airport asset management k e y facts by dgt21189


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									     airport/asset management

                                                                                                                    k e y facts
                                                                                                                    Ï The system will
                                                                                                                      promote better
                                                                                                                      of necessary
                                                                                                                      information both
                                                                                                                      within crew control
                                                                                                                      and with other
                                                                                                                    Ï In terms of cash
                                                                                                                      and resource
                                                                                                                      involvement, this
                                                                                                                      ranks as one of the
                                                                                                                      largest software
                                                                                                                      instalments at
                                                                                                                      Cathay Pacific.
                                                                                                                    Ï A lot of work has
                                                                                                                      been done to make
                                                                                                                      the system as future
                                                                                                                      proof as possible.

     InvestIngIn                                                                         Cathay Pacific’s state-of-the-art crew management
                                                                                         system should keep all staff smiling

                                                                                 n June 2005, Cathay Pacific
                                                                                 announced that it would be
                                            Ï a lt h o u g h cathay              replacing its current crew control
                                            pac i f i c w i l l not be        mainframe system with a sophisticated
                                            c e l e b r at i n g its 60th     software solution. Developed in
                                            a n n i v e r s a r y with its    conjunction with Fujitsu Honk Kong,
                                            n e w c r e w m anagement         the airline said that its new program
                                            s o f t wa r e , cathay
                                            pac i f i c ’ s c hris h oyland
                                                                              would enhance decision support
                                            b e l i e v e s t h e wait will   capability and improve the speed and
                                            h av e b e e n worth it. he       accuracy of its crew tracking.
                                            t e l l s p h i n foster about
                                            t h e a dva n tages the           However, despite initially forecasting that the
                                            s o f t wa r e wil l bring.       program would be launched this year, just in time
                                                                              for the airline’s 60th birthday celebrations, Cathay
                                                                              Pacific now expects final implementation to take
                                                                              place in early 2007.

12   Future
                                                                                                                                 asset management

With a more efficient staff rostering system, Cathay’s service will remain top class, even as the airline expands

a drawn-out process                                                              efficient crew management under current flight
The delay does not seem to have caused Cathay                                    travel limitations increasingly difficult. ‘For years
Pacific’s manager of integrated crew management,                                 we have used an in-house, text-based mainframe
Chris Hoyland, too much concern. With over 30 years’                             system,’ explains Hoyland. ‘But ongoing expansion
experience in airline operations, he is not a man to be                          – as well as the increasing complexity of rules,
unduly flustered. Any interruption should be minimal.                            both legal and industrial – has highlighted the
                                                                                 need for better, faster and more comprehensive
‘A detailed design process for the large amount of                               tools to manage this task.’
company-specific functionality and customisation
required began in early 2005 and development
started midway through the same year,’ explains                                  ‘Ongoing expansion - as well as the
Hoyland. ‘Initial end-user familiarisation has
already begun and the straightforward, intuitive
                                                                                 increasing complexity of rules, both legal
nature of the system means that the training                                     and industrial - has highlighted the need for
process should be relatively short.’
                                                                                 better, faster and more comprehensive tools.‘
It is too late in the day to lose faith now. The
commission for crew control system (CCS)                                         Cathay Pacific has embarked on an extensive fleet
development was the result of a lengthy research                                 expansion programme and should be running
and ‘request for proposal’ process. Cathay Pacific                               101 wide-body aircraft by the end of the year.
had to fully research all the main, commercially                                 Commitments have also been made to purchase
available products before it was ready to compile a                              16 advanced wide-body Boeing 777-300ER aircraft,
shortlist of vendors. The airline then invited each of                           with purchase rights for 20 more, and to lease three
the firms to make a presentation and demonstration,                              Airbus A330-300s. Such development plans should
on top of their initial written proposals.                                       result in increased staff requirements. Efficient,
                                                                                 effective crew management is becoming more of a
The final selection was aided by the use of a                                    pressing concern than ever.
complex matrix scoring system, grading each
vendor for quality, completeness, level of fit and                               The key function of the CCS will be to ensure that
cost. It took over a year to evaluate the systems on                             all legal, company and industrial rules governing
offer. After all that, one can appreciate why a slight                           flight crew activities are strictly followed and
delay might seem tolerable.                                                      inadvertent contravention avoided. This is not,
                                                                                 however, the main reason for the airline’s decision
worth the wait                                                                   to overhaul its system. ‘We are confident that
Hoyland certainly believes that the UNIX-based                                   our present setup enables us to be 100 per cent
solution will have been worth the wait. The                                      compliant with the necessary regulations,’ explains
frequent long-haul flights across time zones,                                    Hoyland, ‘but not always in the most timely or
coupled with the airline’s basing policy, makes                                  efficient way.’

                                                                                                                                   Future   13
     asset management

                                                                                             benefits of the UNIX-based solution in a language
                                                                                             understood by all: money. He refuses to give a
                                                                                             precise dollar value of the contract with Fujitsu Honk
                                                                                             Kong, but concedes that ‘it is a large investment
                                                                                             by any measure’. In terms of cash and resource
                                                                                             involvement, this certainly ranks as one of the largest
                                                                                             ever software instalments within Cathay Pacific.

                                                                                             Beyond the short-term expenditure, Hoyland says
                                                                                             the investment will save costs and help generate
                                                                                             revenue. Reductions in crew cost, resulting from
                                                                                             better standby management and fewer crew-related
                                                                                             delays, should reap instant rewards and the new
                                                                                             software can also help keep additional outlays
                                                                                             down. ‘The expected increase in efficiency will
                                                                                             allow rationalisation of the crew control manning
                                                                                             levels and minimise the number of additional staff
                                                                                             required,’ explains Hoyland. ‘Additional savings are
                                                                                             expected from system maintenance and change
     Cathay Pacific expects the      Added benefits                                          implementation simplification.’
     new software to make the
     deployment of resources         Putting existing resources to better use through
     a much more efficient
                                     increased efficiency and better decision support        Designed to be flexible
                                     has proved far more of a catalyst than regulatory       Eras of growth often usher in periods of uncertainty,
                                     requirements. Besides the obvious benefits of           and operations and focus can shift accordingly. It is
                                     cutting down on manual data input and reducing          therefore essential that the new system can adapt to
                                     intervention due to automated data capture              any changes in requirements. As part of the project,
                                     and manipulation, Hoyland is excited by further         a great deal of time and effort has been spent on
                                     opportunities that the software has to offer.           making the system as future proof as possible.

                                                                                             It has been designed to be extremely flexible.
             ‘The expected increase in efficiency will                                       ‘Wherever practical, rule and system settings are
            allow rationalisation of the crew control                                        parameterised and user-configurable,’ explains
                                                                                             Hoyland. ‘The concept of user configurable masks,
           manning levels and minimise the number                                            and filters for use in rules, makes it possible to create

                         of additional staff required.‘                                      new rules for different groups of crew as required.’

                                                                                             Hoyland is certainly keeping one eye on the future.
                                     ‘We anticipate considerable benefits from more          Running concurrently with the crew control project,
                                     comprehensive rule-checking ability and “what if ”      a separate initiative is underway to enhance
                                     modelling,’ he says. ‘Ultimately, we can make more      and upgrade the crew rostering system. Further
                                     timely decisions through the graphical user interface   augmentation is also planned for the airline’s
                                     presentation of information and decision support        pattern optimiser and crew communication
                                     functionality. The system will promote better           systems, with a new project to fully automate
                                     communication of necessary information both within      training reporting and tracking starting shortly.
                                     crew control and with other departments.’
                                                                                             Cathay Pacific will have to celebrate its 60th birthday
                                     There are a number of features and tools that           without its new CCS system up and running, but it
                                     Hoyland sees as being of great potential benefit: ‘A    should be a present worth waiting for. ¢
                                     prime requisite of the replacement system was the
                                     “drag and drop” graphical manipulation of light and
                                     crew pattern data to replace our existing text only
                                     tools.’ He cites other useful innovations, such as          profile
                                     the provision of real-time management reporting,            Ï Chris Hoyland has been with
                                     enhanced filtering and sorting tools, and decision            Cathay Pacific for almost ten
                                     support for such tasks as best standby selection.             years. He holds the position
                                     Cathay Pacific’s specially customised version allows          of manager of integrated
                                                                                                   crew management, and is responsible for
                                     for the complete automation of its crew allowance             all aspects of crew resources and utilisation
                                     payment and will include advanced crew training               from manpower planning through to day-of-
                                     management functionality.                                     operations (crew control). He has more than
                                                                                                   30 years of experience in airline operations
                                                                                                   with various carriers, mainly in the field of
                                     Huge investment                                               crew management.
                                     Such technical jargon might seem rather
                                     incomprehensible, but Hoyland also describes the

14   Future

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