Will Faas, ARINC’s Senior Product Manager, Airport Systems, describes the potential advantages of using his company’s new PDA.
Imagine a familiar scene at airports around the world: 6 o’clock on a Monday morning and the ground staff are getting ready to welcome the first flight of the day.
On the ramp the dispatcher surveys the scene around him, his breath visible in the early morning air. The first inbound flight arrives, and even before the whine of the engines subsides, the stairs come down from the aircraft and the luggage vehicles move into position.
The dispatcher works through the process in his mind and wonders what challenges may surface today. Like a well-rehearsed orchestra, the dispatcher and the ramp teams work together, three things on their mind; safety, efficiency and speed!
Until a few months ago the dispatcher would have used the traditional paper-based Ramp Record Cards to record that everything is done and note any issues or delays. But today he is holding the CHOREO tool from ARINC – a rugged Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) with a clear colour-coded display.
CHOREO has been developed in conjunction with Avtura Ltd – a Gatwick-based independent provider of software management solutions and consultancy for airport ground handling operations. It utilises the latest mobile data collection technology and advanced communications devices including PDA, Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) and General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) communications. The result is a web-based management and data analysis interface that provides a clear and concise real-time view of your operation to management, operations controllers, passenger services and ramp personnel.
As the dispatcher inputs each activity into CHOREO he wonders how he worked without it before. Not only does it record when the various turnaround elements have started and finished, it provides both audio and visual alerts when things are not going according to plan.
CHOREO enables you to focus your efforts on managing the turnaround rather than trying to complete paper reports after the fact. This frees up time while providing accurate information that helps make the whole process so much easier. It’s great to see the dispatcher’s job being made more productive with mobile technologies.
In the Operations Centre, the Dispatch and Operations Manager looks at the computer screen. The CHOREO Operations Screen helps her see at a glance – and in real-time – how fast things are moving and highlights any issues that require her immediate attention.
She notices that the luggage handlers have now begun unloading passenger bags. So far, so good. Everything is occurring within the acceptable margins of the appropriate service level agreements (SLA) with the airline customer. She hopes it will continue and the first flight turns around on time.
Although delays still can occur, she now has a better idea of what is happening when it is happening. Before using CHOREO she only knew whether things were on track when the flight pushed back from its stand via a radio call from the dispatcher. Now, however, she knows immediately if there is an issue impacting turnaround time that she can help the dispatcher solve with additional resources. It also helps him when discussing performance with the airlines to identify trends and provide solutions for the future.
It enables the Operations Centre to get a real understanding of how the operation is running at any given moment, which allows them to make effective operational decisions based on accurate and timely information.
To the senior management team CHOREO gives a much more detailed and relevant overview of the operational performance both on a daily basis and over the long term by making use of the PDA’s reporting system to analyse the operation. This greatly enhances the planning of resource requirements and process improvements, as well as gives a far better understanding of past performance when meeting with their airline customers. These reports also allow management to measure performance against Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and internal performance targets, and are available for each service element of the turnaround process as well as for individuals, airports, aircraft gates/piers and delay codes. This enables the user to sit down with the airline customer with clear and concise details of how they are performing against SLA’s, which saves significant time and means they can concentrate their efforts and resources on the areas where they are really needed.
This data is also relevant to billing and allows the ground handler to accurately and efficiently invoice for services provided, either within an agreed ground handling contract or when provided on an ad hoc basis. From the airline’s perspective CHOREO brings transparency of all ground handling service provision and subsequent billing. ARINC is also able to provide the capability for its data to be shared by both the airline and ground handler, enabling them to work as partners in improving the overall performance of the operation for both parties.