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Navigating turbulent times in the aviation industry

How secure, easy remote access helps keep Eurowings flying

Navigating turbulent times in the aviation industry
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Flying isn’t easy. Managing flight operations requires airlines to stay on top of a range of complex and frequently changing factors, such as crew changes, weather disruptions, and aircraft availability. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, managing flight operations has become even more complex as pandemic-related lockdowns clipped the wings of the aviation sector and led to many staffers shifting to home-based work.

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While there were fewer flights to manage, operations planning now depended on a variety of non-corporate computing environments with varying bandwidth quality and reliability. Like every airline, Eurowings must keep its planes and passengers flying safely and on schedule. With a fleet of more than 130 aircraft, the low-cost German-based carrier—part of the Lufthansa Group—employs approximately 300 staff members to manage flight operations. Prior to the pandemic, Eurowings was exploring a new technology solution to enable remote access to its employees. When the pandemic hit, the airline knew it had to prioritize remote access—despite frozen IT budgets—and quickly put in place a new remote-access solution.

Where the old system had run on central servers in Eurowings’ data center, the company adopted a new cloud-based system that solved the previous problems related specifically to system administration, security, and remote sessions for home-based workers.

Through a browser-based solution, home-based Eurowings employees are now assured of fast remote access to the data and high-resolution graphical displays they need to plan and manage flights. The solution provides strong security through network encryption and support for employee logins and verification. Temperamental home Wi-Fi and bandwidth issues are resolved through innovative data-compression technology, and the entire system can be centrally managed, making it easy for IT staff to watch for problems and help solve users’ issues remotely.

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“What we’ve learned in the past 12 months is taking nothing for granted. Things changed constantly, sometimes on a weekly basis, and so flexibility was and is key,” says Uwe Kohlmetz, head of flight OPS IT, Eurowings. “The solution helps us by supporting one of our most critical applications and providing measures to support our internal customers, fix incidents, and react to new challenges that arise because of the pandemic. And it gives us the flexibility to do that from home, from our offices in Cologne, or, if needed, basically from everywhere in the world.”

While helping employees work more efficiently, the solution has also reduced support overhead and delays for aircraft operations.

“Flight planning is critical for the aviation industry, and this solution is proving to be the single, stable, and secure solution, rich in the functionality that we needed,” says Andreas Buxot, expert flight operation application, Eurowings. “Our users are very happy.”

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As more flights resume and global travel restrictions keep evolving during the pandemic, the new system has made it easier for employees to react quickly to changing conditions, whether that involves reinstating or altering routes, shifting crews, adjusting ground services or other tasks.

Eurowings is an OpenText customer. Read more here.