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42 ACAA maintenance departments as needed. After complet- process begins with a nonexclusive gate. Within 2 weeks, ing the first overhaul, a carpenter was added to the team. ALS replaces the airline PBB with the previous overhaul; The crew of seven could complete an overhaul in 5 weeks, therefore, the downtime to the gate is the time required to assuming five 8-hour days per week. remove the old bridge and install a new bridge--the previ- ously overhauled bridge (not the time to overhaul). In other words, a particular PBB does not go back to the same jetway, INNOVATIONS TO PBBS AND PARTNERSHIP WITH JBT but a similarly overhauled PBB in the "zero-timed" condi- AEROTECH tion is installed. The PBB rehab crew members took great pride in their craftsmanship and began to work closely with the original manufacturer, JBT Aerotech, on safety and operational improvements to the PBBs. These included improved energy-efficient lighting, a new radius strip in the PBB rotunda that eliminates a tripping hazard, and changes in the mounting position of cameras to improve visibility of apron-level activity for operators. The crew also worked with JBT to develop kits and modifications that make bridge maintenance easier and reduce downtime. Many materials and fixtures were purchased from local vendors to decrease shipping costs and support the local economy. The ongoing working relationship with JBT continued to develop. After the first eight PBBs were overhauled, JBT was impressed with the quality of work. JBT and ACAA FIGURE 36 Truck delivery of a passenger boarding bridge for began discussing a partnership whereby JBT would pursue overhaul. jetway rehabilitation work at other airports and deliver the PBBs to Pittsburgh; ACAA then would offload the PBB into As of fall 2010, the first two bridges from other airports the facility, complete the overhaul, and place the PBB back had arrived. If the schedule increases sufficiently, the over- on a truck for delivery. JBT would supply all the parts, using haul facility is large enough to accommodate a second track. stock and materials from regional vendors. The second track would be operational during the day shift so that managing staff can oversee both tracks. A formal agreement between ACAA and JBT was signed in 2010. JBT will deliver bridges east of the Mississippi to the Pittsburgh Jetway Rehabilitation Facility for overhaul. LESSONS LEARNED ACAA is optimistic about this unique venture and oppor- tunity for a new revenue source for the airport. The venture The Pittsburgh Jetway Rehabilitation Facility is an excellent makes it possible to use in-house staff and expertise to help example of ingenuity, careful planning, and reuse. There are other airports extend the lifetime of their passenger bridges. several important takeaways from this case study. For PIT, the saving on PBB overhauls is considerable. Pittsburgh's experience demonstrates that out of a major shift in the airport's operating paradigm came innovation OPERATIONS TODAY and entrepreneurial opportunities. The Jetway Rehabilita- tion Facility is a business that grew out of a Pittsburgh air- ACAA is now responsible for the maintenance of all PBBs port initiative to reduce costs. The ACAA had the foresight at the airport. The ALS Department coordinates with the to have a passenger bridge inspection and overhaul program airlines and adjusts its schedule based on their needs. Regu- in place prior to when US Airways discontinued hubbing lar maintenance activities can take place while the bridge operations at the airport. A willingness to explore options, to is hung and in place on the Airside Terminal (see Figure analyze and make a business plan, to employ a skilled (and 36). There is no need to take it to the overhaul facility. The available) workforce, and to continue excellent relationships overhauls are planned a year in advance and coordinated with contractors made it possible for ACAA to take on main- with the airlines. ALS determines the schedule based on the tenance of the airport's jet bridges and automated baggage PBB condition and discusses this with the airlines. To date, system. What started as a cost-reduction program led to an no airline has turned down ALS for overhauling one of its entrepreneurial effort that continues to develop. As the Jet- PBBs. When an overhaul is required, it typically impacts way Rehabilitation Facility developed a track record, deliv- the airline gate for only 1 to 2 weeks because the overhaul ered a quality product, and the capacity to handle steady
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43 demand, ACAA entered into a publicprivate partnership ships with suppliers, contractors, and vendors and was not with JBT. afraid to ask questions about how to overhaul PBBs and to explore component and process improvements. The Jetway Use of available technical expertise, skilled workforce, Rehabilitation Facility was a start-up venture that began as and local suppliers can provide both key personnel and com- an in-house cost-reduction program. Overhaul of its own munity economic benefit. The Jetway Rehabilitation Facility PBBs made it possible to calibrate the staff and resources is an excellent instance of a difficult situation turned around. needed for each rehabilitation project and to better under- The expansion of the US Airways hub at PIT resulted in a stand the economics of the business. It was this detailed highly skilled and experienced aviation workforce that was experience and a good relationship with JBT that made it eliminated during US Airway's two bankruptcies and dehu- possible for ACAA to market this service to other airports. bbing. The PBB rehabilitation project re-engaged some of this workforce and provided an important platform to sup- The commitment of the management team and staff is a port local vendors through the purchase of needed materials key ingredient for success. The ALS Department with the and products. support of ACAA pursued innovation, quality workmanship, lower cost, creative equipment solutions, and determination The transition of functions from private capacity to gov- to make the venture work. That no airport had ever taken ernment capacity required time and patience. The evolution on PBB overhauls seemed to inspire and allow the team to of the Pittsburgh Jetway Rehabilitation Facility took more analyze carefully, ask good questions, continually improve than 5 years. During that time, ACAA enhanced its relation- processes, and motivate each other.