The modern airport plays a pivotal role in the economy, liveability and sustainability of a city and its region.

Airports are critical components of international transport networks, complex socio-technical systems characterised by interdependence. By their very nature, airports present great planning, operational and security challenges, balancing the need to move people and goods swiftly and efficiently, yet with ever-increasing levels of security and safety.

This research project commenced in 2008 with a pilot study examining efficient security and passenger flows. Following the success of the pilot, the Airports of the Future Project has grown into a five-year multidisciplinary program involving almost 30 research partners internationally.

The program aims to improve the safety, security, efficiency and passenger experience within Australian airports by developing an integrated and adaptive complex systems approach for the design, management and operation of airports.

The ability to analyse, re-engineer and manage large-scale, multi-stakeholder, multi-jurisdictional, and socio-technical systems require significant advancement in both the understanding of ‘complexity science’ and its application.

Project Vision
“To provide a world-class platform for the continuous improvement of airport planning, design and operations”

Ultimately, the goal is to improve airport effectiveness and cultivate flexibility for the sustained growth of airport operations. Research outcomes are expected to provide tools to manage airport effectiveness and balance conflicting security, economic and passenger-driven pressures.

These tools will improve productivity, enhance capabilities for critical infrastructure protection, and lessen the cost of mandated security, which is estimated to grow to $152 million by 2010 for the five major Australian airports.

The deliverables of this project will be transferable to other complex socio-technical systems providing the potential to transform a range of Australian critical infrastructure and transportation hubs.