Control Room Design & Consultancy - Heathrow Airport

Case Study – Control Room Design

Business Challenge

In December 2010, heavy snow fall caused 4,000 flights to be cancelled from Heathrow.  The Winter resilience enquiry was commissioned to investigate why the airport suffered in such a way and what actions could be taken to mitigate against this happening again.

An investigation took place and the report issued identified the need for:

  • Early and automatic identification of risk and trends to trigger a response
  • Manageable & efficient incident response
  • Real time situational awareness
  • Consistent message communicated across the departments

Heathrow Airport required and integration of 29 airport operations departments located at satellite sites across the airport estate.

Each control centre had up to 10 operators focusing on department specific tasks.

Each operator had up to 12 monitors and PCs located at their desk.

Our Approach

Heathrow Airport allocated a budget to complete a business analysis, design and build project for an Airport operations control centre.

Ajar Technology were contracted as the specialist systems integrator to consult and design a state of the art control room facility.

  • Business analysis to understand the current way of working of the airport operations departments
  • Gather stakeholder requirements for the future airport operations.
  • Consider opportunities for workflow efficiency improvement
  • Analysis of the “as is” operator desk layout ergonomically and for technology suitability
  • Market analysis of the technology marketplace for and assessment of the future proof suitability of the potential technology solutions
  • Host off site technology simulations
  • Report the detailed findings of the business benefits to be gained from the options identified with a recommendation
  • Supply the technology solution, installation, configuration, commission, test and provide on going maintenance and support service

Our Solution

  • A network KVM matrix that enabled any pc data source to be access from many desk and incident management room according to the user permissions.
  • A video wall canvas that allows the pc sources and television sources to be displayed across the videowall in a unrestricted videowall layout.
  • Video wall layouts are controlled via a touch panel to automate source selection according to the situation and the sources required to manage the efficient incident response.
  • 60m2 of video wall space allows for all operations data sources and the CCTV from across the airport estate to be viewed and managed in real time.

The Benefits

The completed project provided a step change in the Heathrow Airport operations capabilities.

29 departments were now collaborating in real time from a single centralised control room location.

  • All PC’s are securely back racked in a secure comms room and the information is now shared across 40sqm of videowall screen, for the first time in real time.
  • Operators no longer have multiple PCs, mice and keyboards at the desk location
  • The floor plan is strategically structured to place departments in a way that they can collaborate for airport operations management
  • The stakeholders can now see trends occurring in real time and generate actions accordingly
  • The solution design included the coms room floor plan layout of the cabinets and the cabinet rack layouts
  • Hardware is fitted to enable support activity to take place with minimal disruption to the facility operations


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