Hey folks, I’m Harri Valkama and I joined Airpro at the beginning of Feb as a Digital Transformation Lead. My background is in digital development and at my former employee Finnair I was responsible of the digital onboard experience for the customers.
Now that I have some months of experience working at Airpro it’s great time to sum up what I have seen, heard and learned. And by no means I can say that I now know the industry. When I came from quite complex airline industry I though it should be quite straightforward at Airpro, “it’s not rocket science to do ground handling”. Oh boy… I was wrong about that. When my onboarding started, and all the information was poured to my head (in couples of weeks) it was quite a “reality check” and shock to realize that I don’t know nothing about this industry even I have worked last 18 years in aviation business.
Digital transformation golden era at ground handling business
Luckily, I got hold of the things after couples of months and now I’m super stoked that I joined Airpro right at this time. We are living the digital transformation golden era right now in the ground handling business! It would have been shame to come and see that the table is served ready, and you just follow up the status quo. But no way, there’s so many possibilities to make things smoother, leaner, and more optimized with digital tools and systems.
With our Digiteam we have been visiting quite many different business units last month or so. We have been chatting with people and asking the challenges they have in their daily jobs and what they would do differently. The same message comes often that there are a lot of manual work, pen and paper, all sort of excel files that takes the time from the actual work we should do. And that is actually, music to my ears because it means our team can really help Airpro to become better and make people’s life easier.
When I have talked with peers from other ground handling companies in the world, I have learned that they have the exact same situation. They have a lot of manual work and they are now taking the digital leap, like we are. Actually, the pandemic has been the driving force for the change. When the ramp-up started after pandemic there was a massive shortage of work force globally and companies really needed to be creative to support the returning passengers. This meant digital solutions, automation, and utilization of data to survive in the market where recruitment was very challenging.
This is just the beginning
Today at Airpro, we have seven digital development or ICT projects ongoing same time. And as a relatively small company that is huge investment in digital transformation. I’m super happy to see that our top management is committed to take Airpro to the next level! We have already delivered the new resource optimization tool for resource planners and the feedback has been great. When measuring the amount of time needed for resource planning we are moving from “calendar to clock” so to say. We are also already testing a new digital timetable planning and operation tool in Helsinki security. It’ll soon go live and replace the old printed excel file. That is also a huge improvement and has been well received by the supervisors and coordinators at HEL SEC.
To wrap up my thoughts. I’m very positively surprised about the speed we are changing the industry to more digital direction. It’s been a super exciting spring for me and a steep learning curve of course.
Thanks to amazing colleagues it’s been so fun!