Eurowings improves the creation and management of documentation
Author: Jaroslav Mueller, Flight Operations Engineer, EurowingsSubscribe
Eurowings improves the creation and management of documentation
Jaroslav Mueller, Flight Operations Engineer, Eurowings and Maike Upmann, Product Manager EFOM, Lufthansa Industry Solutions share Eurowings’ experience mastering a flood of information sources for better Flight Ops documentation
We’d like to use this article to share the experience of Eurowings in the challenge of mastering information sources to deliver better flight ops documentation. But first, we’ll share something about Eurowings and its history. Eurowings and Germanwings (its former partner and now merged component) in the Luftansa Group started to introduce EFOM (Electronic Flight Operations Manual) in 2009 and implemented an FSM (Flight Safety Manual), ground operations manual and other non-approval manuals to publish these manuals in XML. EFOM is an XML based content management system (CMS) for Flight Ops and ground documentation. In 2012, the airline started to integrate the OM-B (Operations Manual – Part B: aircraft operating matters) for the A320 family fleet with editing and publishing also in XML. Germanwings started to introduce EFB on mobile devices and DocSurf Mobile from Lufthansa Industry Solutions in 2014 to continue to reduce the volume of paper in the cockpit. Eurowings Aviation was founded in 2016 to integrate Germanwings, Eurowings, Eurowings Europe and Sun Express Germany. Eurowings Aviation is a service provider for commercial control and also EFB cockpit support, mobile phones and operational documentation.
Let’s have a quick look at EFOM (figure 1).
Data is imported from Airbus or Boeing to the EFOM where it is edited, quality checked, revised if necessary and published to different target formats (library and other interfaces); plus an authority report can be created for compliance purposes with regulatory authorities. The standard process for the four AOCs (Air Operator Certificate) that are customers for Eurowings Aviation ran very smoothly but the thought was, what other processes might be better managed in the existing CMS? The flow of information is getting faster and easier but the challenge is how to manage it efficiently?
Eurowings Aviation has different customers and different information received from pilots, from management, from other inputs and in varied formats… pdf, jpeg, EFB or mobile phone screenshot, Excel and even by a phone call asking ‘can we change this here or there or wherever’. It was realized (figure 2) that what was needed was one input channel using a solution that is available on every business device, is easy and comfortable to use and has templates so that information on one subject (i.e. safety) is always displayed in the same structure.
Change requests should be immediately recognizable so that fewer call backs are needed to clarify. And there should be an efficient incorporation of changes.
The challenges above might be categorized as business requirements but there were also some technical challenges to be addressed. The design solution would have to work for all users without any additional installations of software on all business devices at Eurowings plus it would need to be easy to use with no specific training required. The solution would also need to be integrated into an existing system.
The real challenge was to match, on the one hand, an easy to use solution with, on the other hand, the technical requirements of an XML based content management system.
Bearing all of this in mind, the decision for the tool was very straightforward and is available on all business devices at Eurowings: MS Word. It’s easy to use and familiar to all users so needs no specific or additional training plus it provides an XML option so that it could be easily integrated into the system. It was also possible to develop an EFOM Word plug-in which is customizable and limited, so that the user can only do things that have been designed to be done. But free configurable templates can be included to guide the user through fixed structures where only the front-end has to be implemented. The proposed solution would match all requirements including what to do (in detail) and how the workflow will look.
Normally, the authors working with EFOM (figure 3) publish documents or document parts to Word format. Where they require feedback, that can be initiated plus they can deliver the documents to the users who can work with Word. So they can use the document that has been delivered and make the changes on the document. Another scenario would be to start from scratch with complete new content or use one of the templates with fixed structures into which it is only necessary to insert content. If the user has finished their work, they can just send the Word document back to the EFOM author who can then import that Word document into the system which will automatically compare against the Master document, recognize the changes that have been made and will guide the user through all the changes so he can easily integrate them one-by-one into the Master document and review them.
Eurowings wanted to save time, and the new solution has helped to achieve that. In the past, the introduction of new AOC customers OM-A (Operating Manual – Part A: general/basic) took 1 to 2 weeks to get the information back from the customer, to editing the system and making revisions. The approach using the Word format to send it, get it back, check the changes and import it complete to the CMS is expected to take just 1 to 2 days.
Quality problems related to misunderstanding such as what was meant, on which page was the issue to be addressed, which paragraph, etc.? With a fixed structure it is easy to implement it in the system.
Instead of describing changes to someone else who has to put them into effect, the user can undertake changes directly. There is no interpretation of any change requests on documentation so there is therefore less editorial feedback (for clarification of any change request) needed.
If a new customer is introduced for Eurowings, standards are needed.
We hope that this article has explained the circumstances that drove the need for change, the change that has been made at Eurowings and the gains that will be derived from those changes.
Jaroslav joined Germanwings in 2007 as Flight Operations assistant responsible for OMC and FMS. In 2009, Germanwings introduced an electronic flight ops manager tool called EFOM and since then, Jaroslav has worked on electronic documentation.
Maike joined Lufthansa Industry Solutions in 2000. For the past two years she has been responsible for the product management of EFOM (Electronic Flight Operations Manuals), an XML-based content management system for Flight and Ground Ops documentation, where she currently balances customer related requirements with IT specific implementation for successful introduction projects.
Eurowings GmbH is a subsidiary of the Lufthansa Group with a fleet of Airbus A319, A320, A330 and Boeing 737 aircraft serving domestic and European destinations as well as some long-haul routes. Since 2015, Eurowings has been redeveloped into a low-cost carrier for short- and long-haul flights and by October 2015, it had also started to incorporate Germanwings’ route network as part of the merger of the two brands.
Lufthansa Industry Solutions
Lufthansa Industry Solutions is an IT service company for process consulting and system integration. This wholly-owned subsidiary of Lufthansa Group supports its customers with the digital transformation of their company. Its customer base includes companies within Lufthansa Group as well as more than 150 companies in various other industries. The group of companies employs around 1,200 members of staff at several branch offices in Germany, Switzerland and the USA.