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  • Writer's pictureStephen Grice

Airport Arrival Simulation

Modelling International Airport arrivals and processing is essentially a series of process steps (Immigration, salivation booths, validation, and scanning) that are be performed in parallel.

The amount of parallelisation is determined by the number of resources allocated to each step. For example, the number of immigration agents assigned at a given time, or the number of salivation booths available. When the resources for a step are allocated then queues form. Passengers can be modelled as objects that work their way through a network of queues and processes.

Each of the processes is critically important but for the purposes of modelling all we need to know is the average (and variances) time it takes at each step. An exponential probability distribution function has been introduced each of the processes to simulate natural variations that occur in the real world. As a result each simulation is not deterministic.

Overall, the resources must be allocated to find an optimal solution that balances several factors. These factors include queue lengths and avoiding bottlenecks, passenger safety and comfort, and of course cost.

The goal of this model is to understand the effect of allocation of resources within this system of processing. To do this Rako Science has built a tool to runs simulations of airport arrivals.

Sample Model Files

The following table includes some sample files for Airport Arrivals. The files have been created from publicly known arrivals at Christchurch and Auckland airports for 16 January and 22 January.

Download TXT • 419B
Download TXT • 1KB
Download TXT • 2KB

The files are formatted in JSON with flight schedules which can be adapted by Airport companies logisticians/engineers to model different arrival scenarios at their specific airport.

Getting Started

  1. Download a sample file.

  2. Goto the simulation site.

  3. Click on Upload Model and select the file you downloaded in step 1 above

The model will run.


You can change a range of dynamical variables in the model.

The simulation tool allows the user to vary the following major factors

  • Number of resources allocated to each step

  • Time average time taken to process a passenger at each step

  • The arrival times of passengers (who arrive in plane loads)

The simulation tool can be used to run real world scenarios and to anticipate the performance required of the overall testing system. We intend to apply real world arrival data and realistic resources to each airport to optimise the design.

The goal is to use the simulation tool to balance the saliva queues and therefore to balance the resources in the overall system. Balanced resources in the model helps us understand the acceptable performance levels in terms of queue lengths and queue wait times.

Take a look at the metrics of the simulation on the Metrics tab.

You can edit the model file with a text editor and input values that are realistic for your airport, including expected arrival schedules.

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