The Key to a Better Airport Experience Has Just Landed at JFK
Now more than ever, the airport experience is filled with what seems like a never-ending stream of if only's: if only they had more customer service people working... if only it didn’t take an hour to get through security... if only this coffee didn’t taste like sand. While a decent cup of coffee might still be a pipe dream, a groundbreaking piece of operational software that could make air travel more efficient and tolerable has just landed in New York City, at JFK’s Terminal 4.
Called BEONTRA Scenario Planning, its official description is “an integrated planning software suite that enables airports to create timely and accurate forecasts through fast business case-building and highly scalable modeling.” Translation: it helps airports predict the number of people and planes that will pass through its gates and grace its runways on any given day, so that those in charge can plan — and staff — accordingly.
By tapping into the Airport Operational Database and using known data about passenger behavior — like how early people generally arrive before a flight, for instance — BEONTRA is able to generate a graph that pinpoints what will likely be the airport’s peak travel times. According to Wired, the idea is that airport officials can then share this information with the individual airlines, the TSA, customs officials and any other department that may want to beef up staffing at the allotted times. Currently, BEONTRA predicts traffic data 72 hours ahead of time, though its hoping to eventually up that to 90 days.
The system is already in use at more than 30 airports throughout Europe and Asia, but its arrival at JFK marks the first time it’s being utilized in the United States.
“The primary reason to put this software in place is resource planning,” Daryl Jameson, JFK’s vice president of IT & Baggage, told Wired. “It gives us a better idea of the changing environment in real time.”
While other US airports have expressed interest in utilizing the software, JFK’s Terminal 4 — which is home to nearly three dozen airlines that, collectively, transport 20 million travelers each year — seems like the perfect testing ground. In the words of Frank Sinatra: "It’s up to you, New York, New York."