Schiphol’s Airport Community App: Qualitative airport data at hand

The many airport processes and the dependencies between them, create a specific information need for airport staff, airlines and ground handlers. Schiphol’s Operational Flight API enables Airport Community app users to receive detailed, up-to-date and real-time flight and other important information on their mobile device. Making them more agile in responding to changes in their work processes, on time.

Combining information

‘How can we provide our staff with accurate and up-to-date flight data on a mobile device?’. A valid question from Schiphol’s floor management that triggered the start of the Airport Community app. The need for operational staff on landside and airside was to get updates and real-time operational information that goes beyond the information currently shown in the Schiphol app.

The Schiphol Airport Community app was meant to provide ‘just’ real-time, detailed flight data, insights in passenger flow data and forecasts and a solution for issue reporting, on a mobile device. But when supplier AirportLabs gave a demonstration of the possibilities, it was clear that we could easily include many more features to support airport staff of almost any department, airline or ground handler.

Qualitative data is key

The key success factor for the app was finding the right qualitative data. The wealth of information now used in the Schiphol Airport Community app, comes from various Schiphol and third-party APIs and functionalities. The most important Schiphol APIs that feed the app are the Operational Flight API and Wait Times API. Especially the Operational Flight API is well-defined and offers detailed, consistent and accurate flight information. Information that is consulted the most in the app.

Responding to changes more quickly and efficiently

The comprehensive and accurate data in the Operational Flight API makes that airport staff have all the information they need at their fingertips. This enables them to respond to changes more quickly and more efficiently.

Floor managers for instance, can anticipate more efficiently to disruptions and adjust their planning and/or instruct their staff accordingly. A smoother process also means less disruptions or changes such as gate changes. And when they do occur, our staff is able to respond better and more quickly to the effects of these disruptions or changes, because they are well informed.

Short development time

Due to the availability of all the data, needed for the app, the development time was relatively short. The cooperation and advice of both the Developer Center and the app supplier, also helped speeding up this process. As did the willingness of London Gatwick airport to share their learnings with us, about the implementation of their app.

The development continues…

In the (short-term) future, the app will become even more complete with the inclusion of prognoses for the number of passengers (per area) and a disruption API. With the latter the app will also be able to send back a status notification if the disruption is already known.

We believe that the app is going to be very successful. Specifically, because the needs of potential users are at the core of the development process. There is an open dialogue with staff, airlines and ground handlers, to learn what they want and need in the app. Including the disruption API in the app, which was definitely a ‘demand’ from our target audience. This new API is currently in development and will be implemented as soon as it is available.

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