Thursday, 9 April 2015

DIT Aeronautical Society visit to Aer Lingus Hangar 6

Aer Lingus Integrated Operation Center (IOC)
On behalf of the Aeronautical Society, I would like to thank Captain Steve Kelly and the amazing team that briefed us on the various topics during our visit to Hangar 6. This was a great opportunity for us to learn the depths of the operational side of the airline. The topics covered captured everyone’s attention, raising an interest to pursue a possible career in those areas. Moreover we were presented with an overall insight into the Integrated Operation Centre (IOC), the heart of the daily operation of Aer Lingus.

The highlight of the day was the presentation on the role of the Emergency Response Team, an area that not many students would contemplate. We learned about the thorough planning and preparation that goes on behind the scenes of an anticipated event, such as the French ATC strike, which coincidentally happened the day of our visit. It was impressive to hear that 95% of the attention was focused on Family Support in the case of an aircraft accident. This team would be like an “orchestra gathering around”, placing a lot of emphasis on planning in order to give certainty to the customer and the business.

David Lawton, introduced us to the Fleet Planning Operations, where his job is to make sure there are enough leased and purchased aircraft. Aircraft ‘commonality’ and ‘fit for its mission’ are two of the attributes David mentioned that are key factors of the strategic plan for the airline.

Production Planning was explained to us by Jonathan Capper, which essentially means that they try to optimize all the resources available around the airline by looking at crew planning, scheduling, maintenance costs and managing the assets. Working in this area would require high IT skills as there is a lot of information that needs to be ‘crunched’ and transformed into KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) which are then given to the Executive team to help them run the business.

DIT Aeronautical Society Group  
John Fields, the Line Maintenance Manager, was able to articulate the importance of Equipment/Tool control and how traceability plays a vital role in combating incidents/accidents for the airline and aviation in general. While we got a tour of the hangar, John showed us the Lower Deck Mobile Crew Rest area (LDMCR) of an A330-200, which for most of us was the first time seeing it. It was the same shape as a cargo container and, despite that, it is a very expensive and sophisticated part of the aircraft that in actual fact can be easily removed or fitted in the aircraft as dictated by crew flight time limitations.

This trip has undoubtedly been an eye opener for all of us, having learned so much about the logistics that go into making an airline operate effectively. Although experts at their jobs, the team made it clear that they are continuously learning, updating and reviewing their Standard Operating Procedures SOPs.

I am grateful I had the opportunity to meet such an enthusiastic team of aviation professionals and learn about their roles in Aer Lingus.

Alexandra Slabutu

Irish Aviation Research Institute © 9th April 2015 All Rights Reserved.