Atkins with Heathrow Airport Ltd

Heathrow Airport, Europe’s busiest airport, faces a significant challenge: if you’ve ever waited more than 10 minutes in line at airport security, you’ll want to read on. 

Heathrow’s passenger numbers are expected to rise by 40% in the next three years to more than 100 million travellers a year- over a quarter of a million people a day, each one hoping for a seamless transition through the airport. Heathrow would rather their travellers were eating or shopping, generating revenue for the airport. 

But revised security protocols look set to create a different scenario. New regulations from the Department for Transport will require Heathrow to carry out more stringent safety checks on cabin bags. They will also require every passenger to go through a full body scanner – adding time and stress for travellers and staff alike. To add pressure, reputationally and financially, the Civil Aviation Authority will levy punitive financial measures if they register any queues longer than ten minutes. 

Existing security areas, processes, and staff levels clearly will not suffice. Piloting alternative ways of working is cost prohibitive and requires lengthy consultation.  

Atkins’ partnership with Heathrow Airport has revolutionised scenario planning and presented the organisation with workable solutions with minimal financial outlay. Atkins listened to staff ambitions and concerns, drew on expertise from around the company and created an elegant simulation of Heathrow’s security operation, leveraging meaningful data from around the business to test and refine new ways of working. 

The simulation enabled decision-makers to visualise and quantify the operational impact and cost of potential solutions; ensuring stakeholders could understand and buy into proposed changes. The approach delivered and embedded long-term performance improvements through optimising investment in technology, resource deployment and security floorspace. 

This new approach has helped Heathrow develop practical, deliverable operational and technological solutions to their new challenges.

View the Atkins company profile in the MCA Members Directory.