By analysing patterns of movement around the airport we can understand the changing needs of our customers and target resources appropriately.

Creating clarity in a complex business

The enterprise-wide use of Esri’s ArcGIS platform has brought clarity to complex operational, environmental and strategic issues at Manchester Airport (MAG). The solution has helped the organisation to optimise retail profitability, improve the efficiency of its workforce and make better decisions about the future development of the UK’s third busiest airport.

Manchester Airports Group

Case study – Airports

The Customer

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) owns and operates four British airports: Manchester, London Stansted, East Midlands and Bournemouth. As the largest UK-owned airport business, it serves around 42 million passengers every year and supports more than 130,000 jobs.

MAG used ArcGIS to analyse patterns of movement around the airport and optimise office locations to improve the efficiency of its workforce

ArcGIS was used to analyse passenger footfall in retail areas and increase revenues from retail units, while decreasing marketing costs

Engineers use ArcGIS to better plan maintenance activities so as to minimise disruption to flights and passengers

The Challenge

Known as ‘the global gateway to the North of England’, Manchester Airport is the largest of MAG’s four regional airports. MAG wanted to increase the profitability of this successful passenger and freight transportation hub, by maximising its retail revenues, improving its marketing to new and existing customers and optimising its efficiency across all areas of the business.

In any organisation, these would be ambitious goals. In a complex business like Manchester Airport, however, the challenges are multiplied. As well as developing its business, MAG must simultaneously address a multitude of other issues including environmental legislation, aviation safety, airport security and the sensitivities of local residents.

“ ArcGIS has been instrumental in helping MAG minimise its impact on the environment, improve its customer service and develop positive community relations

The Solution

Geographic information system (GIS) technology was first used at Manchester Airport nearly 20 years ago, when it was employed to model noise contours. Following early success with the technology, the use of GIS steadily expanded and, today, it is a vital spatial information management and business analysis system, employed to great effect throughout the entire organisation. MAG’s enterprise GIS platform is based on Esri’s ArcGIS technology and encompasses server, desktop and mobile applications.

“ Our use of GIS helped us create a more efficient workforce

Vickie Withnell – Group GIS Advisor, MAG

The Benefits

ArcGIS brings clarity to complex operational, environmental and strategic issues and, over recent years, has played a pivotal role in helping MAG make important decisions about the development of Manchester Airport. The solution has identified opportunities to improve business efficiency and hence reduce costs, as well as revealed new ways to optimise profitability. ArcGIS has also been instrumental in helping MAG minimise its impact on the environment, improve its customer service and develop positive community relations.

Here are just a few examples of how GIS has added immeasurable value for MAG.

In one very successful initiative, the organisation employed GIS to analyse the locations of its assets at Manchester Airport vis-à-vis the locations of the people who use those assets on a daily basis. It then relocated teams to site them in better facilities in more convenient areas, where they would spend less time travelling to and from jobs. “Our use of GIS helped us create a more efficient workforce,” says Vickie Withnell, Group GIS Advisor at MAG. “At the same time, we managed to free up office space that could be allocated to commercial, thereby improving our profitability.”

During the renovation of its departure areas, MAG employed GIS to model the new retail spaces created and demonstrate passenger flow through these areas. With this valuable insight, the retail team could identify the retail units with the highest ‘footfall’ and market these premium units to higher-end retailers. MAG was able to optimise its retail revenues, as well as make cost savings by re-using the GIS visualisations for brochure illustrations.

Engineers at MAG use a mobile GIS application to log faults and request maintenance work while out and about on site. MAG then analyses this information and uses it to plan work strategically, taking into account aircraft departure and arrival times. “We can now schedule work to suit the business and minimise disruption to our airline customers at busy times,” Withnell says.

To improve the customer experience, MAG used GIS to visualise and analyse customer locations, socio-demographic groups, methods of travel to the airport, road and rail networks and car parking facilities. With this information, it could then target its marketing more precisely, sending information about train stations to potential customers in the areas where people most commonly travel via train and sending information about the most conveniently-located car parks to the people who travel by car. MAG saved money on its marketing, while delivering relevant information to customers that will improve the quality of their visit to the airport.

MAG’s community relations team used GIS to analyse flight paths, noise contours and residential areas and identify the individual properties that qualified for funding for secondary double glazing under the Sound Insulation Grant Scheme. “It was a positive exercise in community relations that resulted in over 2,000 grants being awarded to local people,” Withnell says.

Building on its many successes, MAG is now developing a new GIS, based on ArcGIS, to help it undertake long term asset planning. This advanced solution will simplify the entire asset management lifecycle and play a critical role in helping to shape the future growth of the organisation.

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