Activity in an airport follows a dizzying pace: hundreds of planes continuously take off and land, and need to complete their safety and maintenance protocols in a very short time; hundreds of thousands of passengers require assistance to move through eternal terminals… Ground services can involve the greatest complexity, and the smooth running of all airport spaces depends on them. This is undoubtedly a challenge in which Situm can help.
Much of what happens at an airport depends on the handling services. It is actually very complicated to summarise what kind of activities are included under this umbrella, but we could say that they are the multifunctional tasks covering both aircraft assistance during their time on the ground, and the passenger boarding, luggage, and cargo.
However, in addition to the complexity of the services, we must add the transformation of the airport concept in recent years: the place where we simply caught a plane has now turned into an “airport city”. Here the management team must attend to the needs of hundreds of thousands of passengers throughout a vast space in an increasing number of terminals, provide service to hundreds of aircraft taking off and landing within highly controlled time slots, reschedule operations due to last minute changes… And all of this whilst ensuring travellers have an optimal experience; as a good or bad impression of how a journey has gone is gauged more from the time at the airport than from the actual flight.
To be truly aware of the numbers involved, we can highlight that in 2019 the main handling company in Spain provided services to more than 170 client airlines, assisted more than 360,000 planes and served more than 100 million passengers.
In this type of scenario, where success is based on correct management of a large number of employees in a very large indoor space, our Situm MRM indoor positioning system has a lot to offer. Without the need to install new infrastructure, or make large investments, the geolocation system is ready to work in just a few days. The key is to have technology that overcomes the absence of GPS by taking advantage of the WiFi and Bluetooth infrastructure. This enables the geolocation of staff via their mobile phones and their management via a single control panel.
But what exactly does this mean for a handling company that needs to manage staff with very different professional profiles, make the most of the existing resources and guarantee the best service? This is just an advance:
- Passenger Services: including check-in, help with connections, boarding, assistance for special passengers (minors, VIPs…), information desk management, luggage search services, document checks… All these user assistance tasks require different staff who must coordinate with each other.
With Situm’s indoor monitoring system, employees will always be located, making it much easier to look for synergies between them, redistribute staff due to scheduling changes, reduce response time in an emergency…
You will know where each employee is in real time, as well as the dynamics in particularly sensitive areas thanks to the geofence tool. In addition, each employee profile can receive personalised notifications for the completion of geofenced tasks depending on their responsibilities.
- Ramp services: this includes all baggage loading and unloading, aircraft towing, water services, interior cleaning, handling of ULDs…
In addition to enabling monitoring of all professionals involved in ramp activities, it is possible to confirm from the central unit that the activities have been carried out successfully, the time when they were concluded or the staff involved. This provides real-time knowledge of the situation, but also generates reports and analyses summarising how the whole operation has gone and enabling any possible deviations to be refined.
However, in this environment it is also important to be able to monitor vehicles and machinery that are in continuous use and are used by different operators on successive shifts. For this, at Situm we propose our Situm Industrial Tracker solution; a system designed and adapted to give the exact location and routes of the entire mobile infrastructure involved in the runway tasks.
- Cargo services: this involves the custody and handling of cargo at the terminal, whether this is documentation management, special cargo management, storage service, mail, inventory control, truck loading and unloading, rapid delivery services, management of dangerous goods…
In addition to monitoring the operators, it is possible to geolocate sensitive material of any kind and to establish traceability of all the dynamics that have been followed. This eliminates losses or poor management that can lead to liability or security problems and loss of valuable time in the operation.
- PRM services: facilitating passengers with reduced mobility boarding and deboarding. There are more and more passengers with mobility problems (the elderly, users with injuries or disabilities, etc.) and as an example we can highlight that 1.2 million people requested this service at Heathrow in 2016.
Situm streamlines communication with agents providing PRM services and enables the location of assistants to be determined in order to check whether they are in their allocated position or route. It also allows for quick assistance by mobilising the assistants nearby if needed.
We have extensive experience in this sector and work with several of the leading PRM service managers in Europe. This allows us to offer a system that is tailor-made to the requirements of this critical and sensitive area.
- Walkway positioning: for boarding and deboarding.
Any type of incident is recorded and can be viewed in real time. In addition, by using a single screen to view all staff, the management team can have a clear picture of what the situation is at any given time.
- Load sheets and operations: assistance during the aircraft’s entire stopover time. This involves ground-cockpit communications, start-up assistance, weather information, crew assistance, ground-to-air communication, filling out load sheets…
Staff who transfers critical information between those in charge of land and air will always be geolocated and it will be possible to know the route that each worker has taken at each time. Likewise, any activity related to crew assistance is recorded and a series of location-based task alerts can be programmed to highlight the protocols to be followed in the different areas through which they transit.
- Assistance for contingencies, emergencies or dangerous situations: although security staff are deployed throughout the airport space, the large network of professionals involved in the ground services are usually the first to discover or experience an emergency situation.
For that reason, thanks to the Man Down alarm or Panic Button integrated in our system, response time is significantly reduced.
- A highly responsible job like this requires a high level of transparency.
To provide it, our system leaves a detailed record of all the activities carried out during the day, allowing us to keep a meticulous record of all of them. In the light of any contingency, these analyses are an invaluable tool for clarifying responsibilities.
If you are interested in implementing Situm MRM to manage handling services via indoor tracking, please do not hesitate to contact us in this form to get personalized attention.