Application of it in the airlines sector

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Application of it in the airlines sector

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  • 1. 7/14/2014Application ofITGroup 8InAirlineIndustryPresented By:Tirthankar Sutradhar

2. Application of IT in the Airlines sectorThere are a number of major areas where Information Technology has revolutionized the entireconcept of a field, and one of them is the Airlines industry. The Air Transportation System andseveral key subsystems including the Aircraft, Airline, and Air Traffic Management are modeledas interacting control loops. The impact of Information Technologies on each of thesesubsystems is evaluated through the performance of these control loops. Informationtechnologies are seen to have a significant impact on the safety, efficiency, capability, capacity,environmental impact and financial performance of the Air Transportation System and itscomponents.Fig1: Scheduled Passenger and Cargo Traffic by RegionThe Indian and International Air Transportation Systems have demonstrated remarkable growthand increased performance over the past few decades. Fig.1 demonstrates the growth inpassenger and cargo traffic in international regions since 1972.Impact of IT in the Vehicle level system of an Airline:At the Vehicle System level there have been profound changes in aircraft systems driven byInformation Technologies over the past few decades. This is strikingly apparent in theGroup 8 3. transformation from Steam Gauge cockpits with electromechanical analogue instrumentationto digital Glass Cockpit displays. Some aircraft such as the Boeing B-737 and B-747 serieshave models that span this cockpit transformation illustrating the rapid change in informationtechnologies within the vehicle system. While the cockpit changes may be the most apparent,they are only part of deeper IT changes in the vehicle subsystems.There have been significant IT impacts at the Vehicle System level. These include safetyimprovements, resulting from enhanced flight control, the incorporation of alerting systems andimproved crew situation awareness displays. Other impacts include capability improvementssuch as all-weather operations and operational efficiency improvements such as increased fuelefficiency and reduction in required crew.Fig 2: Basic Vehicle Information FlowAs an example, some of the key IT trends and impacts on each of the major elements in theaircraft information flow loop represented in Fig 2 are discussed below.a. Databus: The digital databus has transformed aircraft information architectures. Thedatabus architecture allows data to be used by multiple elements in the informationarchitecture and enables a degree of functional interaction and coordination betweencomponents that was not feasible in analogue information transmission systems. Thedatabus architecture includes both the physical elements and the interface standards.b. Sensors: Individual sensor technology has been revolutionized by electronic andmicroprocessor enabled sensor systems. These sensors have enhanced performance andother desirable characteristics such as linear output, automatic compensation and databuscompatible outputs. The improved air data system performance has had the effect ofallowing Reduced Vertical Separation Minima (RVSM) at high altitudes, doubling thenumber of flight levels above 29,000 ft and increasing airspace capacity.Group 8 4. A number of External Threat Sensors have been developed which have had a significantimpact on flight safety. Airborne weather radar has reduced the convective weatherencounters. Traffic Collision and Avoidance Systems (TCAS) have provided a redundantsafety net when Air Traffic Control facilities fail.c. Control: Auto flight systems have evolved from basic autopilot functions such as winglevelers to more sophisticated 3 axis autopilots and coupled approach capability. Autothrottles evolved from simple mechanically served throttles to Full Authority DigitalEngine Controllers (FADEC) that provide auto throttle functions and also optimizeengine performance and fuel efficiency.Flight Management Systems (FMS) integrate auto flight and navigation systems to allowtrajectory level control as well as other flight management functions (e.g. monitoringfuel, estimating weight, performance calculations and automatically tuning the navigationradios). The integrated on Flight Management Systems with Fly By Wire actuationsystems has enabled envelope protection (e.g. stall and bank angle limits) as a mechanismto increase flight safety.Fig 3: Software growth in Boeing Aircraftd. Displays: There has been a significant evolution in cockpit display technologies.Displays have transitioned from electro-mechanically based instrumentation to integratedelectronic displays. These displays include Primary Flight Displays (PFD) whichintegrate basic aircraft state and guidance information, Horizontal Situation Displays(HSD) and recently Vertical Situation Displays (VSD) which integrate navigation, FMSGroup 8 5. and external threat information to enhance pilot situation awareness. InformationTechnology advances such as enhanced databases and communication systems are alsochanging flight documentation from traditional paper based approaches to Electronicdocumentation systems. Normal and Emergency electronic checklist systems have beenincorporated in new aircraft systems (e.g. B777 and A380).Fig 4: Boeing Horizontal and Vertical Fig 5: Primary Flight DisplaySituation Displaye. Decision Support: Information Technologies have enabled the emergence of decisionsupport systems including Alerting Systems, Guidance Systems and Planning Systems.Alerting Systems have evolved from basic vehicle state monitoring (e.g. fuel,temperatures, stall warning) to alerting based on external states.f. Crew: Required flight crew for commercial flight operations have been systematicallyreduced by the incorporation of Information Technologies as well as the design ofsimpler systems and procedures. As flight crew are a major operational cost, this hasresulted in increased cost efficiency and operational flexibility.Impact of IT in the Air Traffic Management System LevelIT is crucial to an airport's air traffic control services. While the communication between airtraffic controllers and pilots occurs through radio, the system by which this communication isGroup 8 6. synthesized with radar and weather data is based on Information Technology. IT allows airtraffic controllers to visualize and track the location of planes in the air via computers, and theninstruct pilots as to the correct course of action.Impact of IT in the Airline System LevelFig 6: Airline Level Flight Operation and Business Control LoopsA simple model of the key operational control elements at the airline system level is shown inFig. 6. On the right is the airline operational loop where the Airline Operations Control (AOC)center dispatches and coordinates flights and related resources such as crew, aircraft,maintenance and local station facilities such as gates, ramps, baggage handling, etc. The aircraftare dispatched and controlled in flight in collaboration with Air Traffic Control and the flightcrew in a triad of responsibility and control. Passengers and cargo are managed through apassenger processing function that is related to, but separate from, the dispatch control loop. Theoperational loop is responsible for providing the air transportation services. Its efficiencyinfluences operating costs and the Cost per Available Seat Mile (CASM).On the left side is the business control loop. This loop is responsible for determining flightschedules through the Network Planning process, determining pricing through RevenueManagement process and distributing the seat inventory through Marketing and the ComputerReservation Systems.Group 8 7. a. Airline Flight Operations: Information Technology have had a significant impactimproving system coordination in the airline operational loop which can often spanmultiple continents. For flight operations the Aircraft Communication Addressing andReporting System (ACARS) VHF datalink is one of the most significant examples. TheACARS system is a commercial air-ground datalink and is now a critical component inmany airline operational programs from, dispatch functions, to coordinating passengertransfers, to sending maintenance requests to automatic engine monitoring. These havehad a major impact on cost and operational efficiency.Fig 7: Example ACARS Applicationsb. Passenger Services: When you book a flight, regardless of the method, your reservationinformation is processed and stored by the airline's computer system. If you book thisonline, your registration information is directly stored with the company. If you bookyour flight over the phone, a customer service representative will enter this informationfor you. This computer-based reservation system allows you to easily modify travelarrangements at any airport, and even to use multiple airline companies over the courseof a single trip.Group 8 8. c. Airport Services: Many aspects of an airport rely heavily on computers. Securityscreening machines such as X-rays may not make use of personal computers, but they dorely on computer technology for a great deal of their operations. Furthermore, computersare necessary for the use of pre-screening measures such as the current U.S. counter-terrorismefforts.Business Scenario:Information Technology in Airlines industry have been heavily used to maximize revenue inboth the Network Planning and revenue management processes. However clearly the mostsignificant recent IT factor on the airline business loop has been the internet which has shiftedthe playing field and undermined many of the schedule and pricing assumptions of the traditionalairline industry. Airline tickets are the ideal Internet product where a consumer purchases theproduct online and goes to the point of delivery to receive the product. In 1999, Airline ticketsovertook personal computers as the highest category of internet sales in the U.S. The internet hasalso improved cost efficiency in