New digital platform to transform aircraft turnarounds at Gatwick
Gatwick Airport believes that it has developed a new handheld digital platform that will transform the efficiency of aircraft turnarounds, reducing delays and unnecessary fuel burn on the ground.
Its AirTurn platform allows ground handlers to update air traffic controllers about changes to the turn process – in real time, direct from the apron.
This means that information can be communicated more quickly on changes to turn events – such as updates on baggage loading, refuelling or other aircraft preparations – giving the control tower a more accurate, real-time departure or Target Off-Block Time (TOBT) to feed into the airport’s overall flying programme.
Without the system, changes to aircraft turn events are updated through paperwork and radio communications – sometimes between several individuals at different locations – before being recorded into the system and communicated to the control tower and EUROCONTROL.
The AirTurn platform is accessed directly through Gatwick’s Community App which is already widely used by ground handling staff across the airport. It is also used by many other airports worldwide, including airports in VINCI Airports global network, and therefore has the potential to be rolled out across many other airports.
AirTurn is the latest in a number of innovative solutions pioneered by Gatwick and highlights VINCI Airports’ commitment to innovation and improved stakeholder and passenger experience.
The global airport operator notes that the innovation is part of its strategy to improve airport infrastructure and management, including the dissemination of innovative ideas across its network of 53 airports in 12 countries.
It states that “Gatwick is an innovation centre of excellence for VINCI Airports and AirTurn is the latest in a number of innovative solutions pioneered by the airport that are now used in other airports in the VINCI Airports network, including the Airport Community App”.
Both AirTurn and the Airport Community App were developed in partnership with AirportLabs.
Gatwick’s innovation and commercial IT manager, Karl Sulsh, said: “We are delighted to offer our new AirTurn platform more widely to our partners at Gatwick Airport, in what is a step forward in reducing delays and improving on-time performance.
“We created the platform after listening to our ground handlers and have delivered a digital solution that improves communication and provides fast, accurate information from the airfield in real time
“Gatwick and VINCI Airports are committed to creating innovative solutions for our partners and AirTurn is one of the key digital building blocks we are deploying to make the airport more efficient as we gear up for a busy 2022.”
Steven Moore, head of ATM network operations for EUROCONTROL, commented: “We are currently embracing the digital transformation of our operational systems, so it is exciting to see innovative projects from our partners such as this new digital platform at Gatwick.
“The new app will allow A-CDM communication from the aircraft stand to EUROCONTROL, resulting in more accurate estimates of take-off time being provided to the Network Manager, benefitting the Network and it all its users.”