State of the Art

Optimally Planning the Payloads of Cargo

AircraftSemiautomatic planning of the weight and balance of cargo aircraft will soon be based on a much better standard at the responsible department of Fraport Ground Services, RP3 (Operations).

An aircraft’s weight and balance are calculated in compliance with strict IATA regulations as part of flight preparations. A so-called load and trim sheet is required for every commercial flight. It lists the weight and distribution of the passengers, fuel, cargo, and all equipment required to operate the flight. The distribution of the overall load within the aircraft – important for monitoring the maximum permissible masses – and the aircraft’s center of gravity – the trim – are included. The trim must also remain within a prescribed tolerance during takeoff, the entire flight, and landing. When preparing the loading plan, it is necessary not only to consider the positions, weights, and sizes of cargo units but especially also whether the IATA rules permit them to be stowed adjacent to one another in the aircraft.

Our departments and IT are currently making a list of requirements for the new system, taking the complexity of the task into account. It will permit both manual and automatic preparation of load and trim sheets. To avoid interfaces, which are potential sources of error, the goal is to develop a cargo weight and balance system that integrates as many as possible of the steps involved in planning how an aircraft is loaded. When the new system is ready, we will be able to offer our customers a significantly improved service for planning aircraft payloads.

In a dynamic environment like that of an airport, it is essential to use the very best communication technologies. We take advantage of new developments to ensure efficient, problem-free communication.

Control of Jet Bridges

As part of our nonstop efforts to introduce improvements at Fraport Ground Services, a new communication technology is now being used. Handheld devices let jet bridge operators efficiently handle every job and optimize processes. They also offer many useful additional features, for example, providing information on flight schedule changes so passengers can be notified.

Efficient Ground Communication

Innovative communication solutions are also essential for smooth, problem-free ground services. Our  Virtual Private Network (VPN)  concept is an example for such a reliable solution. In it, the functions and roles performed by our departments are saved under aliases corresponding to different devices or vehicles. Any desired function or role can thus be quickly and flexibly reached via the corresponding alias, independently of who actually does the work.

All of our departments use  GSM  cellular networks for voice communication and process control. They employ robust terminal devices that deliver significantly better voice quality than those typical of trunked radio systems. This ensures more reliable, better-quality transmission of data and information to our interfaces.

In August 2011 we established a new Ground Control Center with state-of-the-art workplaces. It is mainly responsible to planning, coordinating, and controlling all of our baggage services and ramp operations.

Remote PCs

In the new offices, instead of each worker having their own workstation there are innovative high-performance host computers located in separate, cooled equipment rooms, each of which can virtualize multiple desktop machines. Each user’s keyboard, mouse, and monitor are linked to one of the remote computers by digital IP-based technology that transmits high-resolution, good-quality signals. This setup has various advantages. For one, workplace noise and heat is significantly reduced. For another, the computers can be flexibly assigned to users. It is also considerably easier to keep track of and efficiently manage all of the process interfaces involved in ground handling.

In addition, the Ground Control Center is equipped with voice over IP (VoIP) telephones for making calls over the Internet. Headsets are used for greater flexibility, and also help cut down on noise. Telephone books are conveniently integrated in the phones.

Ergonomic Desks

It is very important for our employees to enjoy good health – and not only for their own sake, but also for the company’s. Fraport Ground Services has therefore equipped the Ground Control Center with innovative, ergonomic desks. They are suitable for working while sitting or standing up, and can be conveniently adjusted to each worker’s body size. Flexibly adjustable lamps additionally enhance the work environment.

The implemented innovations and outstandingly easy-to-use new equipment and furnishings help make sure that the staff of our Ground Control Center are alert and available to serve our customers at all times. Advanced safeguards to prevent system failures additionally guarantee that our customers’ needs are consistently met.

Our Handling Portal is a web-based application that lets our customers take advantage of the services of Fraport Ground Services using any PC and browser.

Our customers can use it to order custom-tailored passenger transport, jet bridges, or cargo transport. The status of every ordered service – from submitting the order across confirmation to job performance and completion – can also be conveniently viewed and tracked.

In the past, orders were usually placed over the phone, by fax, or in person, and the data had to be entered by hand. Today, the Handling Portal enables end-to-end digitization of the entire process, from ordering to fulfillment. The application is menu-driven and intuitive, letting customers simply choose a service. This considerably facilitates the ordering process and renders it more transparent. The Handling Portal is always available, so orders can be placed at any time of the day or night regardless of whether a customer service representative can be reached or not.

The Handing Portal was jointly developed by Fraport Ground Services and the Fraport department for Information and Communication Services. It is an open, forward-looking system that underscores the capabilities and farsightedness of the involved Fraport employees and significantly improves the level of service quality our customers enjoy.

Efficient and Forward-Looking

Ground handling accounts for a large part of Fraport AG’s daily activities – each year our Ground Services division provides a wide range of services for around 210,000 aircraft. To continue performing at this level and above all to extend the scope and quality of the services we provide, speed, precision, and especially the use of the latest technologies are vital.

More than 130 airlines from around the world rely on our ground handling services. To meet their expectations, we employ a unique digital communication system that does away with inefficient paper-based processes. Our mobile information system for loading and offloading services, called MoblS-L, is a major, innovative step forward in implementing high-tech aircraft handling. Our personnel use handheld MobIS-L devices that wirelessly receive and transmit flight schedules as well as loading and baggage data. All activities are digitally captured and documented, which lets us keep our customers informed flexibly – free of errors and in considerably better quality. Continuous monitoring of all handling processes also boosts transparency to significantly facilitate the work of our loading supervisors.

Continual Improvement

Fraport Ground Services works constantly to expand the system’s functionality in order to respond even more flexibly to our customers’ requirements and the dynamically changing challenges of the ground handling business. After MobIS-L proved its value for our passenger services, we extended its use to cargo aircraft.

Portable water solution


The Potable Water Solution  provides the aviation industry with high quality drinking water. According to the German Drinking Water Regulations, samples from all potable water trucks and drinking water delivery taps are taken every month. Fraport authorized an independent institute, the SGS Institut Fresenius GmbH, to carry out this service by taking samples and conducting the microbiological examination.

The Process Monitoring and Information System of Fraport Ground Services compiles and analyzes all information on the individual processes involved in flight and ground operations online. This keeps the entire handling process transparent. The system is invaluable for effectively supporting and coordinating individual aircraft handling processes and interfaces, also when there are irregularities. The resulting improvement in the quality of our information also lets us consult with our customers faster and more competently.

We are planning to extend our process monitoring and information system further in the future – for example, in order to prevent delays and enable even faster turnaround times.

In order to succeed in our highly competitive industry, among other things by steadily reducing turnaround times, it is essential for us to systematically introduce improvements. To support this, we are gradually unifying our processes and equipment and establishing company-wide standards.

IT Consolidation and Common Standards

It is indispensable for us to regularly survey and consolidate our IT system landscape. This helps us avoid excessive complexity while optimally meeting the prerequisites for efficient business processes. Our IT systems must consistently meet all of our customers’ growing ground handling requirements. This calls for high-performance systems that minimize administrative overhead and provide standardized user interfaces. We want our departments and customers to receive exactly the information and solutions they need. While applying the principle of “the same software for the same tasks”, we work steadfastly to advance the consolidation of our system landscape in order to optimize our services. We attach great importance to harmonizing the goals, strategies, architectures, services, and processes of our IT and other departments.

To an increasing extent, we are also utilizing the same hardware solutions in various areas, which helps keep things as simple as possible. For example, for some time now Fraport Ground Services has been using the same tablet PCs for many functions, including transport, loading, and offloading. In addition to meeting the demanding requirements of the work done on the apron, they excel with absolute reliability, a very user-friendly touch screen, and practical high-quality accessories.