Is the LOOP data distribution channel the disruptive technology airlines and airports have been looking for?

Nov 05, 2020

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It’s a familiar story: As a business grows, processes that one day start out simple can quickly become much more complicated. Duplication and errors start creeping in, creating deep inefficiencies that can start to affect productivity on an exponential scale.

Having been close to the airport finance sector for many years through our industry-leading AirportCharges platform, RDC has been heavily exposed to this common story and the problems it creates in one key area: The distribution of key financial data within the operator-airport billing world.

The LOOP platform is at the start of a journey that is bringing together different sectors of the aviation industry by facilitating the seamless distribution of time-sensitive and financially-critical data. LOOP’s first major role is to streamline the distribution of verified, billing-ready fleet data between operators (typically airlines and business jet charters) and the airports on their network.

Understanding the issue

Airports request fleet and other information from their operators to help ensure they are billing correctly. This could span tens, if not hundreds, of carriers which ultimately resolves to thousands of airframes’ worth of data being submitted to them every year. These submissions might be in the format they define, or they might not. They frequently contain errors which all need to be resolved by hand before being loaded to internal finance systems. This all takes time.

Operators on the other hand are required to submit data to every airport on their network. As many airports are requesting different formats, this can mean managing tens of copies of what is essentially the same information about their fleet and ultimately costing time with a lot of duplicated efforts. Not to mention the need to manage a book of relevant contacts for all their flown-to airports, and a calendar of required submission dates by airport.

The solution

It became clear to us that there is a better way, and that we could apply our technology expertise to provide a solution which introduced vast improvements for everybody.

“In understanding this problem space here at RDC, we knew we could turn to our technology expertise to design a solution that counters those inefficiencies and enables people to focus on the things that really matter.”

Adam Kendall, Head of Technology

LOOP, powered by RDC’s new Q services, is a brand-new, technology-driven platform built to facilitate the distribution of financially-critical data within the aviation industry. Starting with the operator-airport billing case, we’re building a seamless new way to connect publishers (owners) and subscribers (receivers) in a secure and trusted way.

LOOP offers operators one place to securely manage and publish their fleet data to all airports on their network, whilst airports now have access to the data they require for billing in one location, in the format that is right for them, complete with verification by RDC to ensure accuracy, eradicating a lengthy manual task.
 

Meeting core principles

In developing LOOP, we knew we had to meet some important technology principles that were laid down by our key partners right from the beginning. We had to ensure that the platform provided:

  • Security - of loading, management and access to data
  • Permission - providing operators full control over where their data is shared
  • Scalability - to support the growth of users
  • Ability to integrate - to ensure data is compatible with and/or accessible by existing systems
  • Extendable - to facilitate growing features and new use cases beyond fleet in the future

LOOP’s underlying technology - a series of independent, microservices built on our Q platform - ensures that the above principles are built into the very foundation of the platform from the beginning, and that we’re able to meet the changing demands of the publisher-subscriber community as it grows.

Security

LOOP, built with RDC’s new single sign-on identity platform, implements the very latest security standards for user logon and API authentication. Our backend services are built using Microsoft Azure’s enterprise-grade cloud infrastructure that ensure secure management of resources and storage of data through high availability data centres.

Permissions

We ensured right from the start that LOOP’s data management backend is built to support various permissions. As the platform grows, it will handle a whole manner of permission scenarios that provide full control to the user, from defining access at a company and user level down to individual fields or records of data.

Scalability

The technology platform, aided by Azure architecture, is ready to handle the growth challenges of a community-driven, but heavily data-based system. Whether it is increased usage through more users, more data or more integration, LOOP is well-positioned to match users’ demands.

Ability to integrate

LOOP and the underlying Q platform are API-driven - ensuring that as the platform grows it will be able to facilitate an increasing number of individual use cases. More data provision and extraction methods will become available through an ever-growing selection of integration opportunities, from specific data export formats to direct integration from/into third-party systems.

Extendable

As LOOP eyes ambitions beyond basic data access and the billing fleet data use case alone, the architecture of the platform and RDC development methodology is such that new features and new use cases can be explored and delivered to users more efficiently than ever before.
 

The opportunity: Efficiency through technology

LOOP has arrived at where it is today because our eyes are kept open: to the needs of our customers and by being aware of the challenges, enabling us to bring forward solutions that ensure a solid foundation for its future, and more importantly the future of its stakeholders.

By applying technology to this arena, LOOP confidently presents operators and airports a stark new opportunity: To stamp out the complications of a legacy process and instead introduce significant efficiencies to a core part of the airport-operator billing relationship. In today’s times, these efficiency gains cannot surely be ignored.

Adam Kendall

Author

Adam Kendall
Head of Technology

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