An interview with Bob Slade, Airport Operations IT Specialist, EFORSA. By Ross Falconer
The COVID-19 pandemic has meant more airport staff working remotely. The requirement to seamlessly share information across different teams has underlined the benefits of all-in-one cloud-based software to manage airport operations.
“With Eforsair, the airport situation can be monitored remotely in real time via the dashboard, and directors or managers can intervene if necessary,” says Bob Slade, Airport Operations IT Specialist, EFORSA. “Everyone shares the same platform and instantly sees the same data during online meetings. The statistical data is also current for inter-departmental analysis and decision-making, so strategic changes can be implemented as situations develop.”
Eforsair Business is an Airfield Operational Management System that works on desktop and mobile devices. As the name suggests, it is designed for all airfield services but is adaptable for other airport departments. “Essentially it’s a logbook, but it contains more elements than traditional ones,” Slade explains. “It includes facets such as shift management, Wildlife Hazard Management (WHM) with geolocation, asset management, document management, and major incident management.”
When something significant occurs, everyone who needs to know about the event is automatically informed via the communications element as soon as it is committed into the system. From this point onwards, with appropriate permissions, recipients may access the system to see what’s going on and input any relevant data, irrespective of their location.
“The approach we use is unusual as it’s an all-in-one system for all departments,” Slade comments. “There are no separate modules and any future developments to the system, dependent on client needs, will be included at no charge.”
Eforsair has developed an Economy version of its software, which is now available free-of-charge in response to the COVID-19 situation. “It was originally designed as a taster version of Eforsair Business, but our Managing Director’s view was that airport budgets would decline, and remote business management would become more necessary, so we decided to help out the vulnerable airports,” Slade explains.
Eforsair Economy is a logbook with built-in notifications and training management elements. It is deployed with full tutorials and all the base data needed to make it fully functional. This version is limited to four departments, with unlimited user access, and works on all devices. “It serves virtually all the needs of small General Aviation airports in our view, and we are happy to help. The responses to our offer have been very positive,” says Slade. “We have regular contact with clients, who are delighted to be offered the system. We are of the mind that, when things settle down and they are secure in business and employment, they will take their own time to reflect without the pressure from us to do so. In France, without exception, all Economy deployments have resulted in an upgrade to Business.”
Eforsair software is already used by 24 French airports, while it has recently been deployed to airports in the Czech Republic, Ireland, Italy, Romania, and the UK. There are versions currently available in four languages – English, French, Italian and Spanish – with a German version coming online by the end of the year.
Slade adds that, if a business has multiple employees, then collaboration should be a top priority, with cloud-computing making that collaboration a simple process. “When we demonstrate to our customers, their reaction is phenomenal and makes all our hard work worthwhile. We carried out a recent survey and there was positive consensus throughout. Our favourite comment came from a potential UK customer: ‘It’s opened our eyes for sure, and I’ve been in aviation some 40 years now’. So, we are confident that we are moving in the right direction.”