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TITAN Kicks-off its “Integration in the Air Transport System” and Holds Fourth Progress Meeting PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 17 June 2012 18:18

The EC 7th Framework Program project TITAN is slowly approaching the final leg of its exciting three year circuit looking at improving the aircraft turnaround process. The TITAN partners gathered in Madrid, Spain, on 14-15 December to review progress and to kick-off WP6. I will come back on the significance of this work-package in moment.

Participation, as we have grown used to in this project, was very good and SESAR also sent its WP6 (Airport) leader for good measure.

Participants noted that the general economic malaise was also impacting the air transport industry and it was increasingly difficult to get contributions in kind from airlines and even airports as they themselves were increasingly short of resources. Nevertheless the project partners were calling on their network of experts to compensate this unfortunate situation to the maximum extent possible.

Good news came in the form of the realization that based on the outcome of the gaming exercises run in the fall of last year, only minor changes to the TITAN Concept of Operations will be required. This is important as it confirms that the project has been on the right track from the start and is also the key to the longer term stability of the work.

The TITAN model, one of the important deliverables of the whole exercise, is slowly taking shape even while it was found that the effort required to develop it is a bit heavier than originally foreseen. Nevertheless, the achievement so far is very promising.

The cost/benefit work is dependent on information available only from the various external stakeholders (i.e. external to the project itself). This information is solicited based on the outcome of the validation exercises and the TITAN tool definition. This effort is also impacted by the difficulties experienced in contacting stakeholders but workarounds are being defined to ensure the collection of required information irrespective of the difficulties.

The only piece of work that is lagging behind the schedule is concerning the validation of the TITAN concept. However, as mentioned before, early results point to there being practically no need to revise the concept in any significant way and it could also be safely assumed that the TITAN model will basically only confirm what the gaming exercises have already shown, namely that the concept is sound and there is no need to revise it except possibly in minor ways. Working on these assumptions, the current delay can be neutralized so that there will be no impact on the project as whole.

Work on the TITAN tool, another of the important deliverables, is progressing apace. Since the tool will have to take into account the results of the validation exercises, the tool designers and the folks working on the validation will have to make sure that their activities are fully coordinated.

TITAN has always considered sharing its knowledge with the rest of the aviation community a high priority and this continues to be the case. The TITAN website, participation in selected events and articles here on Roger-Wilco are all part of this approach. This year the ICRAT conference, to be held in the USA, appeared as a good opportunity to send a paper to, describing what TITAN is expected to accomplish. It is also time to start thinking about the venue of the final TITAN Workshop, a subject that will be discussed in detail at the next progress meeting.

Finally, a few words about the famous WP6. This is the TITAN WP6 and not that of SESAR… TITAN WP6 is all about integrating TITAN results in the air transport system and the activity is led by BluSky Services (who is also the owner of the Roger-Wilco blog). Why is this work package important? TITAN will come with a concept and a tool that enables the optimization of the turnaround process… but guidance is needed to tell the industry how the TITAN experts thought their concept and tool can best be integrated into the existing environment. Of course this is easier said than done.

If nothing else, the need to merge seamlessly into the legacy environment as well as the new, more advanced environment envisaged by SESAR is a major challenge. Integration will have to happen in a number of contexts, ranging from the technical (e.g. databases and formats) through the human/machine interfaces to the institutional, including training. One should not forget that TITAN will provide a new tool but in order to use it to maximum effect, people’s attitudes and manner of working will have to evolve and the integration task will need to address also this difficult area.

All in all, this was once again a very enjoyable TITAN meeting and the challenges will keep the partners working with enthusiasm as the project wings its way to a successful landing.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 July 2012 08:07