Keeping visual control of fleet movements and optimising ground operations

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Now there is an airport operations and vehicle monitoring system that delivers cheaper ground handling provision with fewer emissions. XOPS has been jointly developed by BS Reso Net with Nash Tec, the European branch of ASTUS, and coordinated by Resonate. XOPS promises high levels of return but what exactly is it and what can it do?

XOPS is a tool that enables visual control, planning and project simulation of all airport vehicles. It has already been operating successfully at Paris CDG Airport for several years. Veolia Airport Services, Air France KLM, WFS, Swissport , Sodexi, Keolis and Flybus already rely on XOPS for the visual control of the movements of their fleets. Titan Aviation, a prominent player in refuelling equipment, decided to equip all its refuelling trucks with an embedded XOPS device.

The name itself – “XOPS” – explains what it is all about. “X” denotes a multiple; “OP” stands for operations; “S” is an abbreviation of screen; and the whole brand “XOPS” refers to all “all the operations on your screen.”

The system monitors all linked operations, such as cleaning, refuelling, passenger transfers and baggage, and distribution of cargo pallets to and from aircraft. XOPS combines geo-location, tele-transmission and video as well as all the available techniques for data capture, such as PDA, RFID, barcodes and such like.

The system can function alongside other systems, such as GPS and wireless communication. After seven years of development, XOPS has emerged as a proven software solution for real-time control of mobile equipment in the warehouse and on the ramp.

XOPS functions in a number of areas and covers all ground handling specifications found in any IATA handling contract. From a central monitor, it keeps visual control of vehicles and is able to instruct drivers, with real-time data, about an aircraft’s late arrival or change of gate, or the positioning of ramp handling equipment. It can also accurately calculate charges and invoicing and, at the same time, perform vital security supervision. The system can additionally be applied to tasks such as fuel distribution and the positioning of maintenance equipment.

The operation relies on a tight network of communication between airlines, ground handlers and other players at the airport. The system is paperless, accessed through an internet portal or local network and allows handlers to make the best possible use of their existing equipment through pooling. It is now possible to track all movements by GPS and monitor them on camera.

Synchronisation between geo-location and video is in the pipeline. XOPS will enable participants to store their video records automatically. The most prestigious research centre in China, the Tsinghua Beijing University, has signed a joint agreement with Resonate for video processing on the XOPS solution.

Jean Francois Bouilhaguet, Managing Director of Sodexi, the express and mail handling division of Air France Cargo, is President of the consortium that markets the XOPS system. “We calculate that we can reduce waste and duplication of airport moving equipment by up to 30% using the system to plan ahead. At CDG, for example, there are around 29,000 vehicles of which some 10% are for back up and hardly ever used. Security monitoring is vital in today’s airports. XOPS is perfect for this. The scope for this system for any airport is unlimited but many other applications of industrial sites with large fleets, could gain the same benefits.”

Now, Veolia Airport, the main operator of on-runway vehicles at Paris CDG Airport, has awarded XOPS the contract to track and monitor its entire 150 unit fleet.

Bouilhaguet explains the thinking behind the development of this technology. ”The rapid emergence of airport security, quality controls systems such as Cargo 2000, as well as environmental pressures, have all contributed to the need for a system such as XOPS. The system is able to monitor in real time the following functions: the movement of all vehicles – trucks, loaders, forklifts, and vans – to record their speeds, parking slots and times, identify the names of drivers, record fuel consumption as well as which containers are being moved, with weights, dangerous goods, etc, including all details between the airline and the sub- contractor. The retention of data for six months and more helps with invoicing and quality control.”  

Sodexi’s strength lies in its technological skills. The company’s main driving force, however, is its ability to apply a full scale industrial handling solution at Paris CDG, with 450 personnel working 24/24 able to deal with 500 daily flights. Sodexi provides a complete range of operational software for freight and postal traffic on the airport zone. It controls the reception of shipments, automated sorting, palletising and movement on the apron. There is also a package – DELTA X, designed for paperless express Customs clearance.