Case Information

Team
Microsoft
Used Technology
Power BI

About the Project

Travel can be stressful, especially when flights are canceled or plans change. Heathrow Airport is using Microsoft Power BI and Microsoft Azure to make travel less nerve-wracking for the airport’s 80 million daily passengers. Heathrow uses Azure to pull data out of back-end business systems and push it to Power BI, which shows employees at a glance and in real-time how airport passenger traffic is changing so they can prepare. By using data to understand its business better than ever before, Heathrow is transforming the travel experience.

Step 1

Challenge

Heathrow Airport is the United Kingdom’s gateway to the world. Every day, 80 million people pass through Heathrow en route to parts unknown. The airport’s ambition is to deliver “happy passengers, traveling with their bags, on time.” It delivers on that promise using Microsoft Power BI to bring real-time operational data to life for 75,000 airport workers, who are better able to keep passengers moving smoothly through the airport through stormy weather, cancelled flights, and other disruptions.

Step 1

Time To Upgrade

Heathrow uses Microsoft Azure technologies to liberate data from operational systems—weather tracking, flight schedules, baggage tracking, cargo tracking, and others—and put it in the hands of gate agents, baggage handlers, and air traffic controllers, where it can do some good. Power BI is the secret. It converts this back-end data into visual reports and dashboards that deliver aha! insights to airport staff and employees. Say a shift in the jet stream just delayed the landing of 20 flights, putting 6,000 extra passengers in the airport at 6:00 PM. Previously, immigration, customs, baggage handling, and food services staff wouldn’t know about those extra passengers until they materialized, leaving staff to muster through as best they could.

Step 1

Customer Satisfaction

“With Power BI, we can very quickly connect to a wide range of data sources with very little effort and use this data to run Heathrow more smoothly than ever before,” says Stuart Birrell, Chief Information Officer at Heathrow Airport. “Every day, we experience a huge amount of variability in our business. With the Microsoft cloud, we’re getting to the point where we can anticipate passenger flow and stay ahead of disruption that causes stress for passengers and employees,” Birrell says.

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