Connected airline ecosystem: Need for a reliable digital platform

Connected airline ecosystem: Need for a reliable digital platform

Civil aviation was an early adopter of computers, with reservation systems going electronic as early as the 1950s with the Semi-Automated Business Environment pioneered by American Airlines. Other airlines followed this example and set up their own systems, and in due course computerized reservations became the norm in this industry which was already technology-intensive from an infrastructure perspective. But the industry was simply unable to sustain this momentum beyond a certain point.

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The Holy Grail of Recovery and Optimization

The Holy Grail of Recovery and Optimization

Every year, airlines burn billions of dollars on delays and consequent passenger compensation claims. A whole industry has sprung up around airline disruptions, with the promise of helping passengers to claim the money due to them in this way. EU regulations like EU261 result in six figure sums of money in compensation, and IT is often the only solution to avoid disruptions and enable airlines to get back on track quickly.

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The Next Evolution of Airline Operations: Eye Tracking

The Next Evolution of Airline Operations: Eye Tracking

Can modern technology help airline operations control centers totake better decisions?

Airline operations controllers worldwide discuss "Situational Awareness", but in their daily operations they insist on “seeing it all” before taking a decision. But science has an explanation for why this isn't a good approach.

The brain devours ten million bits of information every second, which is comparable to the bandwidth of the Ethernet. However, the conscious part of the human brain is limited to only fifty bits of information. This means that 99.9995% of the information is beyond the conscious reach of the airline operations controller. The operations controller is not consciously following the many alerts typically visible in a modern operations IT system such as a pax misconnect, critical weather at the arrival airport, a technical defect alert (e.g APU inop), an offload of pax, a tight or missed crew connection, a curfew warning, a diversion alert, an ATC slot, a critical airport slot and more.

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Collaborative Disruption Management

Collaborative Disruption Management

A consolidation is taking place in the airline industry, with multiple airlines coming together as groups for strategic reasons.This happens either through capital acquisition or marketing partnerships, whereby the brand identity of each airline is maintained whilefleets and crews are managed by the group. Schedules are harmonized and coordinated amongst the group members, allowing passengers tosmoothly connect from one member airline to another at the respective individual hub.

Each group still has a number of operations control centers (OCC) which deploy a mix of IT systems for schedule management, flight planning, operations and maintenance control, hub management and crew tracking. Bringing together the IT systems of all members of the group in the present shape could have disastrous results because there is a diverse array of applications which operate in silos and do not communicate with each other effectively.

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Situational Awareness Technology in Airline Operations

Situational Awareness Technology in Airline Operations

The Operations Control Center (OCC), although invisible to passengers, manages several complex aspects of airline operations, such as the expensive fleet of modern and old aircraft, large number of crew members, detailed maintenance cycles, optimization of fuel burn, ATC communications, airport slots and so much more. This is enabled by a complex Information Technology (IT) system, which in many cases is so outdated that it would greatly disappoint a customer who believes he/she is flying with a 'five star' airline.

Without modern IT systems to warn the OCC staff about difficult weather, maintenance concerns, late or sick crew and other issues, airlines run a high risk of frequent and often expensive disruption in their services. For instance, a diversion to an alternate airport (due to bad weather) can cost the airline around between €15,000 and more than 100,000€ according IATA and that is excluding crew and airport staff costs*.

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