One of the most well known scheduling tools in European industry, Preactor has now been live at Vienna International Airport for more than year to optimize the day-to-day allocation of gates to incoming flights.
Until now this took many hours before Schengen (the agreement by some countries whereby passengers do not need to show a passport on arrival) went into operation and now because of the additional complexity and therefore constraints, an interactive decision support tool was required.
This needed to take into account the type of arriving aircraft, airline, number of transfer passengers, country of origin and outgoing destination, as well as the constraints of adjacent pier occupation, embarkation times, shift patterns of airport staff and so on.
Preactor is used both off-line to test alternatives rules and strategies on new flight schedules, and as an on-line tool to assign flights to gates using the rules made available to the users. Each day, as information arrives on passengers for the following day’s flights, this is automatically imported into the Preactor Gate Planner, flights added to the existing plan and appropriates reports produced.
Then, as changes occur to arrival and departure times these are assessed by the system for potential changes to the plan to be made either manually using the interactive electronic planning board or automatically as required.
Consultant Dr. K. Heinz Weigl was responsible for the Preactor configuration design, installation and training for the Vienna Airport Movement Team.
“The key to this successful project was the flexibility of Preactor to be configured to handle the complexity of the application combined with its graphical displays that offered true user interaction. The planners like to use it and with very little training were up and running within days. It has already produced major benefits for the Airport Authority.
Anton Pfeffer led the Vienna International Airport team.
“In the last weeks I analysed the statistics of 1998, which was the first year where the Schengen agreement was in force at Vienna Airport. Although there was a loss of flexibility and the allocation rules are quite complicated, the use of the piers was very efficient. The number of flight movements at the 20 pier positions was 77,518 which is 5,300 more than in 1997. This is an increase of 7.6 % compared to the 5.4 % in the total aircraft movements.
The number of passengers handled at the piers was 7,206,660 or an increase of 844,000 passengers (14.9 %). This result is better than what we could expect and was based on the daily work of the people of movement control and the use of the Preactor software”.