• Mobile Solutions Business Division – Europe

IBERIA AND PANASONIC JOIN FORCES USING CUTTING-EDGE TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE

Iberia is revolutionising airport management at Madrid-Barajas Airport with Panasonic's Toughbook range. T4 is the first hub in the world where mobile devices are being used in the majority of airport ramp handling services.
 
 
Each day, Iberia handles more than 60,000 passengers and over 600 flights from 40 different companies in terminal T4 at Madrid-Barajas. To carry out such complex operations with exceptional punctuality and efficiency, the company's staff require information in real time. This helps them to both prioritise their tasks and manage resources efficiently, and foresee potential incidents. Meaning each and every one of the airline's flights is on time, even during peak times when staff are working on 80 planes simultaneously. 

 

Mobility, efficiency and the ability to react without delay



Iberia is a founding member of the Oneworld alliance of airlines. It is the ninth largest airline in the world in terms of maintenance and engineering, and the leading company in Spain in terms of repairs, advanced technology and modifications. It is the leading handling operator in Spain and with 121 planes, flies to 91 destinations in 35 countries.

Punctuality is the main objective - a challenge that needs to be met for each and every flight. It is a complex operation because over 3,000 employees and approximately 1,000 vehicles need to be coordinated with extreme efficiency making use of the latest technology. In order to be able to ensure and improve both efficiency and punctuality, Iberia has developed various applications which, with the use of mobile devices, make the work carried out around the aircrafts in terminal T4 easier, from de-icing and baggage handling to refueling and maintaining ground equipment; with all the work required for a plane to be able to take off, being coordinated globally. As such, through its innovative Agora project, Iberia is using the latest technology to improve its ability to react without delay. 
 
 


However, not all mobile devices are resistant or robust enough to cope with the work on the runway or the hectic ramp handling work of aviation professionals. Therefore, Iberia has decided to put its trust in Panasonic's robust Toughbook laptops and tablets, the first of their kind on the market in terms of their exceptional solid build quality, and ability to withstand knocks, drops and severe weather conditions.
 
 


Using Panasonic mobile devices allows Iberia staff to access information on the entire operation in real time, foresee potential incidents, manage available resources better and, above all, reduce the time it takes to carry out assigned tasks. 

With Panasonic's Toughbook range,  T4 has become the world's first hub to use robust devices with high-visibility screens able to withstand knocks and all kinds of adverse weather conditions experienced in working environments such as airport aprons.

 

 
 

 

Panasonic's mobile applications in T4:

Ground equipment checks and refueling

As each day starts, all the equipment is ready to go. For the daily inspection of the 800 pieces of equipment used at Madrid-Barajas Airport to service the planes, Iberia has also developed an application which shows the various elements that need to be checked (wheels, headlights, rear-view mirrors, windscreen wipers, etc.) which can be accessed via the Panasonic CF-H2 tablets. It is a straightforward, paperless tool with graphic displays. "It's like having a portable workshop in your hands", an Iberia operator tells us. It means the process can be paperless and checks can be organised by ranking them in terms of urgency, making the process more flexible and efficient.

Cutting-edge technology (Java, HTML5 and CSS3) was used to develop this application, which means the web application can be used "offline".  The main advantage of this is that you can continue to use the application in areas where there is no network coverage, and even if there is a communications dropout.

Dimitris Bountolos, Deputy Director of Coordination & Hub at Iberia, says: "We have introduced the concept of mobility to a lot of the work processes carried out on the runway. The hub is the nerve center where all the information is collated and with these devices, for example, we can visualise the status and location of all the vehicles that are being used to service the planes, in real time. We are able to prioritise equipment fault repairs and assign teams to services/planes in the best way possible".

Plane maintenance: Mobile workshops with built-in CF-19 laptops

Airplane maintenance is carried out using mobile workshops with built-in robust Panasonic CF-19 laptops. These devices provide technicians with more independence; allowing them to consult faults in real time, speeding up the time it takes to find spare parts, and reduces the time it takes to resolve issues and travel from A to B. As a consequence, flight punctuality is improved. The CF-19 can be used both as a laptop and a tablet. 

"Once maintenance has been carried out on a plane, the necessary work is carried out prior to take-off: fueling, cargo and baggage transfer, catering, cleaning, etc. - a multitude of processes that can be controlled from here with the information generated in real time by all the devices and which, at the same time, is shared by all of the key parties involved on the ramp. This allows us to provide better customer service", explains Dimitris Bountolos.  

 

 

 

 

Coordinating flights with the FZ-A1 tablet

Prior to each take-off, lots of teams carry out work around the plane. In order to coordinate the teams and optimise each task, Iberia uses the latest technology: The FZ-A1 tablet. This device reduces communications via a transmitter with the hub control, obtains information on operations in real time and makes receiving tasks easier. Flight coordinators are now better equipped to be able to foresee any potential incidents and have more information at their fingertips for making decisions. "Now all we have to do to activate a flight is press a button", says a coordinator. 

Baggage handling: Monitored baggage

The Iberia staff responsible for baggage handling both in bays and when loading/unloading the plane, also have Panasonic FZ-A1 tablets and receive all the information on operations in real time. This makes them more independent and mobile, and enables them to be more proactive and foresee potential incidents, which means better service.

Monitoring loading and unloading with the CF-H2

The cargo needs to be loaded onto the plane in the shortest time possible. Every second counts and you have to know where to put each container right away, without paper and without any voice communication problems.

De-icing base: "digital" de-icing

The de-icing equipment operators have a PDA for reporting on the development of assigned tasks; supervisors use the Panasonic CF-H2 tablet containing all the information they require to manage and monitor the de-icing base's operations in real time and also interact with the control tower in order to better coordinate the movement of the aircraft.

The main benefits of introducing "mobility" at every level are, in the words of Iberia's Dimitris Bountolos, "greater efficiency in all work carried out around the planes, improved punctuality, and practically paperless ramp handling operations - along with the economic and environmental benefits this brings".

Iberia and Panasonic have joined forces using cutting-edge technology to provide excellent customer service, improving punctuality and efficiency day in, day out.