Manchester Airport Launches New Mobile Operations Strategy

Russell Holmes, Head of Sales – Private Sector for CommonTime explains how the company is helping the airport use mobile technology to support key operational requirements

Manchester Airport, in partnership with enterprise application developer CommonTime, will create and deploy 22 mobile applications to support a number of key operational requirements, including airfield safety inspections, audits and risk assessments.

With the introduction of mobile technology to airport IT infrastructure, tasks previously conducted via paper-forms or desktop computers can now be completed remotely in the field, driving time-saving efficiencies.

Recent mobile innovations in passenger experience have been well adopted and successfully modernised the customer engagement process. The ability to access real-time arrivals and departure information, view terminal maps, arrange car parking bookings, use mobile boarding passes and learn about airport facilities ahead of time have all contributed towards this.

However, as UK airport operators face mounting pressure to create and implement mobile strategies, the most forward-thinking organisations are seeking not only to improve the passenger experience, but also unlock new process efficiencies. It is these new efficiencies that CommonTime will work with Manchester Airport to deliver.

As well as delivering functional benefit, this project is an opportunity to deliver a refined user experience for Manchester Airport staff. Traditionally, back-office IT systems do not receive the same standard of UI/UX design that customer facing applications do. Therefore, the usability of these systems can suffer. By creating an interface that simplifies the audit, risk assessment and inspection process – user adoption and engagement can be further improved, ultimately driving greater productivity.

Head of Airfield, Safety & Compliance for Manchester Airport, Chris Wild, said of the project, “I am extremely pleased that CommonTime were selected by Manchester Airport after a rigorous tender process. CommonTime not only displayed a comprehensive product to meet our needs, they presented a product and ethos that will allow us to develop a tool which can naturally grow & evolve.

I was energised by the can-do attitude and limitless possibilities the team at CommonTime can provide. I am really looking forward to working with CommonTime and creating a strong partnership.”

Accessed via a single hub application, the apps will include an airfield occurrence report, aircraft turnaround audit and hotspot inspection form – all processes which currently require significant re-keying and administration. The development of an app-based, mobile solution will significantly improve both the accuracy of data captured and time-management across the team.

A controlled deployment strategy of the applications ensures staff always have access to the right information and the apps relevant to their role, preventing confusion between users regarding their responsibilities.

In addition, Manchester Airport will benefit from enhanced safety intelligence that enables instant trend analysis. Such data will allow a real-time picture of operational risk to be built, ensuring that safety standards at Manchester Airport are continually improved.

Ian Knight, CEO of CommonTime, commented“CommonTime’s development platform is perfectly suited to rapidly building and deploying the European Airside Inspection forms that Manchester Airport are seeking to develop. Once live, it will be possible to develop additional forms and change processes in an agile environment, with a short turnaround time. This means that Manchester Airport will be able to realise significant cost savings in auditing process and improve access to records that will benefit the entire airfield operations team.”

To be deployed at Manchester Airport – the UK’s Global Gateway from the North, which handles 27.5 million passengers per year – the applications will provide the airport a consolidated operational capacity. This will include improvements in the capacity to quickly capture & investigate actions associated with safety occurrences, collaborate with airlines, complete internal audit activity and manage operational effectiveness.

Upon completion of this project Manchester Airport will be in a better position to rapidly undertake preventative actions based on real-time information obtained in these mobile workflows. This ability to prioritise actions before problems occur, rather than logging issues that appear presents an opportunity to change and improve operations across the airport.

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