How far the Chennai Metro rail project progressed and how soon will it get over ?… Dr. Jason was asking his question by viewing through his window from the 7th floor of the popular hotel in Mount Road. Answering the CIO of the largest airlines in the APAC Region does need time because I need to have my fish-bone done – mentally – before answering him. He is one of the sharpest professional I ever met. He silently turned away from window, took out and handed over the bunch of reports to me. Published by DGCA-India. Additional documents with the internal remarks supplemented by his Airport team. Well, It’s an On-Time Performance Report. DGCA [ the same can be accessed at http://www.dgca.nic.in/reports/otp.pdf appeared as on 15th Apr 2017] given the details on the OTP by airlines along with delay reasons. Obviously his question on Chennai Metro carries lot of weightage since the construction delay may further delay his passengers to reach the airport on-time to board the flight eventually one of their challenge that they experience in Chennai.
Report claims the worst performance at Chennai airport by his airline, not so great at other major airports as well. I understood now what business case he brought to me. Dr. Jason was looking curious and waiting for me to complete the reading. Of course, for my remarks, as well.
It took few minutes before narrating the case of On-Time Performance on – how this particular subject – kept aside by most of the airlines and making the airlines to pay penalties to the airport authorities due to poor coordination (Apart from the customer dissatisfaction). In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimates flight delays costs the airlines $22 billion per annum (as penalty alone) . Airlines are forced to pay federal authorities when they hold planes on the tarmac for more than three hours for domestic flights and for more than four hours in case of International flights. But it is not new to APAC as well.
The overall Airport or station delays are caused due to various attributes at different levels which results in the OTP performance of the airline.
Dr. Jason has been listening curiously without any reaction- as I continued with my response.
Well, Dr. Jason. We are aware of all the casual analysis on the question as to ‘why achieving the On-Time Performance is always a spin’. But – What is the solution ? The question need to be answered, obviously. Let us now narrow down what can address some basics so that the OTP can be improved.
To have a better OTP, we need to look at all the above stages, Not only Stage 3. Stage 3 represents the duration between Gate arrival to Pushback of the equipment(Aircraft). However we need to consider the stage 1, 2 also to be monitored very closely. The stage 4 and 5, typically helps the respective stakeholders like – Commercial, Operational & Engineering team to improve their full suite of features to achieve the overall target. Especially (1) Terminal Services (2) Ramp Services (3) Engineering Services and (4) Flight Operation Services plays a significant role on ensuring OTP.
Airlines are forced to pay federal authorities when they hold planes on the tarmac for more than three hours for domestic flights and for more than four hours in case of International flights
While the CORE Departments like Commercial, Operational, Engineering are in action, there are other stake-holders like Security, Catering, Cargo, Cabin Appearance and Support play its role. Every team has to perform their designated task within the stipulated time.
The Master list of tasks includes “Above the Wings” and “Below the Wings” activities. The sample list of activities are given in brief (not the exhaustive list):
I said, Dr. Jason, Let me propose the solution. Here is the gist:
- We should deploy – AI Based solution supplemented with Robotics Process Automation. The system should have the Self Learning Capability (SLC) in order to stream-line the entire OTP meets the customer and other stake-holder demands.
- The self-learning capability (‘SLC’) to ensure the system to readjust its own benchmarks against the LIVE DATA while it serves the operation team. The built-in analytical capability of the system will refine the bench-mark at station level or at the task level using the ‘across the station level’ performance data and keep reporting on the deviations across tasks, stations.
- First time installation – will be commissioned / configured – considering the current station level parameters (Assume in some stations the fuel will take 5 minutes to arrive and in some places it may take 7 minutes to arrive… the configuration and bench-mark will be fined-tuned against the type of geography, airport coverage areas and on its size)
- All repeated tasks are subjected using Robotics Process Automation. RPA will keep pushing and pulling the data from various sources at above the wings and below the wings.
- All the activities will be monitored by the system which includes Resource Management (Against the number of resources reported, Skill-wise). The resource deployment mapping will be done once the base configuration is done. Once the live data is getting matured, SLC will provide the deployment structure needed against the number of equipment per station – either getting added, removed for the current and future services.
- System will provide all the tasks assigned to every individuals, their reporting time, status update provisions so that the resources can keep in touch / live with the core product. However, RPA will drive the scenarios and resources. Any deviation will be diverted / alerted through voice to the supervisor of the resource, automatically. The dashboard will move to amber against the particular service rendered for the particular aircraft.
- All the tasks will be pushed to the individuals and the mobile app will have the option – either the task is completed or in progress. Any delays sensed against the particular task or person or at the airport level now comes under close scrutiny at the Airport Manager Level (Mini Operation Control Center) and at the Central team level.
- The OCC dashboard will reflect – the progress of assignments – at every equipment (Aircraft) level and will get monitored with simple push and acknowledgment of completion message from the individual or the team leader.
- The above system SHOULD BE an on-line system and the feeding has to happen without any interruption. This would enable the OTP team to become more proactive rather than reactive.
Dr. Jason just got up, shaking his head and my hand, very warmly. He conveyed his sincere commitment to the above solution and suggested to start building the same. Automation is the key to drive for a success. The automation with SLC will make any new system more healthy and future-proof.