Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company Limited (HAECO) launched a tracking solution for the company’s ground service equipment (GSE) at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA).
Managing the movement of high-value equipment in a fast-paced environment is a demanding task that necessitates the support of dedicated technical personnel and advanced technology. This is the challenge faced by HAECO, which plays an important role in the region’s air transportation sector by providing line services for more than 140 airlines.
Through its services, HAECO ensures the safe and efficient operations of more than 300 transit flights at HKIA on a daily basis. World-class, timely performance is essential and is made possible by allocating various types of GSE and tools to certain locations at specific times.
To monitor and manage over 120 pieces of GSE, HAECO has launched a new software system that makes the best use of the latest Internet of Things (IoT) and long-range low-power (LoRa) networking technology. This unique innovation enables tracking and reporting of the movements and locations of the equipment in the sprawling airport area. A new e-work package solution and a mobile application have replaced the manual, paper-based process for line services. This system, which represents a pioneering commercial use of such technology at HKIA, has led to a significant improvement in operational efficiency and effectiveness.
The versatile software system is applicable on desktop computers, tablet devices, and iOS and Android smartphones. Aside from GSE identification and path tracing, other functionalities include alerts on anomalies, such as decrease of battery power below threshold and failure of LoRa connection; geozones, which provide information on custom definable geographical areas for GSE monitoring; landmarks such as fixed reference points for calculation of shortest distance; and a dashboard that shows indicators and their threshold and alerts on a single overview page.
In addition, a fully automated uniform management system provides maximum convenience in collecting and dropping off uniforms of technical personnel. Bluetooth and radio frequency identification technology are also employed to increase convenience and compliance with safety regulations.
As a proof of the project’s impact, communications overhead and travel time of the supporting workforce have been reduced compared to the time spent under the previous method of relying on indirect inference from flight schedules and verbal communication. This successful project reflects HAECO’s dynamic technological strategy, which brings massive potential in the use of IoT data collected through the system. As analytics can be performed on the big data, the company can predict usage, placement, and maintenance activities, thereby improving the cycle of general asset management.
“The HAECO business operation was previously challenged to locate and track appropriate and compliant equipment suitable or even mandatory for the given aircraft types and specific work requirements urgently amidst the busy flight schedule and traffic in the airport. We are particularly impressed as the average cycle time of GSE searching-locating-confirming has been reduced significantly from 30 minutes to less than 1 minute, almost instantaneously. The outcome of the project has raised service operation to the next level,” said KC Lo, Light Maintenance Superintendent (Support), Light Maintenance Operation.
Evidently, this project is an example of how multiple, well-executed changes can lead to remarkable differences in speed and timely service delivery, thereby contributing towards excellent service quality of flight transit handling in one of the world’s busiest transportation hubs.
The HKB National Business Awards, presented by Hong Kong Business, was held on 27 August 2019 at Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong.
This year’s nominees were judged by a panel consisting of Charbon Lo, Director at Crowe (HK) CPA Limited; Anthony Tam, Executive Director in Tax Services at Mazars Hong Kong; Andy Wong, IPO Leader at SHINEWING (HK) CPA Limited; Edward Au, Co-Leader of the National Public Offering Group & Partner, Audit & Assurance at Deloitte; Eugene Liu, Managing Partner at RSM Hong Kong.
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