With a flight taking off or landing every 80 seconds at the world’s sixth busiest airport, constantly striving for safe and efficient airport operations is essential. Over the past few years, Changi Airport Group has embarked on a series of trials and innovations, with the aim to continue to minimise incidents on the airside, with the ‘gold standard’ of bringing it to as close to zero as possible.
A lot of effort goes into ensuring the runway is always ready and safe for use. Labelled ‘Category one vehicles’, these yellow vehicles, once given the green-light by Air Traffic Control, go onto the runways to check that all are safe and ready for use.
With so much activity going on around the airside, drivers on the airside may get distracted. RIPPLE helps to prevent such lapses by warning drivers when they are approaching the vicinity of a runway. Implemented in July 2017, the tool has since been installed in all ‘Category one vehicles’.
The pre-warning system works by using a Global Positioning System (GPS) to draw a geographic boundary, or geofence, 180 metres from the centre of the runway. Based on the GPS reading, the system will automatically send a visual and audio alert to the driver on the airside if his vehicle enters the demarcated area. Similarly, RIPPLE will also alert the driver when the vehicle exits the geofence. This results in better situational awareness on the driver’s part.
Since the implementation of RIPPLE, there have been no runway incursions by vehicles.
Information at your fingertips
Another initiative introduced more recently is SWEETmini, a mobile version of the Service Workforce Empowerment and Experience Transformation platform. The app was introduced to enhance and support those working at the airside, and to promote a safety culture. Some features of the app include ‘iFeedback’ which allows the airport community to report hazards and submit feedback easily. Action can then be taken more quickly, contributing to a safer and more efficient airside environment.
Under ‘News Feed’, staff are kept abreast of the latest airport developments and events. There are also safety lessons for staff to keep themselves updated with safety procedures. Staff can refer to a repository of documents related to work procedures, operations and safety notices at any time.
Another useful feature includes the ability to view updated aircraft arrival and departure timings, allowing staff to manage their schedules effectively and with greater flexibility.
Simulated driving training
Looking ahead, there are plans to roll out a driving simulator early next year to better equip drivers with experience driving at aircraft maneuvering areas such as taxiways and runways. Drivers would have to undergo a test on the driving simulator, in addition to two other safety tests, before they are certified to drive on the airside.
The Airside Driving Simulator System will immerse drivers in an environment where they are being tested for driving at aircraft maneuvering areas. The simulator will be designed to resemble a driving cabin, with similar vehicle controls as an actual airside vehicle. Such training occurs in a safe setting and does not impact airport operations.
Taken together, the innovations on the airside are just some examples of what Changi Airport Group and its partners continue to do to make Changi Airport the world’s leading airport and grow a safe, secure and vibrant air hub in Singapore to service the world.
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