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up. Mark Walls, Managing Director for OCS Aviation and Gateways, said: “Cleaning an airport terminal is rather like cleaning a 24/7 shopping centre with a large secure zone in the middle. The demands of aircraft cleaning are totally different and this requires having the right number of people in the right place at the right time. We understand that each has its unique challenges but that there is one thing in common: complete customer satisfaction.”

Keeping an aircraft clean is a procedure which must be executed with military precision and impeccable attention to timing and detail. The average cleaning time for a scheduled flight is 30 minutes and, when faced by unpredictable external factors such as delayed flights and adverse weather conditions, this can be reduced to as little as seven minutes. Added to this is the fact that OCS aircraft appearance teams provide much more than a standard cleaning service by carrying out a ‘secure clean’ aircraft service.

Alongside the core cleaning tasks, OCS teams are trained to carry out the vital function of searching for items left onboard which could pose a security threat. Every square inch of the passenger and crew areas must be checked for any suspicious objects that might represent a security risk. This requires meticulous attention and commitment from every team member, and any ‘found property’ is handed immediately to airline security. This ensures that airlines are fully compliant with security standards both at home for the Department for Transport and internationally to meet stringent standards such as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the USA.

A capacity for flexibility is an essential component to reduce downtime and to maximise the time spent achieving the necessary service standards. Walls explained: “We work with the airports and airlines on weekly, monthly, and annual projected schedules but sometimes such as busy times of the year and in inclement weather, this can just go out of the window. You can have 20 aircraft arriving at the same time, and

none an hour later. Experience has taught us how to manage our operations in a smart way in order to meet the business criticality of the airlines.”

The company’s resource allocation system links directly into flight schedule information, providing the ability to deliver expertise and equipment exactly where and when it is needed. Team leaders are equipped with PDAs, which means that workload can be managed remotely with constant updates and analysis. The system also provides real- time management information, including digital dashboard reports on productivity and quality standards. Through continued investment in people and equipment, ever-higher levels of quality and comfort are achieved.

The knock-on effect of unpredictable external factors also means that frequently OCS aircraft appearance teams find themselves rubbing shoulders with a whole host of other people who are vying for space and time to get their own job done: the airline caterer bringing on food trolleys, the maintenance engineers fixing seats, the loading and unloading of the baggage handlers. Here, once again, the task requires an additional set of key skills which include teamwork, communication and co-operation, and so training to develop the knowledge and experience of staff is a top priority for OCS’s Aviation and Gateways team.

The sharing of best practice is also supported on a global scale. Walls summed up the OCS model for


excellence by saying:

“The OCS group operates worldwide in four regions, which

are linked through development

groups for each of

the company's service lines. We have an aviation

group whose focus is to

ensure that we share best practice in aviation services across all of the regions. We've been working in aviation in the UK for nearly 50 years now, from when we first started cleaning aircraft at Gatwick.

“The aviation team meets once a month via online meeting with representatives from each of the regions, and ensures global best practice is shared as well as adherence to the very highest standards of customer service and innovation. But ultimately, our success is down to our excellent reputation in the UK aviation market as a result of the hard work and dedication of our experienced teams and the strong relationships that we have built with our clients.”

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