Coordination is essential for a plane to take off on time and safely. Each team assigned to a flight knows what it has to do and “the dance” around the plane begins between one hour and 45 minutes before the scheduled departure time, depending on the type of plane.
Sara makes sure that this “gear” fits together perfectly: “I have contact with all areas: passengers, load sheets, cabin, fuel, ramp, customers ….. It is a very dynamic and active job. What I like the most is when I drive the mototok (electric pushback)”.
At Iberia Airport Services, our coordinators are prepared to attend to the more than 100 client companies that we serve at our 29 airports with their different load sheet systems, requirements, types of aircraft… In cold, heat, rain and even snow sometimes, they never lose their smile.
Don’t miss this interview in the magasIN of El Español to learn more about this very important job and its protagonist, in a series in which they talk about extraordinary women. Click here
Today we are talking about Tenerife South, the TFS airport was inaugurated on 23 October 1978, with the landing of an Iberia DC-9. It was created as an alternative for landing on the island, in view of the bad weather conditions at Tenerife North (TFN).
Tenerife is one of the Canary Islands’ airports, already in its high season. Why is that? From October to March a large number of German and English tourists arrive on the island, looking for a privileged climate with average temperatures of 22º all year round.
In the ranking of Spanish airports, TFS ranks 7th in terms of passenger numbers (2020 figures). It is currently the alternative airport for TFN and also for the island of Funchal, in the Azores. In addition, due to its geographical position, it is a strategic airport for emergency flights crossing the Atlantic.
At Iberia Airport Services we have a staff of 286 people (a figure that varies depending on the needs and season), to attend to the more than 30 client companies that have chosen us to provide them with any type of service, such as Air Lingus, Aeroflot, Iberia Express, Condor, TUI group, Vueling, Jettime…
Sonia Henríquez is the airport manager of TFS. Since joining Iberia Airport Services in 1994, she has held various positions at the airports of LPA (Gran Canaria) and TFN (Tenerife North), always related to the areas of ramp production and passengers. She is therefore a great connoisseur of the management involved in doubling the workforce in high season and an expert in meeting the needs and requirements of our customers.
“We have a multi-functional staff, they are proficient in the different operating systems used by the different companies (Resiber, Gonow, Altea…). The ramp, coordination and passage teams share the same facilities, which makes management easier for us. In addition, we also share motivation and commitment to offer the best service”.
Ernesto Díaz, supervisor and flight coordination trainer at TFS, assures that “safety comes first, so it is essential to have all the necessary information about the flight you are going to attend. We have a new operational management tool, Kepler, which provides us with this information in real time. In addition, with the same device we communicate between areas, we receive and update all the necessary data, we make “checklists” on the spot… Digitalisation has undoubtedly allowed us to improve the whole process.
On a trip to Tenerife
Ernesto is, as a good Tenerife native, in love with his island and, above all, with one of its wonders, Mount Teide. “I recommend visiting the Teide National Park at different times of the day; if you go at night you can admire a spectacular starry sky, and if you go at dawn, you can see the rest of the Canary Islands. Choose the time and enjoy the many “guachinches” that are all over the island.
The specialised aviation magazine, airline92, has just published a report on the digital transformation of Iberia Airport Services.
Our extensive experience in the sector has allowed us, after an initial adaptation phase following the emergence of COVID-19, to take advantage of the slowdown to consolidate several initiatives that we had launched under our digital transformation project called “Go Up!“, which includes more than 130 process efficiency and sustainability initiatives.
We have explored new ways to accelerate digitalisation by focusing on getting the most out of Microsoft Office 365, and thus developing in-house collaborative tools such as chats via Teams, the use of walkie-talkies, the creation of operational checklists, or the development of a virtual assistant to answer any questions about COVID documentation, all available on a single mobile device.
In addition, we have given a boost to all the projects aimed at the digital transformation of our operations and that bring with them a more environmentally responsible performance.
In this LINK you can read the full article about the digitalisation of “turnaround 3.0” and the high degree of commitment and support of our employees involved in the development of these new tasks, without which it would not have been possible.
Iberia Airport Services (IBAS) serves Binter at nine of the eleven airports they fly to, and now they have also chosen us to debut at La Coruña and San Sebastián, with two weekly frequencies at each destination.
For both stopovers we have been prepared by Pino Marin, Binter’s ground operations and security coordinator, and the AENA team at each of these airports.
Both the staff at A Coruña airport (19 permanent staff) and San Sebastián airport (40 permanent staff) have been trained with an online course in emergencies and in person in check-in and boarding procedures and in the operations for the type of aircraft with which Binter is going to operate at both airports: Embraer E195-E2. The arrival of this type of aircraft in A Coruña has meant a great novelty, having to carry out the adaptation of the ground equipment.
Iberia Airport Services (IBAS) has served BINTER since it began flying to destinations within the peninsula in 2018. Throughout this time, the professional relationship has grown stronger, as Pino says: “IBAS has always been by our side, accompanying us in the best and worst of times, adapting its staff and resources to our needs. The human team that supports us at each airport could not be better, both on a day-to-day basis and when it comes to resolving any incident that may arise, and we are convinced that it will be the same at all the new airports. We have had every facility from our first contact with David Martínez, manager of Iberia Airport Services in A Coruña and with Corinne Martínez, manager of the airports of Santander, Vitoria and San Sebastián. Thanks to them and their teams for the availability and enthusiasm they have shown at all times”.
At Iberia Airport Services we are delighted to grow hand in hand with our customers. Welcome Binter to these two northern airports.
Ibiza airport is located 7 kilometres from the city and also serves the island of Formentera. It was inaugurated in 1958 for domestic traffic and in 1966 it was also opened for international traffic, once the runway was extended and the control tower was built. It has subsequently undergone several extensions and refurbishments.
It occupies 9th place in the ranking of Spanish airports (in 2019) and in 2014 the ICAO certified Ibiza airport as the most seasonal airport in the world. Despite the pandemic, IBIZA has demonstrated its potential for all types of tourism and in August has already exceeded the number of flights scheduled in 2019.
The airport’s high degree of seasonality determines the staff of Iberia Airport Services (IBAS), which has between 90 and 300 employees (depending on the season) to attend to the 13 client airlines that operate: Vueling, Iberia Express, Air Nostrum, Transavia, British Airways, Cityflyer, Volotea, Wizz Air, LOT, TAP, Chair, Neos, Ego Airways, etc.
Susana Espinosa, has been IBZ’s airport manager since 2018 and has held different positions in the company since 1989, all of them on the “front line of battle”: “the great challenge of this stopover is, without a doubt, managing seasonality and going from 0 to 100 in a matter of days. A lot of planning and foresight to be ready on the first day of high season. But our staff has internalised this way of working and they live it very naturally. It is even more shocking for those who come from outside to see how the city is completely transformed from one day to the next”.
Roberto García Osorio, a ramp supervisor and chief agent depending on the needs of the operation, tells us that “I even like the smell of paraffin! Working at Iberia, I have realised that you never have to stop learning, you always have to reinvent yourself.
Roberto is in love with Ibiza and gives us his favourite places on the island:
– Strolling through Dalt Vila, the old town, during the second weekend of May; it is transformed into a medieval market to celebrate its declaration as a World Heritage Site.
– Visit some of its best coves and beaches: Cala Salada, Cala Saladeta, Cala Bassa, or Cala D’Hort, where, right in front of it is located Es Vedrá, a magical and legendary islet 382 metres high, protected as a nature reserve.
– Contemplate the popular sunset of Cala de Benirras to the sound of hippie drums. For me it is one of the best places to watch the sunset in Ibiza. Just a word of advice, get there early if you don’t want to run out of space!
IBAS is a partner of the AVIATOR project, which is financed through the European Union´s Horizon 2020 programme and assesses the impact of aviation emissions on local air quality at airports.
For the last two months, IBAS has been working closely with techinicians and researchers of the National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA) to install 14 sensors in different points at Madrid-Barajas Airport.
The aim of the AVIATOR project is to measure emissions under different climatic conditions and develop models to monitor the real microphysics of emissions from combustion engines. The same measurements that are being taken in Madrid are being carried out other airports with different climatic conditions.
According to Hugo Castillo, the Iberia Sustainability Manager, “The study will enable us to analyse the levels of particles from aircraft as well as ground equipment in the different areas where we operate because the combustion of kerosene is not the same as the combustion of diesel, and the sensors will pick that up. The IBAS strategy to reduce the impact of emissions is centred around the fleet electrification plan, but we are also committed to research and innovation, and we are therefore taking part in the AVIATOR project to be able to assess any other options that emerge as a result of the study. We are contributing our extensive experience to the project by assisting the team with all the logistics related to the installation of the sensors, the lab in the testing area and the management of all the necessary documents to ensure operational safety at the airport.”
On 15th November, we added a new customer to our portfolio, Etihad, the second national airline of the United Arab Emirates, based in Abu Dhabi, to which we will provide a full-handling service.
Etihad will initially operate four daily frequencies between Madrid – Abu Dhabi with a Boeing-789, with the likelihood of increasing to five from January.
Both the Commercial Department of Iberia Airport Services (IBAS), headed by Carmen Martinez as Handling Account Manager, and the Management of Madrid-Barajas Airport have been working for months to ensure that everything is ready and that the operation is a success.
The great novelty for the Barajas team will be to work with SABRE as DCS system in our HUB. Etihad personnel have been responsible for training a group of employees in the use of this system, teaching them the specific procedures and requirements necessary to comply with the established standard.
All those responsible for executing the “mechanism” that we set in motion with the training process and that culminates with the first day of operation, are specialists in coordinating this type of process, given that at Madrid Barajas we serve 38 client companies and all types of fleets,” says Rubén Menéndez, Companies Support Manager.
We show you below how this first operation went:
We opened check-in about 3 hours before the flight was scheduled to depart at 14:00. At the check-in counters in T4, our Passenger Service colleagues attended for the first time to passengers flying to Abu Dhabi with the SABRE system. Everything went smoothly, as María Gómez told us, “although with the nerves of using a new system, we worked smoothly with SABRE, and as with the rest of the companies, we pay special attention to ensure that all documentation is in order, despite the fact that these flights have a great diversity of nationalities and connections to other destinations”.
While at the docks
In the baggage hippodrome located in the North Satellite area of T4, the ramp team began to classify the bags according to their destinations and transits, segregating the baggage according to their connection times and assigning them in a pre-established order inside the AKES or baggage containers.
And on the tarmac we first welcomed the arrival of Etihad.
We witnessed the arrival of Etihad flight EY075 at its assigned parking position, where the ramp team had previously proceeded diligently to inspect the FOD (foreign object debris). Once the coordinator assigned to this flight, Elena Munteanu, confirmed that the engines were stopped and the beacon was turned off. This is when the ramp team began to deploy efficiently around the apron, in a rehearsed choreography, to carry out their tasks on a windy day in Madrid: placing chocks in front of and behind the wheels because no cones were placed due to the wind, GPU (Ground power unit) and opening the holds.
All this dance took place under the watchful eye of team supervisor Miguel Barba and coordinator Elena, who confessed that she was delighted to welcome a client like Etihad to Madrid.
Everything was ready to start boarding on time, but we had to delay it for a few hours due to a technical problem on the plane. In spite of the incident, we always had our employees at the disposal of the company’s needs and giving support to the passengers.
End of service to the aircraft.
After 19:00 hours, the pushback finally moved into position to “hug” the nose gear and start the pushback manoeuvre.
Witnessing and supporting the start of this operation were Carmen Martinez, IBAS commercial manager, Nieves Auñón, Etihad’s head of stopover and various managers from different areas of the Barajas team, such as Mirian Hidalgo, Passenger Customer Handling Manager and Miguel Saiz, Customer Handling Ramp Manager, among others.
Nieves Auñón, Etihad’s head of stopover, thanked us for the work carried out during the previous weeks: “I am convinced that this is the beginning of a professional relationship that will last for a long time. Thank you Iberia Airport Services for your dedication and professionalism, as I have been able to see in this first operation, putting to the test the great human and technical team at the disposal of our company”.
Seeing this first flight depart, everyone “relaxes”. It is the beginning of a new stage with a new client that we are delighted to serve, proud of the levels of quality and efficiency demonstrated, after a few hard weeks of preparation.
The shortlist for GHI’s Pride of Ground Handling Awards 2021 has been revealed and Iberia Airport Services is among finalists in the Handler Airline Innovation Award category: Iberia – Kepler Project in BCN: IBAS Turnaround 3.0 for Vueling
Thanks to the advances in technology and digital transformation that IBAS has implemented in its ground operations, as part of its GoUp! Programme, we can now offer to all our airlines a new and innovative tool called KEPLER.
KEPLER is the new IBAS operational management tool that will unify the 22 apps historical used in the company on a single one, to connect all business units in only 4 modules: resource planning, real time operation, billing services and data analysis.
To customize Kepler in BCN for IBAS main client – Vueling – we worked together in several work streams to define the functionalities that VY operation requires in its hub as well as the new procedures to utilize it by IBAS operational teams.
The success of this project lies in employee’s involvement from beginning to end and IBAS organization commitment, in collaboration with our suppliers and customers as Vueling.
Last year we were also finalists in these awards and we are looking forward to finding out the winners this year on 07 December.
Last week we welcomed back to Barcelona one of our main clients, LATAM, who returned after a few months of interruption due to the pandemic. With this reincorporation, we now serve 22 in Barcelona.
Eduardo García, KAM Handling of Iberia Airport Services in Barcelona, has been working during the last month, together with the operational team of BCN and the representatives of LATAM (at national level and the manager of airports in Europe) on all the operational procedures. One of the main challenges is always the preparation and training of the resources that LATAM needs for its operation, both human and technical, in the three operational areas: passenger, coordination and ramp. As an example, for the use of its own check-in system in Barcelona, SABRE, we have supported the entire installation with the airline’s UCA, SITA and IT teams.
The great novelty of this operation is the trust that LATAM places in IBAS as representatives of its company in Barcelona. All the agents involved in the operation have very well-defined functions and have been specifically trained to resolve any incident in situ, with the support of the supervisor or shift service manager and Hub control team. At Latam’s request, we added a new profile to our functions, called “COT” (ground operations coordinator), who is in charge of preparing the flight, being in permanent contact with the LATAM representative at headquarters, closing the flight, completing and verifying all the information required by the company in its systems.
As Eduardo remarks “after the months of pandemic we have lived through, the truth is that it is an illusion for the whole team to see that the companies are flying again and, above all, that LATAM has chosen us to push all these changes”.
A work supported from central services by Ana del Cura, commercial manager responsible for the company LATAM, who says “we have been working with LATAM for years and it is a pleasure to see them again in BCN. Our experience allows us to prepare any type of operation (start-up of routes, temporary reopenings…) that our clients require. We have put all our efforts and dedication to prepare this return of Latam with three weekly frequencies between Barcelona and Sao Paulo, and we will work in the same line to make it a success during this season”.
We welcome a customer back “home”; we are delighted to meet again and thank you for trusting in the excellence of our services, always adapted to the current situation and your requirements.
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