Through years of advancements in technology, the world is moving towards digitalization. Computing machines and information processing systems are utilized to reduce human workload and simultaneously improve various aspects of operational efficiency. Several industries have successfully integrated the technology to their core framework and achieved exceptional solutions. For the aviation industry, where safety is always a major concern, such approach has the potential to elevate aviation safety to a higher level.
In the civil aviation sector, regulatory agencies are the key players to ensure that the operational standards of the aviation service providers are aligned with ICAO requirements and recommendations. The effective regulatory system will result in the decreasing of accident rate. Meanwhile, the aviation related divisions including airlines, airport operators and ANSP must maintain their operational procedures at best practice in accordance with the regulatory standards. Therefore, reliance on technology to improve Safety Management Systems (SMS) and internal operations is an option that should not be omitted.
How Digital Technology can Improve Aviation Safety
Since the regulators and aviation service providers need to handle a lot of information from their internal activities, paper-based working systems are complex and time consuming. Utilization of advanced software systems will standardise the internal process and provide numerous beneficial functionalities to the end users.
- Systematic data structure: Centralization of information will enhance the data manipulation process including accessibility, recoverability, and usability. As a result, information management processes can be handled in more efficient manner.
- Utilization: Data processing method including statistical analysis, data visualization and querying can be applied to improve the quality of internal operations. Creating insights from existing data will allow users to precisely analyze and identify the root cause of the problems. Moreover, data visualization will facilitate the understanding and perception of the processed information. For those reasons, effective solutions can be promptly formulated.
- Transparency: All the activities performed will be recorded and can be traced by the system. The historical data stored in the database is accessible. Maintaining the information disclosure concept will enhance the safety culture.
- Security: Some sensitive information such as Aviation Security Manual must be kept confidential to prevent the improper usage of the information which can lead to illegal or hazardous activities. The information will be protected by multiple layers of cyber security, including network security, software security, database security and cloud security.
To this end, majority of the time spending and repetitive tasks will be eliminated together with human errors. The users will be able to spend more time on critical tasks and less time on irrelevant activities. Consequently, more efficient operations are attained.
Challenges for the Aviation Sector
Although most of the software in the market are configurable and can be customised to suit the organisation structure, integrating digital technology into the organization framework is not an easy task. From our experience, one of the most troublesome issues which occurs in the organisation is employee pushback. Due to the gap between generation, for some personnel, technology stays outside of their comfort zone. Employees generally feel comfortable in their traditional working style. Changing of routine will cause the employees to feel threatened which undermines the digitalization process of the company. Also, lack of IT knowledge and technology expertise can lead to inefficient usage of digital technology.
Overcoming the difficulties
Due to the regional and cultural differences, operating schemes of aviation service providers are unique in each country. Factors such as infrastructure, Standard Operating Procedure, Threat and Error Management, Surveillance philosophies and personnel background will vary across the globe. Thus, cooperating with an implementor or local implementor who has a clear understanding in each working culture to fill in the gap between technology and organisation structure is a potential solution for a smooth and successful transformation. Training sessions by experts can be held. This will allow personnel to possess adequate knowledge in the field outside their proficiency while keeping focused on their duties. It is important to create a culture that employees get familiar with a more technological workplace and have better understanding of how digital tools create more efficient outcome.
At present, civil aviation stakeholders in some countries still provide service below minimum international safety standards in various fields such as licensing, certification, accident investigation and operations. In order to strengthen the safety standards, the aviation service providers must surpass their traditional working style. Eventually, technology is only a facilitator. Culture change within the organisation and employee’s perspective to embrace new way of working are the sustainable keys to enhance efficiency and safety of aviation industry.
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About To70. To70 is one of the world’s leading aviation consultancies, founded in the Netherlands with offices in Europe, Australia, Asia, and Latin America. To70 believes that society’s growing demand for transport and mobility can be met in a safe, efficient, environmentally friendly and economically viable manner. To achieve this, policy and business decisions have to be based on objective information. With our diverse team of specialists and generalists to70 provides pragmatic solutions and expert advice, based on high-quality data-driven analyses. For more information, please refer to www.to70.com.