Time - A key factor in incident management in the flight industry

People at airports are in a constant state of motion. This often hectic and always busy setting means there is a constant risk that an incident can occur. Airports, airlines, ground handlers – all companies working at airports need to handle the diverse incidents that can occur. Well-functioning and stable channels for vital communication are key in this. These channels provide a service to passengers, and handle internal communication that help employees resolve issues quickly. For that reason, incident management plans must provide easy communication to different groups, without reliance on internal IT infrastructure. In this article we take a closer look at incident management in the flight industry.

Information Flows in Time-Critical Situations

The flight industry needs incident management when the unexpected happens. Incidents require the fast activation of different people or teams to handle the event at hand. That’s why it’s key to be able to quickly send, manage, and receive vital information, to and from the right parties. This all needs to happen before the situation escalates, leading to a bigger, more serious incident – one that is costly and, sometimes, effects people’s lives and well-being.

As mentioned, any number of incidents can happen at airports. These can have different levels of severity, and require different courses of action. For example, you might need to send simple notifications to people letting them know about an incident. In other cases, you may need to inform, maintain communication with, and call in personnel immediately. When you boil it down, airport incidents fall into two main categories: minor incidents, and serious incidents.

Minor Incidents vs Serious Incidents

A minor incident is any interruption of business as usual. For example, slight errors in an IT system are often minor incidents. When they occur, you need people with the right skills to solve the problem without delay. But incident management can also involve letting people know about threats to their safety or property.

Communication around serious incidents is more complex. Mass communication is important for letting people know that a threat or risk of threat exists. This calls for simple, one-way messaging. But some messages require a response. Administrators may need to collect confirmations that employees have seen their messages, or that a special team is on its way in. That’s why incident management communication must be flexible, reliable, and built upon channels that can reach different groups all over an airport—IT, ground handling, flight staff, etc.

Alerting in Emergencies

One way that high severity incidents stand out is that they require strict adherence to protocol, while minor incidents may not. A central team is often tasked with notifying, calling in, and organizing resources from different departments. In these stressful situations, pre-set messages templates and groups help incident management teams avoid mistakes. For example, these teams may need to call in emergency staff, ground crew, support teams, etc. Another important function in an incident management system is keeping the public informed. SMS can be sent out quickly and as often as needed to advise people what to do to maintain order and safety.

Phone Calls and E-mail Don’t Cut It

Until recently, administrators carried out this type of communication largely via phone and email. But these channels have their failings. For example, making dozens or hundreds of phone calls takes a lot of time, especially if you don’t reach someone on the first try. And you can’t always know if you’re message has gotten through – e-mail often go unread for hours or even days. SMS, on the other hand, have an open rate of over 98% within three minutes, so recipients are likely to read your messages quickly. In addition, a good incident management system lets you filter your recipients, for example by location or skill set, so the right people get the right message. These features mean substantial savings in time and expense!

LEKAB’s solution for incident management in the flight industry differs from others in its ability to get information to the right people quickly. Once an incident manager has sent messages out, the system displays delivery and response status on the dashboard. The system makes updates to the dashboard in real time, and administrators can even follow updates via an SMS report. Because LEKAB’s service is cloud-based, it can be used to send communication even when internal IT systems are down, meaning you can always reach out when you need to!