Two months in my own project work and my ProTeam friends don’t even understand anymore what I am talking about – so intensely have I adapted to the language of “Ground Ops”. Ground Operations – this is where all operative processes around aircrafts are steered and planned. After having studied law and completed a PhD this is exactly where I wanted to start working and learning how an airline such as LH functions.
„Yesterday“, I said to a ProTeam friend, „I had to go on the ramp“, which evoked but a questioning gaze from her: „To the ramp?“
The project I am currently part of and which consists of four team members deals with aircraft cabin cleaning, a process which needs to be performed once any aircraft has landed. As a project team we aim at harmonizing processes for all three hub airlines (Austrian, Lufthansa and SWISS) and improving quality monitoring leading to quality optimizations.
Taking extremely short ground times into account and considering that cleaning is not only performed in Frankfurt but at all destinations LH group airlines fly to, this project challenges us a lot: several hundred destinations, several hundred different cleaning providers and an equivalent amount of different contracts and barely no time for either staff or local LH employees to check whether cleaning hast been performed thoroughly, for boarding starts right after cleaning.
A typical day for me consists of phone calls, meetings in small and large groups, reading and writing a lot of emails and, as already mentioned, visits to the ramp. There and also in general we try to be in touch with flight attendants as much as possible. One way is through a newly developed app which replaces a paper based feedback process on cabin cleanliness. And all of sudden I am confronted with questions regarding frontend and backend of our app as well as interfaces to other apps and databanks – topics which after a while I am surprisingly able to contribute to and where my opinion is valued. After just a couple of weeks I would not have imagined this to be possible. Unless unusual questions or issues pop up, a normal day would continue with calls with “Vienna” and “Zurich”: Modalities of whether LH has to sign off cleaning services – and again: worldwide, for three different airlines. A task which is not easy but the very reason why I enjoy my work that much. I cover but unknown ground whilst being granted a lot of freedom by my boss.
I am writing this article looking at the ramp, where my plane is almost ready for boarding – the cleaning staff are just leaving. I will be flying to Munich where we are going to try something very innovative, a trial run at Lufthansa Cityline which I will have to organize.
Meanwhile over lunch I have explained the term „ramp“ to my colleague, using even more – to her – unknown words: “The ramp is where the aircraft goes “on blocks”, where guests de-board, where it is cleaned, filled up with fuel and prepared for the next flight until it is ready to go “off blocks”.”