Pertaining to current statistics, around 3.5 billion passengers fly each year – accounting to an average of more than 9 Million every day around the world – and air traffic is expected to increase in coming years. To make sure that this influx of travelers is optimized, well managed and ensure safe, reliable operations, it’s essential that airports have a dependable energy supply and modernized low and medium voltage systems.
To fully understand the costly consequences of airport malfunctions and blackouts following are some examples of recent times. In December 2017, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport experienced an 11-hour power outage. It resulted in 1,400 flight cancellations and cost Delta Airlines an estimated $50 million.
The objectives isn’t just about saving costs but the paramount goal is to upgrade and modernize airports’ electrical distribution systems. Providing reliable power is a critical safety issue that airports must make a priority. Making infrastructural upgrades and enhancing the overall operational processes also increases airports’ efficiency, quality of services, and provides a positive experience for travelers. It’s essential for all operations: From powering the control tower that directs air traffic to lighting the way for passengers to safely navigate through the terminal.
Successfully transformation can be achieved through Sophisticated technology. Indeed, switchboards can now be equipped with sensors and online monitoring tools that allow a transition to condition-based maintenance, helping to reduce downtime and optimize maintenance costs.
What can be done?
- Condition based monitoring: Thanks to 24/7 condition monitoring of hotspots, users can detect issues early and take preventive action. Alarms and warnings are delivered locally or remotely, as preferred.
- Circuit breaker monitoring: Real-time monitoring of circuit breaker performance provides up-to-the-minute insight into its health, supported by alarms and warnings in case of events. Performance data can be used to create better long-term maintenance plans.
Specifically, a core part of the identification and prevention of potential outages is connected asset management which can efficiently provide operators real-time equipment status updates which in turn can enable them for faster responses. The real-time information generated by embedded intelligent devices supports both better decision making throughout operations, and the automation of many functions. Data accumulation in huge amounts on electrical systems and their behaviour, life cycle, pattern analysis and other parameters can be used for future planning which allows for prevention and correction. Using the data amassed from advanced technology allows operations to centralize energy information and generate more accurate reports about energy use and operational efficiency. Reducing the carbon footprints and taking initiatives towards modernized process for energy efficient goals should also be on airports’ list of agendas.
These changes don’t come without tough challenges, though. Airports are a 24/7, 365 days a year, highly sensitive work environment with complex operations and systems. Downtime can be unavoidable but effective response times and critical analsyis should become the default approach in such situations. . A cohesive strategy that takes into account the many areas of business that can minimize any negative effects should be considered. Downtime can be critical, impacting not just passengers but also cargo and emergency operations, so any modernization efforts must be conducted with minimal effect on operations and customers
Technology-enabled Infrastructure upgradation should become a must for airports to steadfast electrical protection, avoid distribution failures and manage the air traffic growth.
By our Guest Blogger: Sanjay Batra
A passionate and inspiring leader ,in a career spanning 20+ years Sanjay has had the opportunity to lead businesses across multiple geographies like South East Asia ,the Middle East & India. In his current role as Director Strategy & Marketing , he is responsible for charting growth opportunities for the Services business of Schneider Electric ,India.