Articles, Blog

A Systems Approach to Airport Planning, Design, and Management

January 15, 2020


– [Lois] Good morning,
afternoon or evening, wherever in the world you may be. Welcome to the MIT System
Design and Management programs, Systems Thinking Webinar series. My name is Lois Slaven. I’m the communications director for SDM. And I’m here with our technical guru, Stephen DeRosa and our speaker, Professor Richard de Neufville. Professor Neuefville
will be speaking today on systems approach to airport planning, design and management. There will be time for Q&A at the end of the professor’s presentation. However, we ask that as questions arise, If you could kindly type
them directly into the chat section addressed to every
one, that would be great. And with that, I turn it over
to Professor de Neufville. – It’s not advancing for some reason. Excuse me, everyone. They’re my. There it goes. Whatever. All right, now. So welcome to the MIT webinar organized by the System Design
and Management Program, which is a master science
program for experienced design professionals here at MIT. The outline today is, first
of all, I want to talk about sort of the notion of
airport systems planning for the airport airline industry
and cover several issues. And the issues are basically
that this is a field where they are not doing system
design very much and it’s crying for your attention. So it’s clear they’re not
planning for airports as systems. They’re not designing them
individual airports as systems. And they’re not managing
the processes efficiently. Especially regard to queuing
behavior and space sharing. This is basically a field
in need of a rethink, which is part of what I have my colleagues and I’ve been trying to do. So the agenda item, first
of all, is refers to airport systems planning up there on
the upper right hand side, you have a picture of the book
and it’s not so much a cover as it’s actually quite thick. It was a wonderful book. Keep your door open. It’s a real doorstopper,
but it’s trying to cover everything you want to know
about airports and more. So this particular one is a new text. And that’s the second
edition just came out in May. And it’s new because
it’s about 50% rewritten from the original text of 10 years ago. And a lot has changed in the last decade. It’s amazing how fast this
field has been moving. What’s new in particular is
there is airline and airport privatization is now, in fact, worldwide. This changes the game
differently because the airlines now tend to compete on
commercial bases rather than an extension of the flying the
flag, whether it’s Britain or Japan or France. And also the airports have a completely, tend to have a completely
different perspective when they run as businesses rather than government departments. There is also an enormous
amount of recent research that’s come out from the United
States Airport Co-operative Research Program, and we cover
also those text new chapters on airline needs, the environment
and noticed there’s some great turmoil and
uncertainty in the markets. As a whole, airport airline industry is changing very, very quickly. And therefore there’s an emphasis
on flexibility and design because we have to be able
to have an agile adaptation to what is actually coming along, which was not the experience in the past. So the emphasis now is
that the book itself, I’m going to talk a little bit about it, is on the systems perspective. First of all, among
airports, it’s now the case that airports compete
globally with each other. So, for example, London competes
with Dubai for the traffic going from North America to,
say, India or Southeast Asia. You can either change in
London to go somewhere or you can change in Dubai. This is competition between these cities several thousand miles
apart, was not useful, used, practice before. Also, there are
competitions on the airport. We need to think about how
the pieces fit together. And this is where we need
some systems thinking because typically the plans
people get planning projects individually and independently. And then in detail, we need
to think about projects over time as each project
is part of a portfolio of possible projects. Now, there’s something about
the title I’d like to bring out because it’s
indicative of the approach. It is airport systems,
planning, design and management. It’s integrated. This is different from the usual fog, where it’s airport engineering. That’s one context or airport management talks about them separately. So really you want to think
about all these pieces together. So design is an extension of planning, that you would like to do a design right, you enable a range of possible choices. What you do not do is to design
something for one purpose only or with limited capabilities, and then you are stuck with
a solution which doesn’t work in the very well for
the past or the future, although I worked in the past. So an example of that is
Boston Zone International Terminal, which does cater
to international traffic and also to national domestic traffic. And it has a computer,
somewhat of a confused persona, various types. Equivalently, the management, the designs could be closely linked. But is the capacity of a facility depend on how it’s managed? So, for example, good
management will reduce the time people have to stay in
particular facilities and will therefore require
less space and it will save on construction and
operations in many ways. So there are various good
and bad examples of that. Singapore is excellent. Some others are not. We can discuss those in the Q&A period. I’d be glad to respond to
questions, actually respond to questions not only today,
but if we run out of time for your questions to
respond to them offline as you approach me directly. I’d also like to focus, notice that we focus on the
text my colleagues rely on, not airports alone. That’s a traditional
approach with the idea, that was based upon the
idea that airlines change their routes slowly, that airlines don’t influence of traffic. And all you had to do is to
worry about the airports. The fact is the world has changed. Airlines are now relatively free to fly where and what they want to do. There are open skies agreements. There are alliances between
airlines and make multiple airlines act together. There are low cost airlines. So airlines really
influence what’s happening in the airports. So, for example, Delta has recently quit Cincinnati as an airport. US AIR abandoned its hub in Pittsburgh. TWA folded and has left St. Louis. And what we need is do not
think just about the airports, but we need to focus on the
airport airline industry. Think of again as a system, but not just as a physical system but just as the arrangements
between the users seen globally or least internationally. Not just on a particular airport. Let me now mention also the U.S. Airport Cooperative Research Program. It’s almost 10 years old now
and it is an industry driven, applied research program. And it develops a lot
of practical solutions for airport operators. Now that has started is
issuing about 20 reports a year and it has done
some very good work. On the screen, there is a
citation and if this is recorded, you can look it up later
on or just remember that it exists. You can get all these reports
directly from the off the web and they’re free for distribution. A particular one that I’m
like, is this one here on addressing uncertainty
about future airport activity levels. And it is one of the really
innovative kinds of reports that’s available that I recommend to you. And in general, it has
a lot of useful material and is setting the tone
for current thinking. In terms of a new chapter chapters, one of the things that we
chapter we have by our colleague, Dr. Peter Bellow Barber of the MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics
Department, and he is focusing on how the airlines are affecting
the airports themselves. So one aspects is that you
have friends and fleets to, Surprisingly as compared
to people thinking about it earlier, do you have the trend to smaller, kind of large,
a wide body aircraft, the Dreamliner, for example,
as opposed to the very large A380, very, very large air aircraft. And this is so airlines
can offer frequency of services to more destinations. You now have a worldwide
acceptance that connecting hubs is the central model for
how airlines are going to be operating it, operating their
networks, has changed a lot. Deals also with the
importance of frequency in the scheduling procedure
and how that drives, in fact, the choice of smaller aircraft, where are they allowing the
air era airlines to compete on frequency of service
to various destinations Big change in the operations
in terms of faster turnaround times for aircraft, which means
that you need fewer gates, you get the airlines in the
air, more earning money rather than sitting on the ground. And that changes the design
of the airport passenger building the terminals. And of course, you have
lot of consolidations in development of mega carriers
that influencing the cost and reducing the costs
all over in real terms. And all these changes mean
that flexibility is a crucial aspect of system design for airports. Another chapter that’s new is
by our colleague Tom Reynolds, who’s at the Lincoln lab these
days, and the interesting aspects is that the
focus has changed a lot. On the one hand, we now
think about noise reduction in terms of having the aircraft
operate in particularly different ways than they had
before us to reduce the noise as they land and also they take off in terms of flight paths. A lot of emphasis now on air
quality and the kind of things you can do at the airport to
reduce de-icing fluid and oil spills and things of that sort. And the concern also greatly
about climate change, because one of the features of
airports is they’re typically located and formerly flat
areas, formerly in coastal areas where things are flat, often
in marshy, previously marshy areas as in Washington,
for example, or Boston. And sea rise is threatening
to a number of airports in the United States and around the world. And in general, there’s
a shift in emphasis, which is less on noise,
which is the major driver, in previous years and more
on a variety of other factors that need to be taken into account. Finally, let me emphasize to
everybody, the airport airline industry is the middle of
absolutely tremendous change. Airline bankruptcies and
consolidations are the headliners here in the United
States, since we started deregulation about. Well, 1978, as is the date
the national legislation was passed, which puts this
about 40 some years ago. We are coming in some way to
the end of the consolidations as very few airlines
that merged with anymore. But at the same time, we’re
having the development, all kinds of low cost carriers
which are back driving down the fares and driving the
bankruptcies and driving the consolidations and
mergers of the major airlines, which we call the legacy
airlines very frequently. And on top of that, there,
open skies agreements permitting airlines to flying
to many different destinations in the country so that we have
all kinds of shifts in route patterns and so forth. So, for example, I mentioned
the Dubai as a competitor. The traditional route from
the Europe to the U.K. in particular, the United
Kingdom, England to Australia was through Singapore. And recently Qantas decided
to basically close its base in Singapore and to reroute
everything through Dubai and change its pattern of flow. This is the kind of ship that
is occurring and illustrates the kind of competition there
is between airports widely apart in the world. So the routes are really
changing and this is can have a big impact on particular airports. So this story here is that we really don’t know what is next. Things are changing and we need to be agile in our thinking. A theme that I’ve indicated
already a couple of times. So the central theme of the
book is, in fact, flexibility. The issue is, given all the uncertainty, it’s best not to overcommit
when the future is unclear. Therefore, we should maintain
flexible flexibility to take advantage of new opportunities,
at the same time have insurance in the sense of
the ability to avoid bad situations to avoid downsides. That’s in part of an underlying
are stressing the idea that we don’t want to overcommit
and to have left with big facilities that we can
support because they are inappropriate for the
conditions that actually exist. And a lot of this is drawn
from the text I wrote with a colleague at Cambridge University, the University of Cambridge
nowadays, Stefan Filters. So now let’s think about in
detail the notion of planning for airports as systems. And the issue here is that we
haven’t really been planning for the many systems. Now, we can obviously note that airports have quite different functions. They are major transfer
hubs when the continental, intercontinental scale
such as Denver or Dallas, Fort Worth or Dubai or
Singapore and others. This is not a whole list. And these airports receive
passengers from all over, such as at DFW, at Dallas,
and then they come from, say, Japan to Dallas and they
want to go on to New Orleans or to Houston or other places
and they get off the plane and change for a final destination. That’s very different from
the range of what I’ll call business destination
airports like New York, LaGuardia or Washington. A downtown airport,
Washington, Reagan Airport, where people basically come in. Not all of them, of course,
but a lot of them come in for the day or a couple
of days ago right out. They’re not transferring any other place. It really serves a very different market. And of course, there’s a
lot of regional and low cost airlines, for example,
Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale labeled there, Miami, because is a Miami region. But it serves a particular
traffic, which is generally the low cost on holiday traffic, not the international
traffic that flows into Miami from and to Latin America, for example. So you have quite different functions. And as you can imagine, the
different functions form a kind of hierarchical network. In other fields, we
collectively devote a great deal of effort to analyze and design
such systems to make sure the pieces work together well. But the fact is, sadly,
that no one designs the airport system. This is overall is a problem. So the actual situation, for
example, in New in the United States, we have something
called the National Plan for Integrated Airport Systems. NPIAS as it’s commonly called. But it is really not a plan and nobody is going to act on. It’s an inventory of assets. It lists all the airport,
all the substantive airports, the United States and indicates what they individually like to do. But it’s in no way a
plan of what will happen. It’s a plan of what various
people’s wishes might be. And it doesn’t judge between them. So we really don’t have
any kind of national plan in the United States. We used to have such things
worldwide because at various countries, the national
governments were in fact the airport developers. So Transport Canada
played that role in Canada and there was a similar
organization in Australia. But these have these national
roles have been devolved to local authorities. So in Canada, they have
independent authorities in Montreal and Vancouver and Calgary
and Edmonton and so on, which do their own thing
and they’re are in fact, doing a very nice job at their own thing. But it is, again, not a national plan. And the same thing with Australia. And Australia is a little
bit worse in a certain sense, because whereas in Canada,
the it’s local authorities who are running the airports
for the benefit of their communities or provinces in Australia, a lot of the ownership
is in fact international where the owners of Melbourne
or Sydney or Brisbane are caring about running a
business but don’t particularly care about the future of Australia from a local point of view. What we have, in fact, is a massive global business run at the retail
level, uncoordinated plan by the participants with
minor market shares. So in some ways it’s mom and pop organization of a business. There are no big leaders with
significant market shares who are organizing things,
who are setting standards, who are investing on
research in how to operate and build efficiently. It’s a lot of relatively
small actors worldwide. So why does it matter? Well, it matters because they make errors, both a commission and a mission. Doing things they
shouldn’t have and forget, not managing to do
things they shouldn’t do. So, for example, we
have the United States, big examples of wasted investments. In Cincinnati, they used
to have, eight years ago, 22 million passengers
went through Cincinnati. It’s now down to six million. All the investments that
we’re committed in long term investments in buildings
that will be there for 20 or so more years are basically
wasted when you are down to basically 25% or
maybe 30% of the traffic that you used to have. Same way in St. Louis. It used to have 30 million
passengers a decade ago or so. It was down to 12 million and change. 10 years later on and in
between, a great effort, not just in terms of money,
but in terms of displacing a community, they build a
billion dollar plus runway, in which is hardly used at all. I mean, it is used. I think the latest report is
that five percent use of it, but it’s in the sort of in
the wrong place and unneeded. And if it weren’t there,
nobody would miss it. So this is the kind of thing
that happens when there isn’t a kind of overall view
and longer term national or international perspective. It’s not designed as a system. But the areas also are can be of omission. So, for example, right now the
U.K., the English government is thinking about how we’d go
about building more airport capacity for the London
area because its airports are by and large, like
Heathrow and Gatwick, are filled to the brim, so to speak. And the sad portion about this
is that it is only now that this topic has really been
considered when the capacity is already quite full
and it will take them if they manage to do it,
it will take them a decade or more to get the planning permissions, the approvals and do the
construction and everything. And by that time, the capacity
will been worse than a lot of the traffic will have been
forced to move to other places and not, for example, have
as much having operations in the London areas had been used to. So in terms of competition
with Dubai that I mentioned or indeed with even Frankfurt in Paris, London will be behind us. So it’s inadequate forward planning at a national or as a scale. So, what would be desirable? It would be desirable if there
were major airport groups that could create coordinated
systems of airports to the economies of scale. If we could move from an
industry which instead of having sort of small local organizations
important to their own, but on a global scale, mom and pop scale, we could have larger entities to do this and a coordinated that. So there is one. Fedex, the cargo carrier, if
you want to distribute things which in fact, by the way,
is probably the most valuable and largest airline in the world in terms of aircraft and movements. You don’t see it very much
because you’re not a piece of cargo and you don’t fly
overnight to Memphis to get sorted out, to go somewhere else. But as a shipper, these
are their major force. It is establish a chain of
airport assets built and made largely to its specifications. So it is in order to run its business, it has created a network
of coordinate facilities which it basically owns and
operates at various airports. So this is one kind of
model that might develop. Another model which hasn’t
occurred here, anywhere, but it’s in some ways a hotel chain model. But is there some entity
that has coordinated design and management of assets. So you can think about your
favorite airline chain, Hyatt, Sheraton or whatever you
would like to mention. But they run thousands of
properties around the world or lease a thousand
properties around the world and have done so in a way to
really make sure that their new properties are done
on a with a system design. They have economies of scale
and they don’t have to own the properties themselves,
but they operate them and they operate some very efficiently. Whether you like their service
or not is another issue, but they certainly are efficient
as compared to individual hotels, each trying to
do it on their own way. And it could be possible
that airport companies such as exist could do such a thing. But we’re not there yet in anyway. We haven’t gotten to, We haven’t developed the
Wal-Marts of airports. We haven’t developed the
company which will be efficient and deliver the services
at a much lower prices than the traditional arrangements. You move on at this point
to this notion of designing individual airports as systems. Again, this is something that
is not particularly done. And the observation here
is that we’re in a business where the design loads on airports are common internationally. Whether you are in Boston or
Dallas or Singapore or Dubai, we’re using the same kind
of aircraft, basically. Boeing or Airbus and
maybe some others Embraer or bombardier’s in smaller airports. But people in bags are
pretty much all the same. They are about the same size. The bags are fairly standard. So it’s a common kind of load. And you’d expect that if you
have facilities with the same kind of loads, you might
find out with the efficient solution was and design accordingly. When we talk about runways,
these are very standardized. They are by the International
Civil Aviation Organization as part of the United Nations. Whether you are in Argentina or Armenia, they’re basically designed to the same kind of specifications. There’s some marginal
differences, but it’s a fairly standardized activity
and everybody basically knows the rules. However, when you come to
the notion of passenger buildings, which, by the way,
collectively the investment in passenger buildings
is generally larger, than the investment in the
runways themselves these days or has been for some time. Everything is different. There is no standardization. Everything is custom tailored. There are no real efficiencies. It is a system waiting to have a system, design and management. So. The traditional approach is
that almost every airport building is original. Everything is different. What typically happens for
any project is they have some kind of design competition
and select an architect and particularly for the major
airport you have signature architect as internationally famous ones. They want to, They vie to see who could
have the most fascinating, interesting design so they can be reported in the architectural magazine. And they are all custom tailored,
typically quite expensive because they’re one of their kind. People have to learn how to build them. And there is in this context,
there’s a lot of attention to roof lines, the kind
of thing that you can see when you’re in a helicopter
hovering over the airfield, but you do not see when you’re inside. They also love attention to
one of a kind custom interiors. But none of this is really
focused on efficiency or operations on the
short or the long term. They come in all shapes and
sizes and interior conveyances. They also favor local suppliers
so they can give local producers of equipment
their own chance to be seen. All this is very good, but it
means that they are in effect reinventing the wheel
and as they’re doing it and they’re not typically
very experienced in doing Air Force because they
don’t do very many of them, they make all kinds of mistakes. So let’s just take a look
at some of the possibilities that we have here. So this is Denver, tepees in a plain. Now, actually, it’s part of
a runway, but they’ve taken the picture from this site
boasting about it to emphasize how it is not an airport, but it’s tepees. Because of the various
elevations there between where this picture is taken
and where the building is, which goes for several stories
underneath these tents, which is the roof line there. There are some runways. But this is to give you an idea of what they are designing for. Tepees on a plain. It’s not efficiency of
an airport operation. Here’s another one coming
up, when they load there. This is the Shinkansen Ikuko
or the new Kansai airport. And for Osaka Build
now about 20 years ago, is designed by Renzo Piano. The image there is a “Bird in Flight” and it’s nice curved glass roof. It’s wonderful. The issue, however, is
that we are on an island that’s still, which is consolidating. So there’s differential settlement underneath this building. We’re also in an earthquake building. So you can imagine what it’s
like to try to make sure that a glass roof does not
bust up in an earthquake area as there are considerable
differences in settlement from one end of the other. Their solution, by the way,
is that underneath this glass roof in the basement,
there are huge jacks, I think several hundreds of them. I don’t know the exact
number where they can raise or compensate for the
differential settlement to keep everything cooled off. Damages if you’re keep
sticking matchbooks underneath the legs of the table to keep this level. So a wonderful picture, not
efficient, and one of its kind. Here’s another one. This is Norman Foster. The image here was a jewel block box. It’s definitely. When you look at nighttime,
when there’s lights inside and it’s suddenly in
the middle of the plains of northeast of London, you have a glowing building in there. He was also very proud. The architecture firm was very
proud that all the counters and everything was designed
uniquely for this building. There was no other anywhere
else in the world like it. Of course, it makes
replacement somewhat difficult when you have everything
designed for particularly for just one small airport. And it’s very hard to expand. So that’s one inside. Here is another one that his competitors, his great competitor
Richard Rogers designs. This is at Madrid. It’s all about the roof. You can see or mostly you
can see on the bottom level where your gate is because
there’s all that stuff going on inside and it’s quite confusing. Just, by the way, so
confusing that they have had, last time that was there,
they had a large number of employees in yellow jackets
were giving information because so many people were
getting lost that they had to have people to redirect
them in various places. It’s so wonderful roof. And again, one of its kind. And you can imagine this is
an expensive construction. So why does all this matter? I mean, the buildings
are arguably wonderful, but why does matter? Well, it matters because
it can be extremely costly, because when you do
something for the first time, you often make mistakes. And because it’s very
confusing to the passengers. So, for example, there
is no learning this. Oh, I did it this way once. I know I’m doing the second time. I can do it better. There’s no economist
scale and the structures are difficult to build. So, for example, the
terminal five at London, the latest building there
costs seven billion dollars. Just by comparison, the construction, the entire Denver
International Airport was about three and a half billion. So you can imagine how expensive this is. Mistakes. So, Denver itself had wanted
again, a unique system. It was an automated baggage system. It delayed the opening of
the airport by 15 months. During that time, it cost the
airport $30 million a month. This is the interest on the on the capital that they couldn’t recover. And of course, the keeping
the building warm and clean and altogether, this
innovation cost them about half a billion in round numbers because they wanted to be unique. Also, at least two incredible
passenger confusion. It’s not confusion because, Well, confusion in part
because every time you come to a new airport, you
don’t have very much to go by because things are all different. It’s hard to know what to expect. It’s not like going to some facilities where it’s the same thing. Most everywhere, you know it’s expecting and find your way around. So just to give you an example,
at this airport in Madrid, where I showed you a
picture of it, Barajas. I made this count the
last time I was there, and I was going from Boston
to Bilbao and changing that in terms of my
orientation as my path, I had 14 complete turns in
order to get from my first plane to the second. That is circular staircases. Got back and for turning
around, doubling back. It’s no wonder that they had
to have nice people standing around orienting people. This is not the only example,
though, at Frankfurt I made a similar calculation or
estimate the kind of thing I do when I go through
airports that coming to it by, the suburban train from, Well, coming from a certain
train to board an aircraft in Terminal two, I changed 17 levels. I had to go down underneath the roadway, then up four levels to a
train between stations, then down to the check
end and up several levels to the departure levels and
down to the runway level from that place and
then up into the plane. All in all, I counted 17. I may have missed one or recounted one, but these are the kind of thing
where it’s very confusing. So what could be different? What could be different is
to recognize that airport buildings are a billion
dollar business investments, that we should develop a
layer system architecture. As for computer systems
to enable standardization, economies of scale, continuous
learning, and we need to move from a handcrafted to industrial design. That is from going to
everything is handcrafted, bespoke tailoring and one to
say some kind of common design. So let me close with some discussion about the management aspect. in particular talking
about queuing processes and space sharing. So there’s two observations
I’d bring here. One is queues. That there is waiting and
congestion everywhere. And the second aspect is while
there’s waiting congestion, because you kind of get the
service you’d like to have, to check in security,
gate processing, whatever. Much of the airport
building is used unused most of the time. That’s the remarkable thing. That is a lot of it’s not busy while you are in a busy queue. Now, you know what I mean by queues. You experience them a lot. I don’t have to describe them more. And the other one, though,
I draw your attention to, because you don’t see it because you’re in the
busy portion generally. What happens at the check-in peaks for the different airlines and services are different times. So while one aspect is busy,
the one that you’re probably in because you’re like most
people going at the busy times, Other ones, gate, gate lounges, security checks are not busy. They’re actually quite empty. So you have a lot at any time. You have a lot of idle
facilities at the wrong time and place and so forth. Somehow the Personify quit unexpectedly. So you’ve missed my pretty face, but I hope you still see the screen. What’s that? – [Man] We’ll do without
it for the remainder. – [Richard] Okay. You’ve seen it once. Two seconds on my face
is enough for anybody. But here we go. So let me move on. Why this happened. So let’s talk about the queues. So one reason you get these queues, is there’s a misunderstanding and poor management coordination. That is, first of all, a
misunderstanding of capacity. So we can talk about the nominal
capacity of what something, what a process continues can deal with. Everything’s working very smoothly. However, if we take the
ratio of the actually use as compared to the nominal
capacity, which traditionally has the symbol of the Greek
thing, that looks like a P, but is rho, what happens
is that the delays and unreliability increase exponentially. Although there might be a
normal capacity of a thousand. The realistic capacity
may be considerably less. And this is what a lot of designers and operators don’t think of. They say, oh, well, let
me just have the right number of servers, whether
it’s TSA officials or whatever, to meet the average load. But almost by definition,
you have the wrong number when you do that. So and why is it part of
the management coordination is that you have all
these delays and queues, which means that people have
less time after the queues or in the shopping and from
the airport as less revenues. And it would make a lot of
sense for the airports to be able to speed things up so that
you could use their services and enjoy them more. But the fact is the various
parts of the airport do not in general coordinate very well. There are all kinds of institutional
reasons for that is not that people don’t understand
the issue, but the fact is, the issue is not addressed very
successfully in many places. Moreover, for queues,
there’s also the fact that there’s a direct
relation between the speed of processing and the space needed. The faster the processing,
the less waiting in line, the less space needed. So if you a, If don’t a have a queue, you
don’t have a lot of people lined up and you don’t have to provide a lot of space for them. And what this means also
in various places is that now that we have more automated check-ins, in terms of people come to the
airport with their boarding passes and everything,
they don’t need to check-in so that the old check-in
counters with lots of space in front of them are often
empty simply because the process is speeded up and they don’t
need that space anymore. So good management uses this
notion to save on waiting area. So, for example, in
Singapore, they have excellent processing times and they have
much smaller waiting areas. reduces the cost besides making things more enjoyable for you. Now, there’s also this notion
of empty space that the usual practice is decide each
element of the airport building separately. So they say how much do we
need for the lounge space, how much we need for each storage? How much for corridors? And they add all this up. So there’s 1000 passengers. They have 1000, space for
1000 passengers for the gate, for the percentage that uses
the storage and so forth. But any particular person
only uses one space at a time. So there’s enormous double counting. Also, the needs arise a different time. So, whereas one aircraft is
boarding and has got a lot of people waiting for the
next flight across the hall is not boarding yet. There aren’t very many people on it. So there’s big opportunities for different functions to share. And depending upon the
situation, as there’s up to 50%, savings are possible
in many cases compared to what is actually done. So let me now give a good
example of airport system design to sort of show the kind
of thing that can happen. And this is Terminal five
at New York Kennedy Airport. A JetBlue Terminal. It cost about $750 million, 25 gates. And it had a very
extensive system planning, design and management. There may be something
equivalent elsewhere. I don’t know of it yet, but this is a very interesting design. So, first of all, here’s this picture of. You may not notice what
I immediately notice and what the architects notice. But it’s an industrial design. So all in old bumps on the roof there, are the air conditioning
service units which viewed from the air, make it look
as if it was full of warts. But of course, as you are in
it and you’re on the runway, you don’t see this. But having a flat roof with
these facilities up there rather than a fancy car roof
is very much less expensive. So that’s one aspect of it. Now, here’s a plan, and
what you might observe is in the light green
and inside the building, these are lounges which, for
example, looking on the far right hand side, you have
five aircraft position. They’re all sharing the same place. It’s an easy thing to imagine. You’ve seen examples of
that in a number of places. But what it means is
instead of having five times the lounge is required for one aircraft. You have about half of what it would otherwise be calculated. It’s really common sense, often not done, but done here very nicely. So common lounge areas and the whole space of this is very efficient. But that’s not all. So here is their, Part of their lounge space,
you can see the aircraft is about 100 feet from
where this picture is taken. And you have these things that look like a business center with computers. What does that actually
is, is a restaurant, among other things. That is you can sit at these, order from, well, you like Papa Gino’s and I want the salad. You can order from different restaurants that are scattered behind you. Well, you can’t see them. Which you can also be at
if you really want to. And the wait person will
bring the food right there. So you have a common use of lounge, shared space, business area and
everything all in one place, meaning that it is in fact
very economical in terms of overall space provided. And when you consider that the
space for an airport easily cost something on the order
of a $1000 per square foot, in terms of all fitted out saving, this can lead to a great deal of saving. So here is an airport which
is not built on the cheap. You can see this is very
nicely equipped, but is in fact very inexpensive in overall
terms, especially considering it was built in New York
City where it’s expensive to build most anything. So I’d like to close
now and leave a chance for questions that might arise. But the whole point is
that we can do better. This whole business of airport planning, airport, which my colleagues
and I would prefer to call airport systems, planning,
design and management needs a rethink and
needs a systems approach, all across the spectrum. And we need to get beyond
an excessive fragmentation of the industry. It probably needs some
kind of reorganization. In many ways, this is
obviously going to take time, but our job in some ways is
looked ahead to the future and not to be stuck in the past. Thank you very much for your attention for these last minutes. – [Lois] Thank you,
Professor de Neufville. We have several minutes for Q&A, and I would like to invite everyone to type your questions
directly into the chat section and address them to everyone. We’ll give you a few moments to do that. And in the meantime, a shameless promotion for the upcoming MIT SDM
Systems Thinking conference, which will be held on
October 10th here at MIT. The theme is big data, a systems approach. And it will focus on,
going beyond the numbers. We hope you can attend. We will be sending out a promotion. And with that, I again invite
you to type your questions directly into the chat
section addressed to everyone. Okay. From Ted Graciella, what can
be done to salvage deserted resources like the St. Louis Airport? – [Richard] Well, that’s a
difficult question to answer. I mean, the people who are doing it there are doing their very best. But basically it was massively
overbuilt, as you may know, from personal experience. And there’s not too many
things you can do with a long runway that isn’t particularly needed. So the best way to salvage
it is not to create the situation where you
have it in the first place. I mean, one of the
things that’s remarkable about this is that it was
obvious to industry observers that TWA, which was the
main operator at St. Louis was in very difficult
situations and was in need of last rites, which it eventually got. And to build a big billion
dollar facility for a tenant that wasn’t gonna be there
was not the best call that you could have done. So they had the opportunity
to delay the investment, to scale it back. But no, they had to go ahead. They built it and now
they’re left with it. So call it what you want, but it’s the best opportunity to avoid. The problem was not
created in the first place. – [Lois] Okay. From one of our SDM 13 fellows. Juan Romeu. Sorry, if I mispronounced your name. He would like to know if there’s
an actual project ongoing that is putting in practice
some of these ideas. – [Richard] Well, there
isn’t particularly a project. But my colleagues at MIT
and indeed elsewhere, but are trying to get people
to think about how to do these things much better. Calling attention to things
like the JetBlue terminal and works that create such things. In fact, the problem is
that old habits die slowly. Architects like to have monuments
that they are famous for. The local authorities want
to do their own thing, not to have something
copied from somewhere else. So it’s slow going in
many ways, unfortunately. One of the things they say
sometimes about science is that progresses funeral by funeral. That you have to wait until
the new generation comes along rather than convert the old generation. – [Lois] Okay, Thank you. From SDM alumn, Doug Hague. You asked, do you have a
recommended governance structure for airport management? For example, Charlotte is
currently in the courts over how to manage. Should they have a city
versus regional authority? Neither seems right, but
the main controlling factor is who is on the hook for the bonds. – [Richard] Well, I can’t
comment particularly on the Charlotte case because
I’m not familiar with it. But one of the things that, one of the big discussions in the area is, goes along the following lines. That airports have been run traditionally by government agencies. Government agencies aren’t necessarily known for their efficiency. We need to have private
operators, less privatized, and transform the airport
into private companies. So the big tension is
between public ownership or private ownership. And neither of those extremes
works particularly well because there is a strong
public interest in the operation of an airport is vital to the community. You don’t want a private operator to operate as a monopolist. And if you have a private operator, you have to have a regulatory structure. And the cases where there’s a regulation and a private operator, lead
to very difficult situations. In fact, in the United States largely and its parallel in Canada,
but different model. We have a system where there is a. The community, whether it’s
the state, as in Boston or the city and elsewhere,
the community has an authority which owns the airport,
but its individual pieces are basically privatized. So the parking garage
may be run by a company. Individual airlines
will run their airports. FedEx will run its cargo
areas so that you can combine the public ownership of
the ground and the private operations which tend to be more efficient on the various facilities. So that kind of hybrid
arrangement tends to be best. I know I haven’t solved
that thing or addressed specifically the question of Charlotte, but I think that we’re whether
it’s the city or the larger community operating the way
they do in the United States. It’s probably a good a
pretty good solution compared to other alternatives. – [Lois] Thank you. We have many more questions
and we’ll go as long as Professor de Neufville is available. I’d like to remind you all
that Professor de Neufville will be available by email
to discuss your questions. So please feel free to
enter them even if we don’t have time to get every single one. From James Murphy. Seems like you address
the need for efficiency and cost savings, but the desired state of many airports is uniqueness. What are some of the major
beneficial goals and objectives that could be the drivers to
doing the systems approach rather than turning
art-oriented facilities, as you just mentioned,
for today’s airports into Wal-Mart type facilities? – [Richard] One of the things
that’s happening at airports is that low cost airlines
are to some extent tending to drive the new designs. I say to some extent because
it is not widespread. But the fact is that
the low cost airlines, which have always been seen as, or traditionally been seen as marginal, are now becoming very important. So Southwest Airlines,
to give you an example, is now by far, by far the
largest carrier of domestic passengers of the United States. So one of the things that
airlines such as this do when they’re negotiating
with airports as to whether they will fly to a place
or under what terms they will fly is to insist
upon more efficient services. Whoops. Still owed. The lights just went out. I don’t know why. But they came back on. The more efficient services. So in many ways, where
I think this will go is they will have cost conscious airlines. Basically saying that if
you want our business, you will operate in a way
that reflects this cost consciousness that you
design to our requirements and our standards. And this is the situation, I think, which will be coming to pass. It’s not there yet. But I think that’s, That will be the driver. – [Lois] Thank you. How are you doing for time, professor? – [Richard] I can do it. – [Lois] Okay. From, John Bruno. Considering that the
traffic forecast conditions, the design of the terminals, which design points should be chosen? For example, a five
year forecast, 10 years, 25 years, et cetera. – [Richard] I think the
question is in some ways a variant on that. That’s a very good question. That is, we might want
to be thinking about how we would deal with a 25 year forecast, should it come about. But that does not mean we
have to build it for now. So I could think about saying, right, we will start off with a
smaller module of a terminal. And as the need develops, if
it develops, we will expand it or if a module that we
have now is not suited to the kind of aircraft we
will have 10 years from now, we can add onto it in
a most appropriate way. So I think that we want to commit it. Do we want to align our
commitments to what we know. But we also want to plan for
the future the same time. So think long term, act short term. It’s basically how do
you think about playing a game of chess? You think 10 moves ahead if you can? I can only get to about three or four. But you think moving
ahead, but you only act one move at a time. So you mediate between
both extremes, I think. You don’t build for a 25
year forecast immediately. Thank you. – [Lois] From, Alex Connect. First, I want to say thanks
to Professor de Neufville for this great presentation. I think it was very enlightening. My question is, don’t you
think that standardization in terminal building can
lead to a loss of flexibility in its everyday operation,
drifting designers away from usually needed unique,
uniquely tailored solutions and thus making it
difficult to their adaption to future changes on demand? – [Richard] Well, no, not particularly. I think. I mean, it’s sort of like your
laptop computer, for example. You have it. It is designed in a standard way. And one of the things that
it’s designed with is USB and other ports to allow you to add on all kind of things that you want. So you can perfectly well
have a standard design with the flexibility to
accommodate different situations. And at least you can
have standardized parts so that you can think
about the, for example, the kinds of horizontal
elevators that you see. People movers that you
see in many places are now converging into a couple of major designs. So you have people who
repeat the design again and again and makes it much
more efficient as compared to it was before. You can still have
standardized basic parts with the flexibility as
to what you put together. – [Lois] Okay. This one’s very interesting. They’re all very interesting, but this one really piqued my interest. It’s from, Elon Simon. How does flexibility
work with the changing requirements of security? This constraint may not be
linear in nature in terms of added delays and can be
detrimental to the design. – [Richard] Well, this
is one of the things about flexibility. That you want things not only in terms of increment and size. We might or might not
need to double the size of this facility, but you’ll
also want to think about game changers as they may exist. For example, how things might just be operated very differently. So the way you think
about that in some ways is to to avoid very hard
barriers between various particular elements so that
you can reallocate space so that, for example, think
of spaces which have a larger open areas and don’t have structural walls and in between them. Now you can’t anticipate
every conceivable thing, but you certainly can think
about the kinds of things that may happen and ask yourself
the question as a designer or as a manager, what would we do if? And if you cannot answer the
question to your satisfaction, then you might not. Then you might want to change the design. So the security is one aspect of it. But the ways, and many
ways to deal with is to ask the various questions about
what could be different and how you’d react to them. – [Lois] Okay. From another SDM almumn Keith Breton, who is with NASA and The
Kennedy Space Center. NASA is currently reconfiguring
its space launch facilities using an airport operations model. Traditionally, launch
facilities were unique to launch vehicles. We are now trying to design
facilities to accommodate multiple launch vehicle
configurations with little consideration for aesthetics. What lessons can we learn
from airport studies? – [Richard] That’s a very
interesting because I think as you’re suggesting,
there is more and more sort of commercial launches. And whereas we may not be sort of space, air and transport very frequently,
there certainly would be a lot more commercial
launches in various places. So I guess I don’t feel very
comfortable trying to sort of say exactly what should
be learned from this, but it seems like one
should certainly consider the possibilities, as I guess people are. But I don’t have a good answer to that. But thank you for a most
interesting question. I will give me some to think about. – [Lois] From, Edgar Humanez. – [Richard] Well, Edgar. – [Lois] There are some
airport companies managing a large number of airports. For example, AENA, but they
don’t seem to have advanced a lot of standardization. So how can the gains in
efficiency and cost effectiveness pass through the bureaucracy
of large corporations, even if not owned by government? And by the way, thanks
for a great presentation. – [Richard] Thank you, Edgar. I hope you’re doing well. I think of you in Portugal. So. it is clear, as you
say, that AENA in Spain has not standardized and is not as a government organization, been known for its rapid flexibility. But being a large company does not mean that you cannot have standardization. One of the keys for the
success of FedEx, for example. And for that matter,
of Southwest or Ryanair is that they have, in fact, standardize. They use a common fleet, for example. They have common procedures and so forth, so that many companies
can organize around this. I mean, the example is
hotel chains that have got the art of preparing rooms
and organizing things and training their personnel
and all their computer support systems and got it down to a fine art. So I don’t think that there
is an inherent obstacle to efficiency in large
corporations when the large corporation sets
themselves that as a goal. So that is a future that would hope to see at some point. – [Lois] And one last
question from, let’s see. Joe Stanford. He says, Unfortunately,
I missed the first half. So maybe this was discussed already. Please forgive me if it was. Surely there must be a way
to gain the efficiencies and other benefits of having
an underlying standardized architecture while still leaving
some room for aesthetically tailoring airports to local
taste environments traditions. So the question is, how
could you encourage or enable ongoing diversity in aesthetics? – [Richard] Well, I think that’s. I don’t think that the
local initiatives need to be encouraged because it’s
pretty plain they’re there. But I think that you’re absolutely right, that you can have a
standardized basic structure, of why we shouldn’t lot to
make it the airport reflect it’s local conditions. So that Portland, Oregon, for
example, the airport has been known in the past for that characteristic. So that without being a super
fancy architectural design, it features a lot of wood,
which is a local product. It features local products in the stores. And they make a special airport, make a special effort to
be a Portland airport. When you get there, you sort of know that you are in Portland,
because it has a character. On the other hand, in
terms of its operation, it’s fairly standard
design as I understand it, from the last time I was there. So I think there is. It isn’t that difficult to put
a local branding on something which takes advantage of
standardized elements. – [Lois] Thank you. There is one more quick
question which I can answer from Billy Damene. Damene Res. Sorry if I’m murdering your name. Is the presentation downloadable? The answer is, it will be
later this week and everyone who has registered will be
sent a link to the presentation and the recording along
with info on how to contact Professor de Neufville, if
you have further questions or anything you’d like to
discuss, as well as another shameless promotion of the October 10th SDM Systems Thinking
Conference on big data. I’d like to express our
appreciation for too, Professor de Neufville, for
yet another fantastic webinar, and to all of you for
your wonderful questions and your interest in the
webinar series in general. Have a wonderful day. And once again, you’ll be
sent a link later this week. – [Richard] Thank you, everybody. Nice to meet you, as it were. Look forward to hearing from you later on.

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