When an aircraft lands in an airport and passengers disembark, there are many operations that are quickly completed to ensure that the aircraft is ready for its next passengers and flight. This turnaround time (TAT) of aircraft includes the time between the landing of an aircraft to the moment it takes off once again. From cleanliness to establishing security, multiple operations are quickly completed by teams of personnel. In this blog, we will discuss the various tasks that are done during the turnaround time of an aircraft.
While many turnaround tasks are conducted simultaneously due to time constraints, the first step is always to bring the aircraft into a parking position. Once the aircraft is landed, the pilot taxis the aircraft to its final position so that it may be immobilized and marked off. At this point, passengers disembark with designated gateways or buses to transfer them to the terminal. Once the aircraft is shut down and all passengers have left, airport crews may then begin on their turnaround tasks.
One of the first duties that begins once passengers leave is cabin cleaning. This task is charged to an individual who directs a team throughout the cabin, removing litter from seats and common areas. During this time, bathrooms are also cleaned and supplies such as toilet paper, tissues, and soap are replaced. While workers clean the cabins and replenish goods, they will concurrently check the entire cabin for any left items, as well as for any objects that present a safety or security concern. As this is conducted, operators on the exterior of the aircraft will begin unloading baggage. This process is called loading and ramp handling, and such personnel oversee the transfer of goods and baggage to their respective carousels and warehouses.
Beyond making the aircraft clean and ready for passengers to be comfortable, workers also inspect the aircraft to verify its flight capability and condition. By following the Standard Operating Procedures Manual (SOPM), aircraft manufacturer guidelines, and directives from the airline, personnel conduct their safety technical check routine. For the next flight, workers also carry out airplane refueling. With a full aircraft tank, the aircraft can easily reach its next destination.
Before passengers for the next flight operation may begin boarding, there are a few more steps that must be conducted. First, catering services will replenish the stock of food and beverages so that passengers will have nourishment during the flight. At this time, any special orders or specific items that may have been requested by passengers will be fulfilled. The next set of suitcases and goods from the incoming passengers are then loaded by the handling agents as other steps are completed by staff. As one of the last procedures, passengers are then loaded onto the aircraft while route details and passenger numbers are confirmed.
Now that most steps have been completed and the next round of passengers are aboard the aircraft, the crew may then prepare for the flight operation. At this point, the aircraft is attached to a pushback trailer which brings the vehicle out of its parking position. The pushback then tows the aircraft to a suitable position for taxiing before detaching. At this point, the aircraft may access the take-off runway and begin its operations. Although there are many steps involved during the aircraft turnaround process, the time it typically takes to complete the entire operation ranges from a half an hour to an hour depending on the size of the aircraft and the airline. With great turnaround management, this amount of time can be cut down even more as efficiency is improved.
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