Although passengers know that airlines fly to destinations where they need to go, whether for business, pleasure or relationships, they may not be aware that some are served only by freight; code-sharing services in which another carrier operates an aircraft; or charter arrangements that allow airlines to expand their reach to cities supported only by group or travel agencies, especially during seasonal periods of demand.
Acting as a supervisor and coach, the author experienced one such charter flight – Austrian Airlines in Cancun, Mexico – at the beginning of the winter 2006-2007 schedule. The inaugural flight of the season was observed.
1. Mexican Civil Aviation Rules
Austrian Airlines operated Passenger Handling Services / Maca in Cancun. Under Mexican civil aviation rules, all ground companies had to follow three rules.
First of all, they had to submit a letter from the carrier that had undergone processing to verify that the relevant ground company had been properly trained in coordinating the flight plan, weight and balance, ramp procedures, refueling procedures and passenger service. The letter also had to indicate the names of employees who were actually trained in these areas.
Second, they had to have copies of the relevant operating instructions concerning the aircraft. In the case of the flight to Cancun it was the one concerning the Boeing 767.
Finally, they had to draw up a registration plan manually, with the necessary location schemes, boarding passes and other materials.
2. Training in ground operations
To fulfill the training requirement, the author reviewed the Cancun Station Operation Plan, including passenger check-in procedures and centralized load control (CLC), along with the duties of the head of a cargo handling company shortly after his arrival in Mexico, and conducted two training sessions with staff the next day.
The first, a 2.5-hour training on cargo airline sheets, included an overview of centralized load control (CLC) procedures, load plans, and the creation of an input load plan based on the actual container / pallet distribution message per day (CPM). , as well as collectively filling out an example of a manual download sheet, copies of which were placed in a file at Cancun Station.
During the second session held after the departure of the flight, the author once again reviewed the CLC procedures with three staff members who were unable to attend the morning session.
3. Passenger registration
Check-in and boarding took place in Terminal 1. A small passenger service office, located behind the check-in counters of Mexicana de Aviacion, was located in the Vuelos Nacionales section (domestic flights) of Terminal 2, while the operational office was located behind. security checkpoint and on the side of the ramp of terminal 2. A free passenger shuttle, which runs periodically, connected the two buildings with the designated departure points of the terminal. Terminal 3, designed for international flights, was scheduled to be completed in March 2007.
Passenger handling services / on-duty director of Maca of Austrian Airlines in Cancun, a licensed air traffic controller, scored 15 years in the aviation and aviation industries and was proud to follow the rules.
Check-in was at the recently rebuilt, but reduced, hurricane-damaged Terminal 1, which was then occupied only by charter carriers such as Miami Air, First Choice, Air Transat and Corsairfly.
Passenger check-in began three hours before the scheduled departure time of the flight in 1640 on the counters, which were just a few meters from the entrance to the terminal. All passengers, in accordance with Mexican safety regulations, are required to conduct a manual baggage inspection prior to actual check-in.
Five places of registration were used: one for the Amadeus class (business) and four for the economy salon. The head of the passenger service and the business class check-in agent spoke Spanish, English and German, and the choice of seats provided by the MaestroDCS system, as well as any authorized upgrades, was agreed with the tour representative whose company chartered the flight.
The registration itself was done using the MaestroDCS system. During the trial, the passenger asked for a wheelchair, and it was immediately provided.
4. Boeing 767
The flight to Cancun was performed by a version of the Boeing 767-300 with extended range, the second of two tensioned fuselages, options for greater payload, the general design features of which included the following.
General description: Wide body, twin-engine, cantilever, low-wing monoplane semi-monk design, designed for commercial passenger and cargo and military needs.
Fuselage: aluminum alloy, solid construction.
Wings: they use modern skins made of aluminum alloy, which have 31 degrees of wiring and six degrees of dihedrality.
Tail: A regular outfit with surfaces on the horizontal and vertical tails.
Chassis: a hydraulically retractable, three-wheeled chassis with a two-wheeled Menasco wheel retracted forward and two four-wheel pneumatic Cleveland main gearboxes retracted inward. Both were equipped with Honeywell wheels and brakes.
Engines: two aerodynamic turbofan with a high bypass ratio mounted on the pylon to the front edge of the wing.
Design features: replacing the 727 with a large capacity, wide body, it was nevertheless optimized for sectors of route 727 with the possibility of single-end transcontinental range. At its initial stage of development, automated design (CAD) was used, the cost of which was reduced due to the parallel development of 757. Although it was not considered a single-pass aircraft, it introduced a narrower fuselage cross section than previous wide-body types, giving several benefits, including reduced parasite resistance; a two-aisle cabin in which passengers have never been in one place away from a window or aisle; compatibility of gates and ramps at smaller airports similar to 727; and advanced lightweight aluminum alloy flight surfaces, in particular fixed front side wing panel, spoilers, ailerons, fixed rear side wing panel, chassis doors, elevators and steering wheel.
Additional benefits were derived from the use of a supercritical wing, such as a high aspect ratio, aft section, developing greater lift with less resistance than in any previous wing, 22 percent thicker than in the previous decade. airliners, lighter and simpler design and larger fuel tank capacity.
Working with two turbofan with a high bypass ratio, it was able to offer higher thrust, lower specific fuel consumption, less noise, lower maintenance costs and increased reliability.
Like the simultaneously designed 757, it was guided by a two-man cabin crew.
Using a previously dry fuel tank with a central cross section, Boeing was able to offer an extended range version that required several other modifications, but the inherent extensibility of the fuselage, great capabilities of the existing wing and tail, the overall rating of the 757 pilot and its extended twin-engine certification DC-10 and L-1011 aircraft.
It offered the optimal range and capacity for Austrian Airlines ’transatlantic charter operations to and from Mexico.
The OE-LAX-registered aircraft, powered by two high-bypass Pratt and Whitney 4060 fans, Pratt and Whitney 4060, was first delivered in 1992 and had a serial number of 27095. Placed 30 Amadeus business-class passengers in , two-two-two, configuration and 200 in economy mode in a seven-sided arrangement with one extra seat in the middle shore, it featured the following maximum weights: 130,634 kilograms of zero fuel, 145,149 kilograms of landing, 186,880 kilograms of takeoff, and a ramp of 187 333 pounds.
Operating as flight OS 9573 from Vienna, Austria, and Varadero, Cuba, the aircraft landed in 1515 and took off at Unauthorized Bridge Place 1, as planned, in 1520. It was hacked and the safety cones were properly positioned. At the door of the L2 was immediately placed a ladder truck, which in accordance with Mexican rules headed to this position. The passengers disembarked after a brief consultation with chef de Cabine (the main customer).
According to the Inlet Container / Pallet Distribution (CPM) report, the following load devices (ULD) for Cancun were on board: empty DPE at 11L, AKE baggage at 22L, 23L and 24L and empty DQF at 43. For except for the latter, all were in the front compartment and were single or half-width containers. The last in the aft hold was double or full width.
6. Gate of departure
All five exits were immediately on the escalator, through the checkpoint, and within walking distance. Two eateries and two shops contained the convenience of terminal passengers.
Due to the proximity of aircraft parking spaces, buses and mobile halls were not needed, and access ramps led from the level of departures to the ramp.
Consecutive boarding on a flight running OS 9574 began in 1545 with messages in both English and German, and resulted in boarding of passengers, followed by business and economy class Amadeus, the last in line numbers, starting from the back of the plane.
Landing control was computerized, seat numbers were entered into the system. After the last passenger passed through the gate in 1612, the general declaration and all the necessary lists were handed over to the cabin crew. As the Varadero station changed some locations, the report of the location (or SOM) of the passing passengers in Vienna was not entirely accurate and led to several discrepancies, but local ground staff quickly corrected them.
7. Centralized load management
In accordance with the centralized load control procedure for charter flights, the cabin crew sent the final fuel figures to Vienna via the Aircraft Communication and Reporting System (ACAR), and local operational staff completed and faxed a pre-printed letter with the passenger results. zone, along with the number of bags and their weight, they were all provided by the MaestroDCS registration system and sent by phone to the Terminal 2 operations office. Backup sheets were available in the event of last minute changes (LMCs) or ACARs failure.
Although initial difficulties with faxing delayed sending information to Vienna on the day of my visit, missed Atlantic tracks in the meteorology folder caused a short 15-minute delay in sending.
All of Cancun’s ground operations staff were professional, dedicated and motivated, and obviously possessed considerable knowledge and experience. Because the recycling company’s operating office had to be relocated from Terminal 1 to the then-current Terminal 2 facility due to hurricane damage, the logistical problem could only be solved with ground vehicles, but otherwise the operation was good. organized. The head of the Maca service was an excellent asset for the station and his team, and the use of German at the reception was a plus for Austrian Airlines passengers.
Cancun’s charter flight that day could not have been performed more smoothly.