Case study: AGS_

In December 2014, Aberdeen International Airport Limited, Glasgow Airport Limited and Southampton International Airport Limited were sold to AGS Airports Limited, a consortium of Ferrovial and Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA).

Macquarie and Ferrovial have a long established and successful relationship, working together across a number of infrastructure projects and partnerships in airports, including Bristol and Sydney.

Macquarie have an extensive portfolio of airport investments across the globe, with stakes in Brussels, Copenhagen, Delhi, Hobart and Hyderabad airports. Ferrovial has been involved with the aviation industry since 1998, and in that time have invested in 32 airports across the UK, Italy, Australia, Chile, Mexico, amongst others.

The challenge

The implementation of a mobile application proposed by the Digital Passenger Experience Project to complement the introduction of multimedia totems to Glasgow Airport and enhancements to the GLA website. It was identified as an enabler for other things to meet the project objectives, which are as follows:

- Develop and implement a Glasgow Airport mobile application that is synchronous with the website and Totems.

- Develop a mobile application that can be used as an enabler for push notifications and customer data gathering.

- Provide a mobile application that provides the user/passenger with an easier route to airport information and increasing customer satisfaction as a result.

- Extend the developed app to other airports from the group, starting with the Aberdeen airport.

implemented solution

The app was created to cover all device types on Apple and Android. It was important to created a platform that was easy for passengers to understand, quick for them to use and helped in the context of the situation that they were in. Primarily, this was focused on flight information, but the app also helps with wayfinding, food and beverage, retail and provides information about our range of products and services.

The app now connects into the wider AGS digital footprint, which has been in progress since late 2018. The vision for AGS digital is to create a world-class digital passenger experience, and the app complements this well. In early 2020, AGS deployed Bluetooth beacons throughout Glasgow and Aberdeen Airports. These beacons support the app threefold:

- On-demand push notifications used to support wayfinding and other information, such as their special assistance service and COVID-19 updates.

- Deliver capacity-driven notifications to encourage users to take advantage of the wide range of retail units across the airport with the information anonymously translated back to our operational teams to help analyse passenger trends.

- Support on-demand deals within the terminal, given booking and purchase habits have changed in the advent of the current pandemic.

Result

Flight data was, and still is, the number one reason that customers use AGS airport apps, but it’s not the only reason. It has always been difficult to present this information, given that it must be in real-time, and so the main challenge was to create a solution - the app - to allow customers to view flight information in the palm of their hands. The original project was conceived in 2018 and was connected not only with the AGS digital vision, but also the group’s wider digital passenger experience project.

Client opinion

Fraser Ralston

AGS Airports Ltd.’s Group Head of Digital

Throughout the design phase we experienced several challenges, specifically when it came to the number and sheer volume of devices that we had to engage with. The supplier we worked with created an app for pretty much every device on the market, covering both Android and Apple. This was no mean feat, as we ensure that the app always works correctly across all supported devices, which all run off one centralised codebase. This ensures that it is accessible, updateable and can be deployed quickly to all device types simultaneously.

Given that digital is core to the passenger experience of the 21st century, we will be investing further in our platforms to help improve our online customer service.

This aligns well with the app, as we plan to make the experience more contextual and more personalised, and we will also be introducing more commerce to the platform in 2021 and beyond.

Why Five Flames

Five Flames Mobile was founded in 2012 by three developers with a strong background in mobile application development in older technologies such as Windows Phone and Windows CE.

Due to this previous experience, the FFM team started working with iOS, Android, and obsolete platforms such as Windows Phone, Symbian or Firefox OS from the beginning, which has provided them with a huge knowledge and a very specialized team with developers focused on one single technology. This allows FFM to develop complete, high quality native applications quickly exceeding customer expectations.

FFM has been working with AGS since September 2017 developing, maintaining and improving the passenger experience applications for Glasgow and Aberdeen. During this time FFM has grown with AGS Digital and the e-commerce department gaining sufficient knowledge of airport and passenger experience to present AGS with new ideas and evaluate new features.

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