De-Peaking and Commercial Opportunities
The number of security screening lanes, like any other passenger processing point in a terminal, is driven by peak-hour demand. Therefore, theoretically, it should be possible to flatten the peaks by controlling the time when passengers present for screening. The “flattening of the peaks” result in a lower number of screening lanes required and in more efficient utilisation of screening personnel, as peaks are lower in magnitude, but longer in duration.
This can be achieved by taking the concept of virtual queuing and extending it to include differential pricing that allows a passenger to pay a premium to obtain a virtual spot in the queue closer to their time of departure. For example, those travelling for business often want to arrive at the airport at the last possible moment, check-in virtually without hold luggage and move swiftly through security screening. They are likely to be willing to pay more for this faster process, with online booking and payment in advance before arriving at the airport.
For those passengers who are not in a rush and are less willing to pay for a desired place in the virtual queue, an algorithm will assign a time that would minimise the peak-demand while still guaranteeing adequate time to be airside before flight departure. With Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, it is now possible to have smart optimisation algorithms that achieve just that.