Airport Operations Control Center (AOCC) - Operating (multi-) airports in a post pandemic environment
Whether regional, national or intercontinental hubs, airport operators need flexible software to centrally control one or more airports simultaneously. Find out how a modern AOCC helps to quickly identify and resolve requirements and problems – both locally and remotely.
The basics of airport operations
When an aircraft arrives at an airport, dozens of processes, and tasks are initiated to secure the scheduled turnaround time. Beginning with the appropriate stand allocation, the procedure includes all duties as long as the aircraft is grounded. It contains the baggage handling, security checks, the boarding of new passengers, etc. This is closely linked to revenue, as delays of any kind in operations lead to a variety of administrative difficulties and financial problems. Good processes lead to customer satisfaction and increase the reliability of the airport, which keeps passengers coming back. Hence, all parties involved, the airline, the airport and last but not least, the passengers, have a vested interest in seamless and smooth operations. Airports differ from each other in many ways. As a result, airport operations and the related tasks vary in scope and content. A small airport that only handles domestic flights with small regional jets is unlikely to function like a large international hub airport. For example, larger airports typically have specialized staff, systems, and processes for the stand allocation. Smaller airports, on the other hand, may use paper and pen for the allocation. But they all have one thing in common: Communication is the key for satisfying operation.
The daily work of supervisors
Supervisors at airports have the very important and challenging role to play in ensuring business operations. They are often the first point of contact for employees who have discovered an issue of any kind. On the other hand, supervisors need to know who to contact in order to delegate tasks.
This requires many years of experience, strong social skills, and well-structured working methods. Supervisors have to be familiar with the whole airport and have a lot of responsibility. This becomes even more challenging when more than one airport needs to be controlled from a remote location. An effective and easy to-use system is essential to accomplish these tasks. Smaller airports, in particular, lack this infrastructure and delegate tasks by phone. It will be described later on what kind of difficulties are associated with this and what kind of benefits can be supported by a specialized airport operations system.
Brain drain in airport operations
During the pandemic, airports were forced to cut costs across the board. Thus, many qualified employees have moved on or have been forced to move to other sectors, which were less affected than the aviation industry. Today, as the industry recovers from the pandemic, that workforce is missing across the aviation sector. Airports around the world are facing a shortage of skilled workers to run their operations. In mid-2022, German airports lacked about 7,200 qualified employees (source: tagesschau.de). This led to cancellation of flights, delays, and long queues in front of check in counters and security checkpoints. During the 2022 summer season, the media frequently reported chaotic conditions at airports causing passengers to worry about their journeys and deterring them from travelling. A quick solution wasn’t found, although the issue was discussed in the German government. To attract new workers, airports must first become an attractive employer that can retain its employees over the long term. Second, they should digitize and automate processes as much as possible to somehow cope with the staff shortage. On this occasion, modern IT systems are the key driver and enabler for fighting the brain drain at airports.
What happens next? What specific solutions are there to meet the current challenges in aviation?
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