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From launching new routes to remote operations control centers, digitalized operations tackle new challenges head-on
From launching new routes to remote operations control centers, digitalized operations tackle new challenges head-on

22 Jul 2020

From launching new routes to remote operations control centers, digitalized operations tackle new challenges head-on

Igor Dimnik, Director, Airline OCC and Crew Application Portfolio, SITA FOR AIRCRAFT

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve been working hard to understand just how airlines’ operational needs are shifting and, ultimately, pinpoint and adapt how best to support them.

Our conversations with carriers have brought new operational challenges and considerations to the fore, as they begin to remobilize and get ready for recovery. Though each operator has its own unique business model and priorities, we’ve identified numerous ways our Digital Day of Operations portfolio can help.

From operations staff to pilots and cabin crew, our transformative Digital Day of Operations (DDO) suite of airline applications better assists, accurately tracks and effectively communicates with people, places and processes – at take-off, inflight and landing. By focusing on digitalization and automation, DDO helps customers optimize their resources and processes throughout the flight operation and address new challenges.

Digitalized, agile flight

A chief concern flagged by our airline discussions is flight routing. COVID-19 restrictions have forced many routes to be suspended or modified, with all the associated impacts. The International Air Transport Association has called for a predictable, effective approach to managing future border closures or mobility restrictions. Given how rapidly the situation can change due to localized measures, airlines are anxious to adapt. That means having capabilities at hand to navigate new, perhaps previously unchartered territory, for that particular carrier.

Two of our DDO solutions already make moving into unfamiliar airspace simpler for airline customers. AIRCOM® FlightMessenger – our core aircraft communications tool enabling messages to be translated and integrated seamlessly within an airline’s IT infrastructure – enables them to always use the cheapest network for ACARS messaging.

Meanwhile, our eWAS Pilot and Dispatch solutions equip pilots and operations control centers (OCCs) with invaluable airport and weather data. Combining real-time aircraft positions with weather and airport status information, operators can anticipate key airport issues and be alert to upcoming weather threats, even in unknown locations. What’s more, flight dispatchers and pilots get the same situational view, bringing the enhanced level of collaboration we offer across the DDO suite, to promote greater operational responsiveness.

Collaboration post-COVID-19

Of course, COVID-19 has also transformed airline-wide collaboration. With social distancing measures necessarily bringing a halt to buzzing, physical OCCs, airlines now need affordable, digitalized alternatives for OCC staff who are now working separately and remotely.

We are working to bring air/ground collaboration into the digital, remote-working world through a new collaboration app that complements existing airline operational applications and is easily accessed via desktop or mobile devices. With it, airlines will be able to bring together diverse teams of people in multiple locations – from pilots and dispatchers to gate and ramp personnel – connected via ACARS and IP, to collaborate tactically around flights.

Among the beauties of our collaboration app-in-development is its ability to enable airline staff to continue performing critical roles remotely, working together to better manage fuel, turnarounds, diversions, operational variability and, ultimately, CO2 emissions, without diminishing performance.

Digitalization and automation

It’s also an example of where digitalization, enabled through DDO, and digital capabilities such as automation, offers airlines the fresh efficiency-making opportunities they urgently need. With many airline teams working at reduced capacity, and uncertain over how quickly operations might rebuild, automation relieves pressure from processes and actions. If you’re a dispatcher, for example, the unpredictable COVID-19 operating environment might mean you can’t anticipate how many flights you’ll oversee week-to-week. But with AIRCOM® FlightTracker on your dashboard, geared up to generate alerts and kick-start actions in the event of unexpected route deviation, flight dispatchers no longer have to manually monitor every single movement of every flight.

Similarly, our eWAS Pilot situational weather awareness solution for the cockpit automatically ingests a wealth of best-in-class weather data, updated in real-time when connected. With it, pilots have the reassurance of latest, relevant data to hand, to make informed decisions.

Digitalizing for more sustainable flight

eWAS Pilot also brings added value to airlines seeking more sustainable flight. With the International Civil Aviation Organization’s renewed commitment to delivering on its Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, airlines remain under pressure to lower carbon emissions.

This month, German leisure airline Condor became the latest to sign up for our eWAS solutions to enhance fuel optimization. With severe weather events intensifying, eWAS Pilot’s forecast and satellite-based observation data helps Condor’s crews optimize routes by avoiding avoidable, fuel-intensive weather situations. This enables it to create more economic, intelligent and flexible flight plans, lessening environmental impact by minimizing unnecessary fuel consumption.

Supporting safer journeys

Airlines also need to allay passenger flight health concerns. With 33% of travelers potentially avoiding future flight due to perceived COVID-19 risk, airlines have to be as clear and transparent as possible in onboard activities, to restore confidence. Cabin crews, as the face of the airline, naturally have an essential role in this.

Digital tools such as CrewTab, which digitalizes the cabin crew function, ease the load. With integrated up-to-date flight and passenger profile information available straight to a crew member’s personal device, they get the full picture of who’s flying, where they’re sat, and how best to serve them. This doesn’t just enable crews to maintain and support social distancing inflight. Our passenger health declaration form, as well as real-time air/ground communication and collaboration through the device, enables crews to identify passenger health needs and ensure ultimate responsiveness and COVID-19-safe practices during turnaround.

Speak to us

Whatever their priorities, now and tomorrow, our Digital Day of Operations portfolio gives airlines multiple options for digitally optimizing their day of operations.

Discover how our Digital Day of Operations portfolio can help you as your business needs evolve. Visit sita.aero/aircraft, submit an enquiry form, or email worldwide@sita.aero to find out more.