In Kittilä Lapland, delays are building up the only problem you can’t add more resources, with only 2 flights a day in the non tourist months it doesn’t make sense to build new parking lots and a air train. The number of visitors grows exponentially in the winter months as tourists flock to catch a glimpse of Santa Claus and the Northern Lights –– the humble-sized airport was spread thin trying to fit a higher-than-normal amount of planes to only 12 parking lots, while also securing enough airport buses and drivers to transport people between gates and planes. With frequent scheduling interruptions and unpredictable weather, the delay-causing puzzle was hard to crack.
The airport teamed up with a company called Reaktor to take a closer look at the airports problems. The company introduced a first ever automated parking plan which informs all airport operations. This decides which bus routes to run to allocating check-in counters and even giving landing clearance. Using data science a perfect plan is built. It even assigns non-Schengen planes to gates that are closest to passport control to speed up the process!
How much does this actually help? In December 2018 the number of delays were decreased by 61% while the delay time was decreased by 66%! This improved the holidays of over 100,000 people! The AI also lowered CO2 emissions!
What else is exciting? Encouraged by Kittilä’s sudden improvement, the company is taking the innovation to Ivalo and Rovaniemi in Lapland as well as to their crown jewel, Helsinki-Vantaa – an airport that serves over 20 million passengers each year. Visitors to Finland’s airports will soon find themselves relaxed and at ease: flying smarter means fewer emissions, lower costs, and less waiting.