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Among the various airline computer applications the computer reservation system holds much importance in today's date. It is a computerized system mainly used to feed in and store and occasionally retrieve information and basically conduct integral transaction on airlines travel. The computer application on reservation parameter has travelled a long way from its first introduction in the year 1950.
Down the years with latest developments, modern technology implementation and change in laws the reservation system has also changed. It is a sole system of maintaining much of the management task. Be it maintaining records, flight schedules, seat management, passenger reservation, ticket booking, tariffs and many others. Previously all the information of a particular airline was restricted within its staffs and it was not allowed to be shared with others. But with the push of the travel agents in the year 1970, the emergence of the computer reservation system came into account where other airlines, travel agents and any individual can peep into the information for a particular airline. It has been globalized for all, where not only the purchases of tickets are facilitated; the whole system is accessible to the consumers. The first to introduce automated booking was
American Airlines in the year 1946. To track various incidents and information and also to make work smoother, faster and more efficient the introduction was highly appealing to every airline worldwide. In due course they invested into research and development of the particular invention to make it more users friendly and easier and nearly in 1970 airlines were successful in building up their own systems. The major systems that are popular today are Worldspan, SABRE, Abacus, Patheo and Galileo. The American airlines are known to use mainly SABRE along with Lastminute.com, Travelocity and Expedia Abacus is considered to be much popular in the Asian countries (Wahab Salah, Cooper Chris, 2001).
In flight services and Provisioning programs
In flight services and provisioning programs refers to the services available to the customers during the flight. It was claimed that in the year 1936, smoking room, dining room, lounge, piano and a bar was provided by the airline Hindenburg in a two and a half hour flight. Later on the facilities provided were revised and the facilities majorly provided was listed down to food and drinks and occasionally in long flights there was projector movie played for the entertainment of the people.
Soon there was major requirement of the advanced in flight services and there was demand of designing the cabin in the preferred way. IFE systems were in corporate where the major players were Thales Group, Panasonic Avionics Corporation and Rockwell Collins. Down the years with much advanced technology is implemented and the in flight services have become much improved with various modern applications introduced in every way giving all the comfort and facility to the passengers. It is a major innovation since many of the flights include much longer journeys than twenty hours and passenger needs comfort and proper facility while traveling continuously for such long.
The longer destination flights need more of these services as the passengers go through major time zone difference which usually makes them physically unstable. Good service and good provisioning programs becomes mandatory in these cases. Today there are vast entertainment services available with TV channels, musical programs, block buster movies, documentaries, educational channels, news broadcasting and many others. This is only because of the innovative software systems as well as hardware applications that got implemented in the recent days to facilitate the passengers. The major concern in installing these applications was cost parameters and system safety along with challenges like user compatibility. But thankfully these hurdles were easily crossed gifting the modern airlines with superior services that make the journey more comfortable.
Future of Airline Computer Applications
The future of the Airline computer application surely seems profitable to the aviation industry. With the adoption of various technological advancements, the operational efficiency is much shifted to other parameters where the computer applications conduct the majority of the show (Vasigh Bijan, 2008).
The focus is more on the marketing strategies with implementation of essential business tools. Various technological implementations are still in the pipeline which needs to be implemented that can make more beneficial contribution to the flight passengers in the near future. A common question that often comes up in general people mind is that whether in future flights will be piloted by computers only and not by humans? The answer may not be yes but it is not far away from the positive note. With such huge involvement of computer applications in every part and functioning of the aviation industry, it may not be surprising to witness a more advanced operation. But the question comes would that be good for the industry? It is human psychology that people tend to get depended on computers and such may also happen with hi-rated automated functionalities in the airlines.
The pilots get more and more relaxed giving option to possibilities of more tech issue if a little mistake happens and thus welcoming bigger dangers. In earlier days , tech issues were less with pilots more conscious for the mistakes but with the advancement of technology the controls are getting more computerized and the powers from human hand is getting shifted giving possibility to rise of technical failure and life threatening disaster. It is very much required to keep a proper balance between the two and the industry giants should keep that in mind. However with the present enforcements, the future seems bright enough if the controls are kept at the right place at the right time.
The History of Information Management at the Airlines
The history of Information management in the Airlines industry goes long back. Information management is the record keeping device that used to store all the necessary information's regarding the ticket details, passenger information including flight schedules and every other information about the operation.
At the very beginning it was not globalized and every airline company used to maintain their own data and information which can be only accessed by calling the airline office and confirming from their staff. There was no opportunity for either the consumers or the travel agents to know the information from elsewhere. It was the American airlines who first established automated booking in 1946 and comprehensive software to record all the necessary information to track down and retrieve at any point. This was very much appreciated by the whole aviation industry. It endured years of modification. Trans Canada airlines soon after came down with successful innovation of computer based systems that have remote terminals which was implemented in operation in the year 1953.
American Airlines was also not far away with the next launch of SABRE in co-ordination with IBM in the year 1960. It was such a huge success that soon it was named as the largest data processing system. Close to 1970 almost every airline formed their computer application and soon with the Apollo Reservation System the travel agents were also allowed to access the information. With Apollo system further developments spread over European airlines and soon with the help of much research and development the computer reservation system was highly implemented with the world taking advantage from the superior information management system. Not only the airlines got benefitted from this advanced technology with worldwide exposure and access the travel agents also got hugely benefitted. Now consumers can access information at a click of a button anytime anywhere.
Airline Administration and the Purpose of Computer Applications
There are a number of segments that works together to run a full-service airlines. In this industry, a number of systems interact with each other to make sure that the planes fly safely and ensure that they are scheduled correctly. A majority of these systems are dependant on computers to a large degree. At the present scenario, almost every different segment involves computers, starting from the preliminary travel arrangements of the passengers to the operation of the airplanes and an airport, and other passenger services as well.
Computers are used on simple as well as complicated levels in the administration of airlines. Whether it is the front-end systems like making reservations or back-end organization, the use of computers have turned into a necessity for every job. When it comes to back-end management, computers are utilized for recording data about the employees of the airline and their payroll. Beyond this, the computers play a very important role in operating as well as repairing the airplanes. No matter which method you use for booking a flight, the computer system of the airlines stores and processes your reservation data. When you opt for online booking of a flight, the registration information is stored directly with the airline company.
Computers are the foundation of the Airline Reservation System (ARS) and it makes the administration more efficient. There are many such important systems used in airlines that make sure that everything works in a planned way. A few of the systems include departure control, e-commerce platform, inventory system and integrated reservations. Other than passenger services, airport services also rely greatly on computers. Nowadays, security-screening devices like X-rays also depend on computers for a good deal of their functioning. Computers are essential for the pre-screening measures used in airports and are also critical for the service of air traffic control, of the airport.
Flight Dispatch Applications
Airlines appoint flight dispatchers who are communication personnel, and their primary responsibility is to plan and monitor the progress of a flight. Along with the pilot, the dispatcher is also legally responsible for the flight's safety. A dispatcher might also have the authority of delaying, diverting, and even cancellation of a flight. Normally, a dispatcher should have a license issued by the country's aviation authority. With the advent of computer application in airlines, a dispatcher also uses sophisticated dispatch applications and software tools for monitoring the progress of a flight, and also advises the crew about circumstances, which may affect the safety of the flight.
These applications put forward all the information that is required for representing a familiar operating picture. Such applications are also used to provide support for flight planning, which include General Aviation and also helps in flight preparation. The applications are useful for calculating balance and weight, estimating the fuel requirements and also for in-flight emergency feedback. The flight dispatch software is installed on the fundamental EFB (Electronic Flight Bag) system.
The EFB is actually an electronic information administration tool, which helps the crew to carry out the flight management chores efficiently without use of papers. This is a computing platform, which is intended towards reducing or replacing paper-based orientation material. This system can also host software applications for automating other jobs that are generally conducted by hand, like take-off calculations. There are many benefits of using EFB, but particular benefits vary as per the kind of applications utilized, size of operation as well as distribution system and content management. The operators have conventionally used such applications prior to the journey for scheduling, planning, administrative functions, and performance calculations. A flight dispatcher should be familiar with the software tools used for flight dispatch. Some of these tools include crew scheduling, planning systems aircraft performance analysis, airport analysis, NavData and other such related applications.
Maintenance, Routing, and Crew Scheduling Applications
Planning and maintenance operations are among the most information sensitive and complex segments for management of any aviation or airline company. Planning and operation personnel are responsible to keep the aircraft compliant and have to consider the aircraft location and status, varying schedules, intricate maintenance programs as well as other external orders. Information technology has also entered into this segment of airlines.
There are many maintenance applications, which empower the airline to carry out proper maintenance planning and use live or advanced information for planning, organizing, and controlling maintenance. These tools permit electronic control of maintenance programs, to bring out the ultimate in real-time observation and planning. Some of the other areas where computer applications have made their way include routing and scheduling. Many air traffic controllers and commercial airlines now use GIS for routing applications and airspace planning. The recent improvements to 3D GIS enables it to combine the advanced airspace modeling applications with the geographic details from the local communities like land use, parcels, new construction, modified terrain, and building heights surrounding the airport.
When it comes to crew scheduling, now most of the airlines make use of software programs for managing the process of crew scheduling. These software tools make certain that the crew is working legally and efficiently. The main advantage of such tool is its availability, economy, and simplicity. These days airline industry is paying much attention on crew scheduling optimization because of the rise in work force cost. Now, management and crewmembers can interrelate with data and schedules in real-time web interface. They can see and act upon the status as and when it develops or alters, instead of bidding or requesting for the schedule and then waiting for the result. After the creation of the PBS (Preferential Bidding System), the next step is cooperative live PBS crew scheduling. The arrival of internet and its growing reach is bringing many changes in crew scheduling.