As the Covid-19 pandemic drifts towards its final stages, airlines are eager to take-off in a bid to compensate for almost 2 years of limited to no operation. In these trying times, it is essential that the global aviation industry performs at its most efficient using IT and telecommunication technology to smoothen the recovery process. Eways Aviation takes a close look at some of the modern air traffic management solutions that can effectively facilitate the airline recovery process whilst increasing passenger satisfaction.
With over 60 years of experience, the Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques (SITA) proposes high-tech innovative services to over 550 aviation conglomerates and 3,200 customers spread throughout 220 countries and territories.
In recent years airlines have been faced with increased occurrences of extreme weather with billions of dollars lost to flight delays and cancellation along with reparations. Directly resulting from global warming, in the near future turbulence intensity is predicted to rise by up to 40% along with having a 170% increased presence. Furthermore high ice water content (HIWC) can cause core engine damage leading to instances of AOG and cost as much as $500k in reparations. Not only can turbulence and storms cause aircraft damage, or passenger and crew injury, but it can also damage airline reputation due to increased social media content shared by passengers that are exposed to adverse weather mid-flight.
Now more than ever as airlines look to recover from nearly two years of downtime, they cannot afford more losses to poor weather – enter eWAS, the latest technology in weather monitoring capability revolutionizing the aviation industry.
“The eWAS Pilot Solution is seamless… it alerts pilots to key potential dynamic weather situations, such as turbulence, icing, lightning or thunderstorms.”
Matthieu Durand-Gobert – Flight Operations Engineer – Air France
The technology reduces weather inconveniences by providing real-time accurate 4D forecasts that allow pilots to anticipate unforeseen climatic events that can perturb flights. This includes such phenomena as thunder, lightning, turbulence, hazardous wind along with snow and ice storms.
Combined with integrated flight routing systems, eWAS allows pilots to avoid weather incidences and re-route accordingly along with calculating exact fuel requirements thus maximizing flight efficiency and reducing their carbon footprint.
The weather-monitoring system has made its way to the aircraft of several African airlines including Congo Airways and Air Austral.
“In the current situation, the requirements for cost optimization and operational efficiency are very high, but we see them as the path to the future as well. SITA’s eWAS Pilot application enables our pilots with real-time situational awareness and helps us create more economical flight plans, optimize fuel usage, support on-time performance, and deliver a superior passenger experience. The future is digital and is enabled by new generation flight operations.”
Rodrigue Gentil – Head of Flight Operations, Engineering and New Applications Support – Congo Airways
An added benefit to the eWAS system is its full compatibility with commonly used airline IT networks along with personal-electronic devices such as iPads, iPhones and Service Pro. This allows pilots to easily access full flight information before taking off and for pilots with air-time connectivity, be able to receive updates mid-flight.
SITA WorldTracer® Lost and Found Property is an advanced cloud-based system that allows airlines and airports to efficiently resolve lost and mishandled baggage incidences accurately. The application provides a global network connecting over 2800 airports and keeping a record of all baggage traffic for up to 100 days. Passengers are also given access to monitoring their luggage using a transaction code.
Through the use of AI software to pinpoint the location of missing cargo, airlines can quickly find and deliver luggage to passengers, and in the case that they are required to delegate delivery to third-parties, the application allows end-to-end visibility allowing airlines to maintain a high quality of service to their clients.
Furthermore, the WorldTracer application improves customer-airline relationships by allowing passengers to quickly report and organize baggage-recovery using any device with internet connectivity. Not only does this improve efficiency, but the automated process permits staff to prioritize more cumbersome tasks than locating missing baggage. The software also allows users to inquire about forgotten personal items on planes that can be located by airline and airport personnel and be delivered to their rightful owners accordingly.
Several airlines have been using the technology successfully such as WizzAir and Etihad Airways, which claim a 20% drop in reports of lost luggage along with a 90% recovery rate of lost baggage since applying the technology.
NATS Holdings, previously known as National Air Traffic Services is the prominent British air navigation service provider lending its technologies to 14 UK airports. The company has highlighted several of its technologies for their effectiveness in aiding aviation conglomerates get back on their feet.
Demand Capacity Balancer
While airports and airlines collaborate in the creation of seasonal flight schedules, disruptions and delays are inevitable leading to significant losses to airlines along with airport inconveniences. Lately, this has been particularly cumbersome due to the increased restrictions and rescheduling resulting from the pandemic.
The Demand Capacity Balancer (DCB) is a new planning tool devised by NATS in collaboration with Harris Orthogon to solve air transport conundrums by allowing staff to anticipate schedule adjustments and prepare accordingly in advance. This means having relevant facilities for arrivals especially when multiple aircraft arrive in terminals operating at lower capacities. Furthermore less fuel is wasted by idle planes waiting in taxiways for available stands.
This is achieved through the use of past flight data archives along with accurate flight plans that are combined with updated information on departure times, wind status, ATC restrictions and air traffic volumes. Furthermore, the DCB integrates a high-tech flight simulation software that precisely denotes arrival and departure times for all flights.
With the added flexibility provided by the software, airports can effectively reduce costs by gauging how much traffic they will be receiving at a given time and allocate full or reduced operations accordingly.
As airports prepare for the rise in post-pandemic traffic, simulation software may prove to be a powerful asset in guiding airport authorities in making timely decisions. Through the use of existing data along with hypothetical scenarios, the software presents an accurate illustration of airport operations handling various levels of passenger and aircraft traffic.
For instance, the software can aid runway management by devising how many take-off and landing operations can be performed without delays whilst calculating delay-setbacks during peak hours. Furthermore, terminal facilities can be adjusted depending on the expected passenger flow thus providing travelers with adequate service without overspending.
Away from its application in daily airport procedures, Fast-Time Simulation is also a decisive research tool that allows airport management to perform cost-benefit analysis by observing various scenarios and contemplating ways to tackle challenges with the lowest expenditure.
Back to Work
With the air-transport industry suffering some of the worst losses resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, modern technology will be essential for the global aviation industry to land back on its feet. When integrated in airport and airline operations these solutions possess the potential to reignite air-transport profitability, eliminate losses and provide optimal service to the world’s eager passengers.