When you’re a medium-sized charter airline and half your fleet spends months operating half a world away, keeping up-to-date with regulatory changes is not always easy.
Within months of introducing Web Manuals’ technology to digitise and distribute its operational documentation, however, Lithuania-based Small Planet Airlines is already seeing the benefits.
The independent leisure carrier has sister-companies in Poland and Germany and is seeking an AOC in Cambodia. It operates a fleet of around 21 Airbus A320-family narrow bodies.
Its work is heavily seasonal, which means that after the northern hemisphere summer season has ended, half the fleet heads for regions such as the Middle East and Far East on ACMI work. This means that personnel – and manuals – are widely scattered.
Like many airlines, Small Planet previously used Microsoft Word for documentation editing, with multiple tools such as DocLogix, Dropbox and e-mails being used for distribution. This caused considerable complexity and confusion in the company and had to be improved, says Algimantas Verdingovas, head of the airline’s IT Department.
Small Planet signed up with Web Manuals in summer 2016, with the Lithuanian operation going live in October; the Polish and German operations started using it in Q1 2017.
There was an instant reduction in the time needed to keep manuals up-to-date and compliant, adds Verdingovas. “There were three to four persons per company – nine to 12 in the group – involved in document editing and it took around 20% of their time. Web Manuals will allow us to reduce this to three to four people throughout the group.
“Web Manuals enables us not only to edit and manage operational documentation but also standardise it within group companies. Once all documents are edited and managed from one platform, it will be much easier to maintain a common standard within the three group companies.
“We normally issue revisions to operations documents every three months; this involves 40 to 60 revisions within the group per year. During the summer, we have around 900 crew members and this drops to about 400 in winter. The Web Manuals system really helps ensure proper document distribution and to deal with these fluctuations in crew numbers.
“Manuals on aircraft are uploaded to electronic flight bags and crew use their personal devices, when off-duty, or log in to the system using a web browser.
“Since we started using Web Manuals it’s easier and faster to manage operational content, easier to distribute data to flying or administration personnel and easier to monitor ‘Read’ acknowledgements.
“We found the system simple to introduce as it is not complex. Users loved it from the first minute. If we have any suggestions for companies planning to adopt Web Manuals, it would be to involve all stakeholders in the project from the first stages to ensure their buy-in.”