KLM’s Saskia Freriksen, a Programme Manager at Royal Dutch Airlines, says the secret to its successful Boeing 787-9 eEnablement implementation was to start early.
Speaking at the 2016 Aircraft eEnablement Connectivity and IFE Conference, she said: “There was so much to learn about the 787’s eEnablement features, but we focused on the ground system, the toolbox, aircraft health monitoring and the e-techlog.
“We made sure that we got the right people on board and that they all knew where we were going. We also had to create new roles and processes and it was important that we all understood everyone else’s roles and challenges.
“Our main priority was safety first, and we were the first user of Boeing’s 787 ‘Toolbox’ mobile app for the iPad.”
Freriksen said KLM wasn’t the first airline to implement the 787 and so it didn’t want to reinvent the wheel.
“We visited a lot of other 787 users around the world and learned a lot,” Freriksen said.
KLM also used the 787 as an enabler for organisational change, including setting up a new dedicated ground crew team that took full responsibility for its work.
The airline also found that e-enabled software loading on the aircraft requires multiple disciplines, including engineering, data communication, applications support and more.
Boeing had said: “The technology is not difficult. Its the process and the process changes at your airline that is the real challenge.”
KLM also organised an executive masterclass about eEnablement so that senior management at the airline could understand the complexities.
Freriksen said that its 787 IT team proved to be very successful, even helping another airline to resolve a software loading problem that it couldn’t fix itself, which had resulted in an aircraft on ground (AOG) event.
KLM said that one big challenge it faces are multiple software configurations, not only across its fleet, but also across a single aircraft type, such as its 777-300.
Partner airline Air France has also adopted KLM’s e-enabled ground system for its 787-9s.
At the moment KLM hasn’t implemented the 787 e-logbook, but is looking at adopting it fleet-wide. “We need to interface the e-logbook with our MRO system, which is difficult,” Freriksen said.
It is also considering using its knowledge and organisation to offer MRO services to other 787-equipped airlines.