MANCHESTER UK Friday 9 May 2007: Swissport UK is to provide a new Central Load Planning service to Virgin Atlantic worldwide, under a new contract between the two businesses. The service will be operated by Swissport from mid-May for all of Virgin Atlantic’s fleet on all services globally. Although Swissport provides a full ground handling service for Virgin Atlantic at Gatwick (since 2004) and Manchester Airports, the contract covers Virgin Atlantic flights at other UK airports and for aircraft down route in other countries. This is the first time that Swissport has provided its Central Load Planning skills to an entire airline.
Load Planning involves calculating the load and balance of an aircraft and the balance to ensure the aircraft flies safely and efficiently whilst maximizing payload opportunities. Data about load and balance is then forwarded directly to the aircraft flight deck using ACARS (Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System). The load sheet report is generated by a small teleprinter on the flight deck, wherever the aircraft is at the time.
“This is an exciting and significant new contract for Swissport,” Ian Barrie, Swissport’s Operations Director who is heading the new team said. “We had a lot to consider; we needed to ensure that our staff were trained to deal with any load planning scenario they may be presented with. The service must also be professional, resilient, and be maintained through a wide range of eventualities such as a loss of connectivity or major mains power failure. Our safety requirements, business continuity and recovery plans needed to be well thought through to guarantee that this twenty-four hour critical service would be provided to our customer whatever happened.”
Swissport has set up a new fully serviced centre, near Manchester Airport, and will have a dedicated team working on the Central Load Planning. “We are very pleased to be working closely with Virgin Atlantic on this contract,” Ian Barrie continued. “We have vast weight and balance experience within the company. To develop a specialist team gives us a new strength in the ground handling sector.”
Matt Lee, Director of Flight Operations and Airports, Virgin Atlantic said: "We are looking forward to extending our relationship with Swissport to include Central Load Planning and are delighted to be working with the newly formed team in Manchester."
The system will be built using D Plan from EDS.
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