Tracking Aviation Assets in Airports With Asset Tracking Tools

Asset Tracking Software / January 2020

The importance of tracking aviation assets can play a key role in effective airport asset management. With the use of real-time tracking technologies, such as Real-time Location System (RTLS), these huge organisations have the ability to locate and track all critical assets that keep airport operations running smoothly. In this guide, we’ll cover:

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The Importance of Using Real-time Aviation Tracking

Airports are naturally very busy environments and often filled with thousands of travellers and employees.

For instance, London Heathrow Airport hosted 88.1 million people during 2018. And that’s not including airport personnel.

Tracking aviation assets in real-time infographic

Due to this vast number of visitors every year, airports tend to rely heavily on their assets. Whether that be assets inside terminal buildings, like moving walkways, or outside terminal assets such as boarding bridges.

But, with great reliance comes great responsibility. And, also, effective asset management.

How Real-time Tracking can Improve the Key Areas of an Airport

A key part of implementing a successful asset management program within an airport would, first, be to identify a successful real-time asset tracking system.

Why? Well, if an airport was to successfully track key aviation assets it would lead to improvements in four main areas:

1. Operations

It can be essential to understand where personnel and physical assets are located at all times. This is not just true for airports but for any organisation, large or small.

Knowing the real-time location of all assets can effectively avoid any costly delays to operations.

And, having a real-time location tracker installed, can even reduce expenditure costs. Leading to a reduction in misplaced, lost or stolen assets.

2. Passenger Experience

Although flight delays are at fault for a majority of customer outrage, the failure of equipment isn’t far behind. With these failures occurring both inside terminal buildings and airside.

In 2018 an IT system failure left thousands of British Airways passengers stranded, costing the airline an estimated £8million in damages.

But, by tracking aviation assets, airports can then start to build a detailed lifecycle. This would include asset acquisition, maintenance schedules and even the disposal process.

Eventually leading to fewer failures and healthier finances.

3. Security

Airport security can contribute hugely to an airport’s expenditure. In fact, security costs make up a quarter of a major airport’s income.

Although security types may differ, all airports still require security for a majority of there assets. And, with most modern real-time tracking technologies, an airport security program can receive notification alerts when an unplanned event or problem has occurred.

This allows security personnel to immediately notice and react to the problem.

4. Compliance with Reports and Audits

Some aviation tracking technologies may also link to asset management modules, which can include maintenance and reporting features.

Here, maintenance teams can effectively utilise the data that a tracking system provides. And, with this data, they are able to check that equipment is serviced and calibrated in line with compliance regulations.

Teams can also respond to work requests quickly upon receiving an equipment failure notification.

Two Types of Aviation Assets That Need Tracking

Airport Personnel

Modern tracking technologies and devices can allow businesses to track the location of their workforce. This can be done either through an employee’s mobile device or via a unique tracking tag.

By tracking personnel, staff managers can make sure the right people are in the right place and at the right time. Employees are then able to carry out their specific jobs without delay.

Real-time workforce tracking can also be used to monitor employee attendance records and time spent at work.

Physical Aviation Assets

A large airport can be full of essential assets that are needed to ensure the smooth running of day-to-day operations.

Assets, that need to be tracked and managed, usually include:

  • Airport vehicles, such as pushback tractors and de-icing vehicles
  • Passenger boarding bridges
  • Belt loaders for loading and unloading baggage onto an aircraft
  • Baggage handling systems
  • Gate display systems
  • Site-wide CCTV

The management and tracking of these physical assets are crucial for an airport’s effective time and cost management.

For example, imagine a customer is late for her flight and she needs to get across the airport quickly. If the moving walkway is out of service, it is going to take her much longer to get to her gate for boarding.

Another example would be a faulty baggage handling system, resulting in a long wait for customers to receive their luggage.

And, if the mobile unit carrying a passenger boarding bridge breaks down, customers could face a long walk back to ‘Arrivals’.

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The Components of Tracking Aviation Assets in Real-time

Using real-time tracking, like RTLS, for tracking aviation assets usually consists of three major components.

The first is the tracking tag, which is physically attached to an asset. Depending on whether the asset is inside or outside the terminal, some tracking tags can also contain telemetry sensors to monitor environmental conditions.

The second component is an overlay infrastructure such as Barcode, RFID, Bluetooth or GPS. This enables a communication link between the tracking tags and aviation tracking software.

Lastly, the third component is the aviation tracking system itself. Location information and any other data picked up by sensors are transmitted and relayed to a centralised system, where the relevant personnel can access it.