Airport Operators

Reducing Vehicle Wait Times By Increasing Throughput From Landside to Airside

Airport Operators

Reducing Vehicle Wait Times By Increasing Throughput From Landside to Airside

Working alongside the UK’s fastest-growing post-COVID airport, our project was to reduce the issue of long delays for vehicle searches from landside to airside.

These delays were causing problems for aircraft service operations, impacting On-Time Performance, and delaying building contractors who needed to minimise on-site activity times.


  • 105% increase in vehicle search capacity achieved
  • Peak queueing time halved
  • Overtime requirements eliminated by using under utilised security agents in different parts of the operation
  • Medium-term low-cost and longer-term capital improvements were recommended to further increase capacity and performance


The security outpost which provided access to the airside of the airport for service vehicles, had witnessed a significant increase in traffic, due to the increasing number of flights, as well as ongoing airport capacity expansion projects. This surge had stretched the existing capacity and capability to the point where vehicles were enduring substantial waiting times, occasionally exceeding three hours. These vehicles convey contractors delivering essential airside services and service providers to aircraft, causing a direct negative impact on On-Time Performance and delayed building contractors who needed to minimise their on-site value add time. These queues delayed departing aircraft and prolonging the completion of contractor activities.

The vehicle search process was handled by a third-party business partner, who was commercially unaffected by these delays. This aspect of the security process had been neglected due to other higher-priority projects for the business partner.

As the volume of activity rose, and is expected to continue to rise over the next few years, coupled with a substantial amount of planned contracting activity, the current and future risk was a cause of high concern to the airport management team.


Develop Consulting was enlisted to reduce wait times by enhancing search team capacity through process optimisation, thereby eliminating wasteful practices.


Instant Process Improvement
Through collaborative efforts with both the third-party business partner and the airport teams, we successfully implemented nine process improvements, seamlessly integrated into their standard operating procedures. These enhancements increased the capacity of the vehicle processing by 105%, resulting in a 50% reduction in queue times and the complete elimination of three-hour peak wait times, all while maintaining strict airport security compliance. These process enhancements were designed to operate around the clock, 24/7.

Medium and Long-term Recommendations for Future-Proofing:
Engaging with various airport stakeholders, Develop Consulting examined several additional process and facility improvements, evaluating their business benefits and return on investment. Our objective was not merely to address today’s challenges but also to future-proof the airport for its anticipated expansion.

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