platform that helps them make better operational decisions.With over 16 years of experience in the aviation industry, Fabio Marquez da Silva worked in various segments such as airlines, ground handling companies and airports. Innovation and efficiency are his core values ​​and he is currently the Chief Operating Officer of Zurich Airport Brazil.

Further co-authors:

Jorge Borba Operational planning analyst

Vanessa da Silva Ferreira Bezerra Communications advisor

https://www.internationalairportreview.com/article/178896/efficiency-and-agility-for-supporting-operational-decision-making-at-the-airports-operated-by-zurich-airport-brasil/ Efficiency and agility to support operational decisions at airports managed by Zurich Airport Brasil

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