SriLankan Airlines wins National Best Quality Software Merit Award

Thursday, 21 October 2010 03:32 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

SriLankan Airlines sprang a surprise on the country’s IT Industry by winning a Merit Award at the National Best Quality Software Awards 2010 (NBQSA), which honours innovations in Information Technology.

Even more impressively, the award was for ‘In-House Software Development,’ underlining the superior expertise of the National Carrier in cutting-edge technology. The award was for the ‘Fuel Management Information System’ which was developed to support the Airline’s efforts to reduce fuel costs and aircraft emissions. The awards are presented annually by the Sri Lanka section of the British Computer Society, the Chartered Institute for IT.

This is the third award won by Sri Lanka’s National Carrier in recent months for technological development. In June, SriLankan Airlines won a Platinum Award from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as one of the first airlines in the world to introduce a major innovation to tickets, part of its determined efforts to enhance passenger convenience.

Meanwhile, SriLankan’s GreenSHeet Business Intelligence Initiative has been chosen as one of the top five Breakthrough Business Intelligence Initiatives in the world and been shortlisted for the prestigious CIMA Global Awards in London in November. The awards are organised by UK’s Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), and the winners will be announced in London on 22nd November.

SriLankan’s Head of IT Kamal Nanayakkara said: “These awards demonstrate the exceptional level of expertise that SriLankan Airlines possesses, and is proof of the international-level products that we produce for the Airline. It’s a great achievement to be ranked on par with so many of the country’s leading IT specialists and universities.”

SriLankan was the only airline among 43 contestants who participated in the NBQSA competition, most of whom were specialised companies in the IT industry, universities and a few mercantile firms.

SriLankan’s Manager Aviation Fuel Captain Anushad Liyanagoda said: “The system has been an invaluable asset to our work in reducing fuel usage which is the Airline’s major cost, plus controlling aircraft emissions. We had stringent requirements for the aggressive fuel savings that we were targeting. So we did a complete study benchmarking the most sophisticated systems in the world, and held discussions with the finest IT and aviation vendors. But we found that our own SriLankan staff could do the job and also achieve a huge saving for the Company.”

The awards were presented at a glittering ceremony at the Grand Ballroom of the Galadari Hotel with the participation of more than 400 leading professionals in the IT industry.

Chamara Perera, Manager IT Business Relations, said: “The key elements that made the project an overwhelming success were the full participation of the users, the use of the best development methodologies, and a process of coding, testing, programming and quality assurance that is on par with international standards and best practices.”

The requirement for a Fuel Management Information System was keenly felt during the years when the cost of fuel was at an all-time high, and the entire air transport industry was scrambling to reduce fuel costs which were driving many airlines bankrupt. SriLankan saved more than half a million dollars by carrying out the project in-house, and designing a system of such a high standard that it could even be marketed to other airlines.

When the Airline commenced its Planet Friendly Flights programme last year, the system was enhanced to deal more comprehensively with aircraft emissions, which became a key factor with European Union environmental regulators who made such a system mandatory to monitor carbon emissions and threatened the industry with heavy financial penalties for non-compliance. This also allowed the Airline to monitor the performance of each aircraft in the fleet and even each aircraft engine in order to further optimise fuel usage.

One of the features which most impressed the judges was the ability for the system to download information directly from an aircraft’s Aircraft Communications Addressing and Recording System (ACARS), without any effort on the part of the pilots.