Managing the events that might cause a flight departure to be delayed allows for much better management of airline and airport resources, such as reducing fuel spent due to excessive taxi times. By mapping the business processes and doing some capability mapping at the business architecture level, BAA is able to understand the interaction between the activities and events, and therefore understand the impact of a delay in one area on all the others. As part of this initiative, BAA documented the enterprise objects (such as flights) and their characteristics. Their entire business architecture and set of reference models are created independent of Pega (or any other implementation tool) as an enterprise architecture initiative; to the business and process architects, Pega is a black box that manages the events, rules and processes.
Due in part to this initiative, Heathrow has moved from being consider the world's worst airport to the fourth best, with the infamous "disastrous" terminal 5 now voted best in the world. Better air-to-air management has saved 90 liters of fuel per flight and raised the on-time departure rate to 83%. All stakeholders are now involved in the processes as well as sharing of information. In the near future, BAA is planning for real-time demand capacity balancing through better integration, including coordinating aircraft movement across Europe and not just within Heathrow's airspace. They're also looking at physical improvements that will improve movement between terminals, such as underground baggage transport links that allow passengers to check in baggage at any terminal.
The current airport plan is based around plans for each stand, gate, person, vehicle, baggage and check-in resource; in the future, they will have a single integrated plan for the airport based on flights. They're also adopting ideas from other industries: providing a timed entry ticket to security at the time that you check in, for example, similar to the fast-track system in theme parks. They also plan to track you on public transit on your way to the airport so that your flight can be rescheduled if your subway is delayed (which will raise some security hackles). With some luck, they'll be able to solve some of the airport turnaround problems such as I experienced in Frankfurt recently.
The tracking and management system, created using Pega BPM, was built in about 180 days: this shows the status of arrivals, departures, turnarounds (the end-to-end process) and a real-time feed of aircraft locations on the airport property, plus historical and predictive reports on departures, arrivals and holds. It's a really fascinating case study of using BPM in a non-traditional industry.Before a recent event-driven architecture initiative took place, London's Heathrow Airport had a depressingly low on-time departure rate of 68%... Better air-to-air management now saves 90 liters of fuel per flight and has raised the on-time departure rate to 83%.