Here we are going to explore how commercial aviation first begun before discussing modern day technology and how it has helped shape the way in which airlines and other aviation businesses operate today.
A duty to care for passengers has always been part of being a flight attendant, ever since the world’s first attendant, Heinrich Kubis, served passengers on board a DELAG Zeppelin flight in 1912.
However, the role has certainly evolved since Kubis’ day and also since the 1930s when the first female flight attendant, Ellen Church, began working for Boeing Air Transport.
The introduction of next-generation products and modern day advances, as you would expect, have had a significant impact on the day to day running of an airline – and the life of a flight attendant.
Indeed, the industry-wide goals to always innovate and eventually operate within a paperless environment have resulted in fantastic products being incorporated into aircraft design and airline product portfolios.
For example, on board sensors can deliver alerts for pressure changes, while handheld devices can host comprehensive software solutions, like Rusada’s Envision platform, to give airlines, cabin crew and maintenance, repair and overhaul providers (MROs) critical information on demand, to help improve efficiency and reduce costs.
Unsurprisingly in the early 1900s things weren’t so easy as airlines and their staff had to keep on top of all duties without the support of technology; pilots had to lug large paper files with them for each flight, which weighed many kilos, before the electronic flight bag (EFB) was introduced in the 1990s.
So as the industry moves forward embracing new technologies along the way, airlines and their passengers expect more for their money.
History in the making
In 1914, the first scheduled commercial flight took off from St. Petersburg, Florida to Tampa Bay carrying just one passenger – the former mayor of St. Petersburg, Abram C. Pheil – who successfully won his ticket at an auction for $400, making him the first passenger to pay for a flight.
Certainly, $400 was a lot of money at the turn of the 20th century but in hindsight this sum was a small price to pay for a flight that would make aviation, Pheil and pilot Tony Jannus, go down in history.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) has also played an important role in commercial aviation since it operated its first flight in 1919, making it the oldest carrier operating today.
And, during the past 97 years of service, the airline has been focused on making it stand out in the highly competitive marketplace.
In 1946, after the Second World War, KLM became the first European airline to start scheduled services across the ocean to New York, while in the 70s it was quick off the mark to order the first wide-body aircraft – the Boeing 747, and the airline has since moved forward to confidently embrace new and forward-thinking technology.
For example, in 2013, following insight from a pilot project that it launched in 2011, KLM announced that it would be issuing iPads to around 5,000 pilots and crew, to help support cabin crew activities on board.
At the time, Peter Hartman from the airline said: “The iPad enables staff to offer passengers even more personal service and can, for instance, be used to update them more quickly on last-minute operational changes.”
Indeed, handheld devices have drastically changed the way in which the industry operates; pilots have replaced paper documents with electronic flight bags and cabin crew often relying on iPads to communicate with passengers more efficiently.
And it’s these products that allow aviation companies to always be connected, which is highly important in an industry like this one.
In addition to the systems on board an aircraft assisting pilots and cabin crew with operational efficiency and passenger comfort, there are other solutions available that help airlines to better manage workforces on the plane and on the ground, by providing a comprehensive overview of all employee data.
Rusada’s Envision platform, for example, offers a modular solution that features an ‘Operations Manager’ module and ‘Configuration & Resource Manager’ module that help to deliver effective crew rosters, facilitate crew tasking and store training records, which includes information on exams that should be taken by individuals in order to be compliant with specific requirements on a job.
Engineers have also welcomed iPads, tablets and smartphones into their daily working lives, introducing them into the hangar to improve maintenance processes and reduce downtime and costs.
Thus Rusada also caters to an airline’s maintenance arm and/or third party MRO providers, through its advanced MRO platform, Envision.
The ‘Maintenance Manager’ module is currently one of seven modules that help businesses to anticipate change while providing the management information required to respond to change quickly, which is extremely important in such a time and cost sensitive industry.
This particular module supports the forecasting for work pack creation and allows an end user to plan work and see the effect of that planned work on the resource capability of their organisation.
An unstoppable force
Of course airlines and other organisations are even more focused on meeting customer demands right now than ever before, because the current aviation market is an unstoppable force that companies need to evolve with in order to remain competitive.
And as passenger numbers are expected to reach 7 billion by 2034, with passenger travel predicted to experience a growth of 6.9% in 2016 alone, the industry and economy welcome new technologies with open arms.
If you’d like to find out what Rusada has planned next, then sign up for the webinar on ‘Maximising the Bottom Line for Maintenance Execution in an Increasingly Competitive Operating Environment’, hosted by Aviation Week on Thursday 14th April. Click here to register.