As airlines contend with numerous, complex variables in flight plans, crew assignments and unexpected conditions, having the right technology in place for employees to quickly access information and make decisions is critical. One of the key ways to improve the customer experience is unification in the operations department.
In this second of two posts, we talk with Sabre AirCentre Vice President Kamal Qatato about how airlines can become connected to increase profitability and better service.
How can airlines begin transforming their business models to be more connected?
To begin the transformation into a connected airline, airlines should evaluate to what extent their operations are able to:
- Simplify: To what degree do teams have streamlined or automated workflows? Does the operation have systems that are configurable or can adapt to changes in the business? How accessible is real-time information about the operation?
- Integrate: Do teams have the ability to integrate with external systems? Are functions able to share what-if scenarios with other groups before making decisions? How easy is it for teams to access data from other departments?
- Mobile: Are cockpit, cabin and ground crews able to access and manage their schedules and task duties from anywhere? To what extent are communication streams automated to and from other stakeholders? Are teams armed with a shared view of the operation no matter where they’re located?
Answers to these questions will help airlines identify where to focus their transformation in order to become a more connected airline.
How can airlines work to connect their operations and crews?
As the department that manages and coordinates execution of the daily schedule, operations control serves as the heart of the connected airline. Unfortunately, no airline schedule operates 100% as planned, so operations control staff are constantly making real-time decisions. To better connect their operations, ops controllers need a technology solution that allows them to retrieve and communicate critical real-time data across locations and functions. Controllers should be empowered to make quick, confident decisions with aircraft, crew and passenger data based on inputs and collaboration across departments.
Airlines are also challenged by the complex requirements and factors that go into the planning and utilization of crews, which has become increasingly difficult due to complicated operations business models and union contracts. Manual or legacy technologies simply can’t solve the complexity of the problem at an adequate speed. In order to maximize crew resources, minimize costs and empower employees with real-time information, airlines need a configurable, end-to-end crew management platform that supports the entire system.
How can airlines increase the connectedness of their flights and airports?
Flight planning is a dynamic function, requiring constant adjustments to factors such as weather conditions, runway closures and airspace restrictions to name just a few. When such changes occur, dispatchers or flight planners need to quickly adapt and optimize flight plans. To maximize cost savings, airlines need a technology solution that enables automated, optimized flight plans that account for all major cost drivers including fuel, delay costs and overfly fees. They also need a solution that supports real-time communication and data sharing between the cockpit and the operations control to establish a shared view of the flight.
Airports support airline performance by resourcing at the right levels and adjusting resource levels as needed during the day. For example, too little staff can cause customer service issues or flight delays but too many could cause unnecessary expense. With the right technology solution, airlines can optimize airport resource utilization, respond quickly to schedule changes and empower employees with mobile technology.
Kamal Qatato has more than 24 years of experience leading teams and building technology solutions for the travel and transportation industries. He has held numerous executive positions across product management, solutions delivery, sales & account management, and software development. He currently leads the Sabre AirCentre Enterprise Operations line of business at Sabre Airline Solutions.