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Gatwick Airport will use big data to optimise operations

Gatwick Airport is moving into the predictive technology domain to better handle hundreds of flights and millions of passengers it sees every year, it was said on Monday.

According to a report by V3, Gatwick airport is aiming at using Splunk's operational analytics cloud service to "predict how numerous events, incidents and factors will affect its ability to work at peak performance”.

Splunk is an American multinational corporation based in San Francisco, California, that produces software for searching, monitoring, and analysing machine-generated big data, via a web-style interface.

The news was unveiled by Joe Hardstaff, business systems architect at Gatwick airport, who went into more details during Splunk’s .conf annual conference held in Las Vegas.

"We're starting to move more into the predictive side of things," he said.

"If there is disruption, we can try to man up the airport so we can get people through the airport as quickly as possible and still get them on their flights. So when we've got times of crisis or major incidents, we can predict how we are going to be operating in four hours' time and whether we are actually able to, through the action that we are taking, reduce that timeframe to stay operational."

By using huge amount of data it can collect over its monitoring systems, as well as data taken from highway agencies, Gatwick Airport can modify its operations to better adapt to an increased influx of passengers.

It’s also planning on using the Facebook and Twitter social networks to analyse how passengers are feeling and what they’re thinking, something they’re calling “mood of the airport”.