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The Director General of the airport has regular meetings with each of the Division Managers to review progress with their operations plans. He still has difficulty with the structuring of his organization, not sure that it is the best one to achieve optimal performance.

His niece, Queen Matilah, recently told him she was concerned with the international perception of Putnam. She believes the kingdom is not perceived as capable to meet international standards. She insists that the airport be of the highest international standards that Putnam can afford.

She has asked that a system be implemented that will allow the highest level of quality and customer service that, if not the highest in the world, will be seen as among the best. The uncle, in his great desire to please his niece and be seen as a forward thinking Airport Professional, has had individual meetings with each of the Divisional Managers and communicated to each how important Quality, Safety and Security would be in the operations and maintenance of the airport and the related service areas.

His current administration structure looks like this: His direct reporting directors are the Director Operations, Director Planning, Director Commercial services, Director Engineering and Maintenance, Director Security, Director General Aviation and Cargo operations, Director Finance and Administration.

He has asked you, in your capacity of Director of Operations, to explain how you intend to improve the efficiency of your division so that the next customer satisfaction survey1 and results will show much better than the previous yearly ones just completed.

Discussion

The operations department in the aviation industry plays a pivotal role in the running of the day to day operations of an airport. Poorly effective systems lead to problems that are felt by all stakeholders in the aviation industry. These problems include rising costs of operations, diminishing profit margins, and negative customer feedback due to regular cases of delay in flights, long queues, loss of customer luggage and time wastage at the airport (Sama, D'Ariano, D'Ariano & Pacciarelli, 2017).

The time spent at the airport is of critical value specifically the time spent at the apron area and during the handling procedure. Reducing the time spent at these two areas while still ensuring that the quality and the cost burden of the airport services are not compromised still remains a big challenge to many airports. However, in doing so the airline meets its marketing needs and the frequency of flights is improved. This in return increases the attractiveness of the airport schedule to the customers which resultantly adding onto the competitive advantage of the airport.  

As the director of operations at the Queen Matilah International Airport, I have been tasked by the director general of the airport to improve the results and findings of the next customer satisfaction survey by improving the transition and efficiency of quality operations at the airport. To meet the objectives of the task, I have spelt out in this study the measures I will take to solve the current problems at the airport while still trying to better the good performing operations. The remedy to the operational constraints facing the airport, however, depends heavily on technological solutions. The measures suggested are in line with the standards and practices recommended by ICAO in the annexes relevant to Chicago convention. Strict adherence to the government regulated airport aerodrome certification guidelines will be observed.

The airport needs to improve its use of Information Technology solution tools to improve the effectiveness of operations at the airport. The modification and improvement of the operations management systems at the airport is essential and crucial in the quest to meet the optimality of the airport operations management (Burghouwt, 2016). The operations department will analyze and suggest improvements to the operations management systems such as the planning and rostering systems, and the real-time control systems used to coordinate the staffs in charge of groundwork and equipment. The experts involved in the system analysis will cross-check if the airport's mobile communication systems are well integrated to allow timely dispatch of information to staffs. The interface between the airport and the other airline's display systems and flight information will be integrated to cover all the airports whose flight operations affects the airport's operations.

Movement areas around the airport will be inspected at regular time intervals. The inspection team from the operations department will be properly trained on the inspection process guidelines before they embark on the exercise. The requisite equipment and technology to carry on the inspection process will also be provided.  The airside operations team will partner with their counterparts from the maintenance department to develop and run the inspection program. This will avoid the confusion brought about by each of the teams carrying out their tasks as separate entities.

The airport will utilize the use of automated scheduling techniques to create patterned rosters and shifts for the airport staffs (Josefsson, Polishchuk, Polishchuk & Schmidt, 2017). This will save the airport some of the staff costs. Control systems will be adopted and implemented by the airport to offer the decision support services essential in the process of increasing the quality of service through the elimination of the delay in flights problem. Hub control systems enable an airport's online control section to track and monitor information relayed from different handling services to identify interdependencies and critical chains between different airlines (Kierzkowski, & Kisiel, 2017).    

Ensuring strict and proper utilization of the available resources while still lobbying and mobilizing resources to improve the available infrastructural resources and manpower (Ar?kan, Deshpande & Sohoni, 2013). The airport finance department will be requested to set aside funds to extend and increase the ground handling space such as the terminal resources, the apron area, and taxiways. The number of attendants at the check-in areas, ramp handling services area, baggage loading, and transportation section, and the passport and visa inspection at the departure section will be beefed up to ease the long queues and time wasted at the airport. This increase in the number of attendants will be supplemented by technological solutions.

The new technological solution will be secured to enable off-site tagging. With offsite tagging solution in place, passengers will be able to identify themselves by scanning their boarding pass (Vastianos, Kyriazanos, Kountouriotis & Thomopoulos, 2014). After the scan, the bag tags for their baggage will be printed out automatically and the passenger will only need to drop the tagged bag at the baggage handling system. This solution will reduce the time spent at the check-in section and the long queues associated with this section. The bag drop unit will incorporate sensors to make the next stage of the process contactless (Abdulrahem, Nasereddin & Fares, 2013). The sensors identify and detect the tag at the pre-tagged bag, weighs the bag and approves or declines the process depending on whether the bag has met the required standards.

Using air traffic management slots, the optimization problems at the tactical planning level and at the online control section will be eliminated (Glover & Ball, 2013). The airport fleet management module will be evaluated and arising shortcomings addressed to ensure effective planning and forecasting of scheduled and unscheduled flights. This will deal with complexities such as delay in flights, change in flight routes and schedule, and aircraft changes. Real-time, safe and secure data management systems will be secured to enable the dispatch and receipt of operational data to and from all airport sections. Remote monitoring of the airport operations and reporting of incidents through a secure internet connection will enhance the decision-making process and the airport response to safety and emergency issues (Rawat, Singh, Chaouchi & Bonnin, 2014).

The safety of passengers and airport employees will be improved by securing state-of-the-art fire and other emergencies solutions from a reliable company. Security solutions that support on-time identification and accurate detection of security threats will be procured (Baskerville, Spagnoletti, & Kim, 2014). In addition, measures to automate buildings will be taken to ensure and guarantee the safety of passengers and staff while also improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the airport infrastructural setup. A biometric processing solution will be secured to handle the passenger identification process at the airport checkpoints (Kalakou, Psaraki-Kalouptsidi & Moura, 2015). The passenger will only be required to undergo a facial scan at the first checkpoint. Thereafter, the passenger will not be required to present their boarding pass and passport at the checkpoints. A technological system solution that supports audio way-finding solution to the visually despaired at the airport will be installed.

Through customized security systems, the airport areas will be surveilled and spanned throughout. All the airport security and safety systems will be integrated into a single intelligent system that will define workflows at the airport (Marks, Rietsema & Maytha, 2015). The staff member's situational awareness at the airport will consequently be improved and the delays occasioned by lengthy decision-making processes will be minimized. An intelligent and autonomous means of transport will be put in place to facilitate the movement of passengers and luggage around the airport (Zhu, Ferguson & Dolgov, 2014). A programmed driverless shuttle will be used to transport passengers from the terminal to the departure gate, from the apron area to the terminal and from one terminal to another while connecting flights.  

Conclusion:

The strategic and significant role played by the operations department in an airport requires it to randomly and continuously monitor the operations at the airport to enable the airport to keep up with the competitive nature of airline services and customer satisfaction. The problems encountered in the day to day operations of an airport are uniquely repetitive in the sense that the solving of one problem gives rise to a new bottleneck. Airports are nowadays regularizing the optimization of operation areas to improve efficiency and quality of services while at the same time reducing the cost of operations to all stakeholders involved.

 Queen Matliah International Airport ability to leverage a unified technological solution that integrates all the airport sections and departments with real-time, secure and flexible data is what is required to enhance efficient operations. Operation efficiency will then improve the profitability of the airport activities due to the timely decision-making process, reduction of operational costs and improved customer loyalty.

References:

Abdulrahem, W. K., Nasereddin, H. H., & Fares, S. M. (2013). Business continuity based on rfid. American Academic & Scholarly Research Journal, 5(3 special issue), 223.

Ar?kan, M., Deshpande, V., & Sohoni, M. (2013). Building reliable air-travel infrastructure using empirical data and stochastic models of airline networks. Operations Research, 61(1), 45-64.

Baskerville, R., Spagnoletti, P., & Kim, J. (2014). Incident-centered information security: Managing a strategic balance between prevention and response. Information & management, 51(1), 138-151.

Burghouwt, G. (2016). Airline network development in europe and its implications for airport planning (1st ed., pp. 7-28). London: Routledge.

Glover, C. N., & Ball, M. O. (2013). Stochastic optimization models for ground delay program planning with equity–efficiency tradeoffs. Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies, 33, 196-202.

Josefsson, B., Polishchuk, T., Polishchuk, V., & Schmidt, C. (2017). Scheduling air traffic controllers at the remote tower center. In Digital Avionics Systems Conference (DASC), 2017 IEEE/AIAA 36th (pp. 1-10). IEEE.

Kalakou, S., Psaraki-Kalouptsidi, V., & Moura, F. (2015). Future airport terminals: New technologies promise capacity gains. Journal of Air Transport Management, 42, 203-212.

Kierzkowski, A., & Kisiel, T. (2017). Simulation model of security control system functioning: A case study of the Wroclaw Airport terminal. Journal of Air Transport Management, 64, 173-185.

Marks, A., Rietsema, K., & Maytha, A. A. (2015). Airport Information Systems—Landside Management Information Systems. Intelligent Information Management, 7(03), 130.

Rawat, P., Singh, K. D., Chaouchi, H., & Bonnin, J. M. (2014). Wireless sensor networks: a survey on recent developments and potential synergies. The Journal of supercomputing, 68(1), 1-48.

Sama, M., D’Ariano, A., D’Ariano, P., & Pacciarelli, D. (2017). Scheduling models for optimal aircraft traffic control at busy airports: tardiness, priorities, equity and violations considerations. Omega, 67, 81-98.

Vastianos, G. E., Kyriazanos, D. M., Kountouriotis, V. I., & Thomopoulos, S. C. (2014). An RFID-based luggage and passenger tracking system for airport security control applications. In Signal Processing, Sensor/Information Fusion, and Target Recognition XXIII (Vol. 9091, p. 90911A). International Society for Optics and Photonics.

Zhu, J., Ferguson, D. I., & Dolgov, D. A. (2014). U.S. Patent No. 8,660,734. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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