The aviation industry has significantly advanced and progressed throughout the world due to a global rise in travel and passenger demand. To accommodate a seamless and efficient flow of the increasing number of passengers, various services, systems, and facilities are continuously under the planning, testing, and development phases.
Over the years, this has resulted in optimizing many new processes, operations, and technological advancements at airports throughout the world. Opening new opportunities ensure the airport operations are carried out in a reliable, systematic, and well-organized manner.
Out of the many factors contributing to the successful and uninterrupted flow of airport operations, one of the most crucial ones is ORAT, which aims at bridging the gap between the construction and operation phases.
What is ORAT in aviation?
ORAT (Operational Readiness and Airport Transfer or Operational Readiness Activation and Transition) is the proven methodology to carefully manage the successful transfer of a new or a substantially upgraded facility, project, or service from its construction stage to the active live operations.
In terms of aviation, ORAT is the integrated framework and recognized approach that de-risks the activation of new and complex airport services and facilities, helping in a smooth and seamless transition from a static state of construction completion to a dynamic state of operations.
The objective of ORAT, in simple terms, is to be able to operate a new facility or project on an opening day as if it has been in operation for years. ORAT anticipates every situation or emergency that may arise after the contractor is gone and helps keep the operators and airport owners prepared. As ORAT is a change management process, it is implemented as early as during the planning stage and throughout the design, construction, and transfer phases.
Engaging the stakeholders from the initial stages eases the common understanding of project objectives and aids in the knowledge of operational readiness and transition of operations. This ensures that an airport maximizes the potential and return on its investment from day one and decreases the risk of changes during construction, thereby reducing the post-opening modifications.
What does an ORAT manager do?
The complex endeavor of giving new facilities a smooth activation with only one chance to get it right on the opening day requires the involvement of experts and methodical and timely preparation. The challenge of starting a new project or facility without any unnecessary delays and risk-free calls for adequate planning, training, and practice by the airport owners, operator, and aviation partners.
Implementation of ORAT requires close collaboration between dedicated teams of experts and airport end-users, along with the investment of time and resources. The team of experienced subject matter experts works directly with the airport stakeholders to track performance and development, coordinate actions, and prepare themselves to overcome obstacles.
ORAT can be piloted either internally or by external consulting firms, depending on a range of factors, including airport and project size, project complexity, and experience.
Readiness and airport transfer
Owing to its significance, ORAT should be integrated into the early stages of planning and must always be safeguarded from construction delays and commissioning. As this methodology can be applied to make a wide range of facilities and services fully operational, ranging from baggage systems and passenger terminals to entire airports, thorough discussion and training becomes even more critical.
This calls upon the challenge of bringing hundreds of new processes, technologies, operations, and stakeholders together on the same page in order to build confidence for a coordinated and transparent approach to operational readiness.
To ensure that airports reach their full potential and the involved teams maximize their returns on investments from the first day of operation, it is essential to collaborate and align with the new working environment and airport operations. This includes risk mitigation which must be effectively managed in order to avoid the negative impacts of a failed or problematic opening and the associated reputational and financial damage.
This is achieved by project management teams, operating teams, and the stakeholders engaging in the change management process from the most initial phases to be familiar with the new regulations, systems, and equipment, new requirements for employers, and the new queries from passengers that follow.
Another factor ensuring smooth readiness activation and the transition is repeated trials, rehearsals, and testing every detail over and over again, from developing new operational processes to facilitating staff training programs, to find and fix problems early, build confidence and prepare the airport staff to perform on the first day perfectly without any issues or trouble.
This aids them in preparing operational procedures, contingency, and emergency plans, training, and familiarisation sessions accordingly.
Why is operational readiness important?
Operational readiness considers the delivery, commissioning, and transition of a new project, along with the required training and staff preparation for operating and maintaining the project in the best manner to achieve the desired outcome. Operational readiness begins as a planning function early in the project lifecycle and includes tasks such as site acceptance testing and system integration testing.
Operational readiness is essential and critical because it ensures the operationally complex facilities are ready to operate efficiently from day one by identifying risks and gaps and then addressing them accordingly. Therefore, it focuses on the dynamic state of a business operation rather than focusing only on the construction, delivery, and completion of a static asset.
Therefore, the central aim of ORAT is crucial for successful operations, and its importance should not be underestimated. Integrating all the diverse moving parts into one cohesive process by preparing for the end-user environment as an integral part of project management is the driving force behind ORAT operations. This helps determine the readiness state of an organization.
By including ORAT instead of the basic form of project activation, the process of readiness activation and transition becomes smooth, and its benefits outweigh the potential consequences of not including such an approach.
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