Airport Operations is a relatively new addition to the aviation sector. Formed in 2019, and headquartered in Essex in the UK, it offers both consultancy services and resources to airport operators looking for specialist help. The last few months have been incredibly difficult for everyone involved in aviation, but Airport Operations has fought through
Airport Operations Limited director Kieran Meikle explains that, while its payroll is small, the team is composed of “highly experienced airport technical experts [who] have many years of delivering safe operations at regional and international airports”. It currently has a staff of five, with numerous self-employed trainers and consultants giving support as required.
“We believe in providing only the best people, equipment and services to improve safety and performance and to reduce carbon emissions for all of our airport customers,” he adds.
The company offers a range of services designed to take the strain from airport managers. It can provide personnel for all airside operations and safety roles, including accountable managers, safety managers, wildlife control operatives, marshallers and stand planners.
Plus, its testing team can undertake runway friction testing, MALMS (Mobile Airfield Lighting Monitoring Testing) and rubber removal. As well as completing such work, it can also train airport operators’ own staff to do so.
The Airport Operations compliance support team can advise on procedural requirements and certifications, while its Airside Operations Supply Chain (AOSC) service delivers products at the best prices available. In fact Airport Operations claims to be “the UK’s only dedicated online retail and just-in-time logistics service for airport operations”.
“The driving force behind setting up Airport Operations Limited was my frustration in having minimal time to manage multiple departments and budgets as head of operations, security and safety manager at London Oxford Airport,” recalls Meikle.
“My team and I at Oxford were always frustrated that there wasn’t a single-point supplier that could support airside operations and safety. The amount of time dealing with supplier after supplier for everything from marshalling bats to safety and security consultancy took a huge amount of time and negotiation. Frequently, trying to find the right product took considerable effort. Airport Operations Ltd aims to resolve those very issues.”
While Airport Operations itself is new, its team has plenty of experience: more than 30 years of it, says Meikle. “We’ve managed EASA [European Union Aviation Safety Agency] certification, airspace changes and runway extensions, we’ve managed projects like remote towers, radar installations, runway resurfacing and we’ve battled the weather during winter operations.”
Of course, it has not been an easy time for Airport Operations, just like the vast majority of businesses involved in the aviation industry this year. Having been running for less than 12 months – and five of those under the Covid-19 crisis – Airport Operations has nevertheless supported one company with the start-up of an aviation security training organisation and also offered ongoing support to offshore island airports.
“But the good news is that as of today we are officially the exclusive agent for AES/Airsafe Aeronautical Ground Lighting in the UK,” confirmed Meikle in July. “Recent AES installations have included Leeds and Farnborough. In addition, as of today we are official UK agents for RJA Corporate Aviation Security as well; RJA already supports Lydd, Oxford, Lasham and Farnborough airports and we are supporting them with their expansion plans,” he adds.
Airport Operations’ customers include airfields big and small, and it can offer support to airports right across the world. It has active ongoing enquiries in the Middle East and the UK.
Meikle continues: “As airport managers ourselves we are obsessed with our customers’ needs, whether these be training, continuous improvement of their safety management systems, the provision of outsourced and fixed price airside operations and safety personnel, or the supply of airfield lighting.
“Our team members are curious and continually looking for safe, certified innovate solutions that reduce the operational cost or operational efficiency of airside operations. We ensure all of our services meet the highest standard whether that be training to Highfield Accreditation, or the certification of equipment to ICAO/FAA/EASA [International Civil Aviation Organization/Federal Aviation Administration/European Union Aviation Safety Agency] standards to improve quality and safety.
“We are a small organisation at the moment but we think big and take bold decisions to support our customers.”
The Covid-19 crisis has offered limited opportunities in its own right. For example, throughout the pandemic, Airport Operations has continued to support existing customers with ‘return to operations’ equipment and planning, and worked to support clients to reduce their GSE fleets. In fact, as of July, it had over a hundred pieces of used GSE serviceable and available for sale. Furthermore, “We have used the time to improve our training products, operational services and our product range,” says Meikle.
In the round, “We understand the complexities of airside operations and accept the challenge to reduce our customers’ workload, costs and emissions whilst increasing safety and efficiency,” he concludes.