EMMA Systems, which offers an artificial intelligence (AI)-based platform that is designed to help airports optimise their operations and increase operational transparency, is working with Zagreb Airport in its effort to build an efficient airport operations management platform as part of a wide-ranging airport collaborative decision making (ACDM) capability
EMMA Systems’ AI platform will offer “extensive functionality for the real-time monitoring of operations”, the company says, while also helping Croatia’s busiest air passenger gateway to comply with EUROCONTROL ACDM requirements.
EMMA is a real-time information platform that draws information from relevant airport partners. It can display pertinent data from multiple legacy systems on a web dashboard, thereby providing a single-view analysis of airport operations including flights, ground movements, weather, and passenger and baggage movements – even an aerial view of the airport’s runway.
This enables both the airport operator and its stakeholders to monitor ongoing operations, react to problems and analyse what might be done better. Indeed, the platform will suggest improvements and make predictions and forecasts.
EMMA Systems first started talking with Zagreb Airport about its requirements in 2022, prior to signing the joint agreement of collaboration early this year. “We presented our approach and organised a workshop before proceeding with the collaboration,” confirms Mohammad Hourani, EMMA Systems’ vice president products and chief operating officer.
The two partners have inked a deal that will see EMMA Systems provide the ACDM functionality of its airport operations management platform, enabling the airport to optimise the use of scarce resources.
The platform, says EMMA Systems, is based on a microservices architecture – one that consists of a collection of small, autonomous services and that therefore can absorb new solutions and features. “This allows for the quick development of additional services and the integration of multiple data sources into the platform, reducing development and integration time from months or years to just a few weeks,” a statement from the system provider says.
Using AI, the platform can analyse current and past traffic flows to accurately predict key timestamps and upcoming operational hindrances, improving operational predictability.
Nicolas Duthilleul, chief operations officer at Zagreb Airport, comments: “We look forward to working closely with EMMA Systems to develop a best-in-class ACDM approach and leverage the power of EMMA’s leading edge technology to help us improve the efficiency and overall sustainability approach of the airport.”
Hourani adds that Zagreb Airport “has been very collaborative, having pushed for this project”.
EMMA Systems has worked with Zagreb Airport to help fine-tune the latter’s concept of operations (CONOPS) for the platform, ensuring that it will be “fully in line” with the gateway’s expectations and ambitions. “We are extremely happy that Zagreb Airport has selected EMMA Systems as their partner to move to ACDM,” enthuses Wisam Costandi, CEO and co-founder of EMMA Systems.
“The airport has an ambitious development plan and EMMA Systems will play an important role to support its path to further growth and its ambitions to excel in passenger experience.
“EMMA is ideally placed to support the airport’s success now and in the future.”
So what is it that makes EMMA Systems’ platform stand out from the rest for an airport such as Zagreb? “EMMA Systems caters for the airport’s ambition [to implement the ACDM concept] because our platform fully supports the data exchange and stakeholder collaboration requirements for this project,” says EMMA’s Hourani.
“Moreover, the platform’s configuration options give the airport full control to deploy more components or ‘milestones’ in a phased approach.
“In general, our platform will make the airport’s airside operations more predictable. For that matter, we focus substantially on stakeholder collaboration by integrating all data related to the arrival, turnaround and departure process in a single, configurable dashboard and making it available through web access for all involved partners.
“This is further driven by a state-of-the-art messaging system to alert stakeholders of any operational issues. Besides the big hubs, smaller airports are also craving more situational awareness to support their decision making, and that’s exactly what we deliver with the EMMA platform.”
Furthermore, for airports like Zagreb, there are a number specific benefits, Hourani suggests, including the high degree of configurability of the EMMA platform that allows mid-sized (but also smaller or bigger) airports to tailor its functionality to their specific operational needs; and the fact that EMMA offers these functionalities by subscription, so smaller airports with potentially only a moderate budget to finance solutions can avoid the capital expenditure involved in acquiring such systems in their entirety.
Integrations are currently ongoing, and the platform should be operational by the end of this year, Hourani declares. The partners are actually already in phase 2 of the project. In phase 1, EMMA Systems conducted an extensive fact-finding exercise to understand the airport’s requirements and challenges, so it could tune these in with its platform.
Phase 2 kicked off with the delivery of a CONOPS that outlines how the platform will be preconfigured and put into operation according to business needs. Down the line and as part of EMMA’s turnkey solution, it will support the airport with training and project governance.
The platform offers pretty much an out-of-the-box solution for any customer. “As the saying goes, ‘when you have seen an airport, you have seen an airport’,” Hourani says. “So we have to consider the local legacy IT architecture of course to make sure we can optimally integrate with it, but for the user end, our platform is pretty much plug ‘n’ play with little intervention required from us to configure its functionalities.”
Away from Zagreb, EMMA Systems is currently in talks with several other European mid-size airports with a series of others in the pipeline awaiting the ‘go’ to start up operations, Hourani says.
Meanwhile, the company is always looking to add to and improve its product. “Our product roadmap always focuses on further improvements and enhancements for airport stakeholders,” Hourani informs.
“Our mission is to optimise airport operations by transforming data into valuable information not only for airports, but for airlines, ground handlers and all other stakeholders at an airport. Having said that, we are also currently developing an innovative tool that will improve flight cycle predictability, reduce manual updates and improve overall profitability to the airport community.”