IFR France, based at the Toulouse-Blagnac international airport in France, provides multilingual global solutions to over 70 airlines worldwide. IFR's Operational Planning solution (KEOPS), developed in Visual LANSA and LANSA for iSeries, offers flight scheduling, crew management and operations control. Corsair International, a leading charter airline in France, has implemented KEOPS and achieved significant efficiencies.
Michael Benhamed, IT Manager at Corsair, explains, "We need a reliable system that can keep pace with our growth. KEOPS is powerful and responds to all our needs. LANSA and the iSeries are very scalable and easy to look after. We run our aviation systems day and night and reliability is crucial. We have over 350 desktops connected to the system and one person spends less than 30 percent of his time looking after the system. It just works."
Based on Invoice Management alone we had a Return on Investment in about three months
IFR France launched its COBOL-based Aircraft Maintenance and Spares Information System (AMASIS) in 1987 and quickly became a leader in the aviation market. Modules for Catering and Revenue Accounting followed with equal success.
Having gained years of experience and proven its capabilities in the aviation industry, IFR saw an opportunity to offer a complete airline operations system, including flight scheduling, crew management and operations control.
Hervé Le Roy, founder of IFR France, explains, "In today's rapidly globalizing and extremely competitive aviation industry, automation is crucial. Many of our customers were dealing with aviation systems that did not offer an integrated solution for flight scheduling, crew management, payroll and global ticket reservations."
When IFR started to make plans for the development of a full operational aviation system, the task seemed too big and complex for development in COBOL.
"We need our solutions in French, English and Spanish," continues Le Roy. "We had catered ourselves for multilingual deployment in COBOL, but was a lot of work. We were looking for a way to develop software more easily and more productively."
"We had a look at several development tools. LANSA's productivity and strength in multilingual development was our major reason for selecting LANSA."
We started developing KEOPS 12 years ago with LANSA for iSeries and we can now use the same LANSA skill set for graphical Windows development
Keys for Operations & Planning System (KEOPS) is a complete and integrated LANSA solution that provides the spine of airline operations. Modules include Quotations, Operations, Flight scheduling, Crew scheduling, Post-flight statistics, Crew management, Ground staff, Direct operating costs, Communications and Fleet ground positioning.
KEOPS provides operational and financial control and allows for hypothetical flight schedules and budget simulations. Its communication module, connected to SITA's dedicated network mainly used by Airlines and their suppliers, automatically sends messages to remote parties, such as crew, services, suppliers and airline authorities.
KEOPS integrates with COBOL-based solutions from IFR, including AMASIS for aircraft maintenance and spare parts management, CANOPES for catering and in-flight sales management, and RAMSES for revenue accounting and statistics.
IFR solutions can be deployed on iSeries, NT with Oracle and in ASP environments.
Le Roy says, "LANSA is very productive and also caters very well with multilingual and other local issues, such as decimal point or comma and presentation of dates."
"LANSA is as reliable in a graphical Windows environment as it is in the native iSeries environment. Automated functionality and reliability are key in aviation systems."
"LANSA shields our developers from technical and platform complexities. This means that we can focus on the business functionality of the solution. Although the majority of our customers have iSeries systems, it is comforting to know that LANSA does not lock us into the iSeries environment."
LANSA is very productive and also caters very well with multilingual and other local issues
Corsair carries over two million passengers a year and operates five Boeing 747s (580 seats, two Boeing 737s (173 seats) and two Airbuses A330 (355 seats). Corsair uses all IFR software modules and has been using KEOPS since 1991.
"We manage all our operations in KEOPS," explains enhamed. "It is our core information system that integrates with our Finance and Payroll systems and with SITA's GDS global ticket reservations system."
"We schedule all flights about five or six months ahead of the season and KEOPS calculates expected costs for each individual flight, itemized for cleaning, fueling, baggage handling, catering, landing fees, taxes and so on. When we receive the invoices, usually over 30 and not until two months after the flight, we can match the actual costs with the expected costs."
"KEOPS helps us to find invoice errors and offers an automated way of claiming the overcharged amount. On average invoices are overcharged by one or two million EURO per year. The savings in Invoice Management that we achieve with KEOPS are enormous. Based on Invoice Management alone we had a Return on Investment in about three months."
"We have a very good overview of expected costs for each season. And at month, KEOPS gives an exact overview of expenses made but not yet invoiced."
"Scheduling is a very complex tasks that must take many parameters into account. KEOPS scheduling facilities helps us get the best possible take off and landing slots at airports. Poor flight scheduling can cost market share and cause unnecessary expenses as airport operations and crew costs are much higher at night. Airlines can only apply once or twice each year for take-off and landing slots, so it is important that your schedule is optimized."
"KEOPS has a graphical interface for flight scheduling, cabin and cockpit crew planning and operations. We can view a single chart that shows the flight, forecast of number of passengers, type of flight, timing, name of the captain and other details."
"Cabin and cockpit crew activities are managed in KEOPS, but the actual payroll calculations are done in the payroll system. Based on flight details KEOPS calculates daytime working hours, nighttime working hours and overtime hours, if any, and provides this information to our payroll system. The easy integration makes crew management and payroll a very easy process."
"A powerful function in KEOPS is its integration with SITA's Global Distribution System (GDS) for ticket reservations. Travel agencies interface to SITA via systems like Sabre, Amadeus or Galileo. They can see our stock of available seats and decrease stock by selling tickets. We interface to SITA using GDS and GDS interfaces directly with KEOPS."
The graphical interface lets us view a single chart with all flight information. KEOPS is easy to integrate with SITA's global system for ticket reservations
"Our next project will be the implementation of a data warehouse," says Benhamed. "The data warehouse will help us to consolidate information in a single database and support management in decision making. KEOPS is really the core of this warehouse as it contains all operational and financial information about all flights, with some additional information from Finance and Maintenance systems. The data is complete and reliable and very valuable to us."
"We started developing KEOPS 12 years ago with LANSA for iSeries and we can now use the same LANSA skill set for graphical Windows development," concludes Le Roy. "LANSA keeps evolving and KEOPS keep evolving. We have consistently provided two new KEOPS releases every year."
"LANSA is very productive and easy to learn. This is important for profitability of a software company. We had an increase of 70 percent in business several years in a row with only a 15 percent increase in staff. Efficient development is key to this."
Company and System Information
- Corsair International was founded in 1981 and is now one of six airlines in the Nouvelles Frontires group, the largest French tour operator. This group is itself part of the German TU,I group.
- Corsair has three model 270 iSeries and an IT department of six provides user assistance, network administration and configuration.
- For more information visit: www.corsair.fr
- IFR France is a leading supplier of aviation software. Its 70 customers include Aeroflot, Aircalin, Air Caledonie, Air MACAU, Bangkok Airways, Britair, Luxair, Middle East Airlines, TunisAir, Vietnam Airlines, the French Navy and many more.
- For more information visit: www.ifrfrance.com
- KEOPS customers include Aeromar (Mexico), Aigle Azur (France), Air Calin (New Caledonia), Air Gabon (Gabon), Air Mediterranee (France), Airlinair (France), Bangkok Airways (Thailand), Cameroon Airlines (Cameroon), Corsair International (France), Eagle Aviation (France), Euralair Horizons (France), Karthago Airlines (Tunisia), Nouvelair Tunisie (Tunisia), Ocean Airways (France), Syrian Airlines (Syria), Tarom (Romania), Wanair (French Polynesia).
- Find out more about KEOPS