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AGS Airports improving the process of granting crane licenses

Crane and Aeroplane


With a high volume of air traffic going in and out of airports, construction firms operating within a six-mile radius need to apply to that airport for a permit – should they wish to erect a crane. For the internal teams based at each airport - it’s a time-consuming practice, but a necessary one that’s vitally important to maintain safe air travel for all. 

The problem 

At all airports owned by Lion & Gazelle’s client, AGS Airports, the process of managing crane permits, Airport side, was one that was historically laborious and manual. 

When a request was put forward by a construction company, each airport had to email a form, which, once filled in by the crane operator, was returned to the airport. It was then circulated across various internal departments for approval and in some cases to National Air Traffic Services – which, as you can imagine, is a time-consuming process in itself. It was common for different departments to have questions, and want these answered before granting approval, increasing the time requirement before the permit could be granted. 

In short – the process was time consuming, required lots of liaison, emails, manual data entry, and transfer of information between different systems and parties. 

During the time taken for all of the above, the construction company who had submitted the request had no knowledge of its status, which on occasion could delay projects and cause frustration for external parties. 

For our client there was an added layer of complexity, in that they own three separate airports, each of which had their own different process in place. 

To simplify the process for all involved and create a standardised system for the wider group of airports - they sought to make this process more efficient and easier to manage.  

Our solution

We designed and built a PowerApp for AGS Airports that automated the process of granting crane permits. First of all, we mapped out the process, learning where we could use automation to lessen the administrative burden. 

The PowerApp works like this: permit applicants are now directed to an online form which, once submitted, triggers notifications to all the relevant required approvals, both internally and externally. Once all approvals are granted, the PowerApp automatically sends an electronic permit to the applicant, although they can check its status at any given point throughout the process. 

But that’s not all it does. The PowerApp has transformed the way in which the Group, and each airport therein can access information in relation to crane permits. Records are collected and organised for easy access and displayed in different ways, for example, plotting licensed cranes on a map. Using the information it gathers, the PowerApp allows reports to be easily generated, like for the use of internal audits, for sharing data with NATS, or for external audits carried out by the CAA. Whilst at first glance it’s a niche area of an airport’s operation, it’s actually a vital part of its security and the teams need to be able to access records – both current and historical – quickly, and accurately. 

By automating so much of the process, there is less opportunity for human error – meaning that, thanks to the PowerApp, the client can be confident in the information it has to hand.

PowerApps is a tool that allows you to build automations for day-to-day processes, in many cases harnessing the power of AI and digital to remove manual tasks from team members. This was the case for our client, for whom the new process and automation has generated cost and time savings and unlocked new reporting capabilities to make life easier for everyone involved. 

Kirsteen MacDonald, Safeguarding Manager at AGS Airports said: 

“For us, this project has streamlined our existing processes and made things vastly more efficient. It has eradicated the space for human error, made the Crane Permit Lead’s lives easier, and changed their job by storing all details and the audit trail in one place. 

Added features like the automatic conversion of measurements and map display also standardise the data and make it easier to access. It has been a worthwhile undertaking for all.”

Expert comment from Stan Ahmed at Lion & Gazelle

“Whilst the creation of a PowerApp sounds like a sizeable investment, it’s actually something that most companies already have within their Microsoft Licensing agreement. This means it’s relatively affordable for companies to appoint experts like ourselves, to set it up. Once we’ve mapped out the process in question, the build of the PowerApp can take as little time as days or weeks. 

The short setup time and relatively low costs mean that our clients usually see return on investment quite quickly, given the efficiencies that the PowerApps generate. From a process improvement perspective – it’s definitely a ‘quick win’ in terms of unlocking better ways of working.”


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