TUS Airways: Fleet Change during a World Pandemic

Elisabeth Manoli TUS Airways

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TUS Airways discuss with Web Manuals at Go Digital how they were able to overcome document and compliance challenges when doing a fleet change during a world pandemic.

Since TUS Airways joined with manuals in January of 2020, the world turned upside down. Yet, TUS Airways have since successfully done a complete fleet change, implement Web Manuals perfectly, really adopted to its full potential, and your team has overcome every challenge that the pandemic has given us.


Elizabeth Manoli, Safety and Compliance Manager at TUS Airways

“I’ve been at TUS for two years. I was initially brought in as a consultant, and then I became the safety and compliance manager. I have quite extensive experience in the aviation industry working for a number of airlines. Originally, I was an HR manager. Then, that kind of moved into safety and compliance over the years. I used to manage a company that did document management and SMS implementation for airlines. We would write manuals for airlines because it obviously took time off personnel within the airline. We had a number of clients that we used to do the manuals for and so I did that for quite a long time. Then a new airline was being formed in Cyprus so I joined that airline from the beginning to set everything up and get the management system and the documentation suite in place. Unfortunately, that airline ended up closing. But just a couple of months later, I joined TUS, as I said, as a consultant, and now I’m safety and compliance manager.”

“So TUS as a Cypriot-based airline has had an AOC since 2015 with its first flight in February 2016. And as you mentioned, we recently had a fleet change, to operate Fokker aircraft due to a number of reasons. There was a new business model and a decision to change fleet, which was during the pandemic, actually, that this all happened. So yeah, we now we’ve just registered our first A320 aircraft and we’re planning to start operations in June.”

When did you first hear about Web Manuals?

“I actually heard about Web Manuals when I was working in the company doing document management solutions back in 2016. I think when Web Manuals was quite new – one of our clients, a Swiss executive jet company had decided to go with web manuals. So I was brought over to Switzerland to attend a week’s training to learn the system. Then I would manage their documents using Web Manuals. So I learned about Web Manuals quite early on, actually, but then I didn’t get involved with Web Manuals again until two years later.”

What made you decide to go with Web Manuals at TUS Airways?

“We had a system that we used for distributing documents, but it didn’t have any kind of management of revisions or approval processes. It was just uploading documents, so it didn’t have any of the inbuilt revision systems.”

“I think for us, we’re all about going electronic and trying to reduce the amount of time we do things when setting up systems that can assist us so web manuals was a great option for us because once you’ve converted your documents and they’re in the system, the actual management of them is a lot easier and takes less time. So because we were going to have to change all of our manuals for the new fleet that was coming in, it was a good option, and good timing for us.”

“Another reason was also compliance because it’s a lot easier to control whether your manuals are complying with the regulatory requirements by having your links with the compliance links in the system, but also making sure that your manuals all sing the same song.”

“So if you’re writing something in your ground ops manual, you want to make sure you’ve got the same in the ops manual for the crew. This is important. With web manuals, we’ll be able to link the interlinks within the manuals, which is a huge help. Because before, unless you have your own server where the manuals are up, and everybody has access to this, but it’s impossible. So the interlinks have also helped greatly.”

“And I think the biggest thing is probably the revision process, it just makes it so much easier. Because when you’re doing things in Word, and you have to just change the header of one page or add your revision line – Okay, you can use track changes, but still it’s Word and it’s not very user friendly for doing that. It’s, it’s difficult to get it right 100%. So yeah, these are the reasons we went for Web Manuals”

“We’ve seen the change since we’ve implemented with Web Manuals, and even though we only have our new issued manuals, that hasn’t been out for long, we’ve already started revisions. Obviously, with an airline even not flying, we constantly have changes. So we’ve actually put that to the test and done a few revisions and seeing how quick it is.”

What were the first steps when implementing Web Manuals?

“Originally, we discussed our requirements and what we would like to configure the system.”

“We had a visit, it was pre-COVID. We managed to have an on-site visit, with a consultant from Web Manuals where we sat down, we did training for everybody. Then we sat down and worked out exactly what we wanted the system to look like in terms of folder structure, access, rights, messaging, etc. And to be fair, it’s changed quite a bit since the original configuration, because as we’ve used it, we’ve noticed things that we need to do differently. But we’re learning. I message support constantly and you know, get responses quite quickly as well, which is good, because that’s the only way that we can truly understand the system and use it fully 100%. Because we don’t want a system that we only understand a bit of it. So I don’t hesitate to contact support when needed.”

“I think we’re on a good stage. Now. We’ve got more to do. Definitely. I feel that but we’re where we’re at a level now where people are seeing what they’re supposed to see people are getting messages where they’re supposed to. Documents are available and people can access them. And it’s the correct revisions.”

What were your plans pre-COVID? And how did they change?

“The decision to change fleet was pre-COVID. By then we’d actually stopped operating with the aircraft we had because we were in the process of phasing those aircraft out to bring in the new aircraft.”

“What happened when COVID was here is everything got delayed, which is probably what happened in most companies, and we obviously couldn’t operate because of COVID. The whole process of getting everything finalized and getting everything in place took a lot longer. And we ended up having some changes in the management team as well during that time, so we had new management brought in from November of last year. When the new team came in, that’s when things kind of picked up pace. We, within a period of about a month and a half, we worked fully to produce the new suite of manuals which was kind of on standby most of last year, because things were quite uncertain. So in a very short period, we had to produce these manuals and submit them to the authority, which we managed to do. And thanks to Web Manuals, I had an intern working through the summer to get all the manuals imported. So they were there and some of the abbreviations and the links were set up. But the real work then happened from November for a month and a half of full working in Web Manuals. Obviously, the team that came in had not been trained. So we had to train them as well. And now they use the support function too haha. But they picked it up very easily. They found it very user-friendly. And yeah, we managed to get the manuals in.”

“And we received approval for all of our manuals, today, actually, we reinstated our AOC with the new fleet type and now have the aircraft registered. So everything’s green light.”

How did you overcome the challenge of working remotely?

“Due to government restrictions, only a certain percentage, a very small percentage were allowed to be in the office. And so it was done pretty much remotely, people coming in every now and again, but it didn’t seem to be an issue. I think everybody got used to working remotely and using, you know, teams and zoom and all the other functions that are out there. And with Web Manuals as well, we could have multiple users working on one document. And it didn’t, it didn’t cause an issue. So we managed to coordinate. I think we overcame the challenges because we were using electronic systems. That and because we have Web Manuals, the manuals, talk to each other, it assisted, everybody could see what the other person was doing. So it helped us a lot.”

“I think if we’d have had the process of ‘writing manuals in Word, downloading it as PDF and sending it back and forth over email’ in place, it would have slowed us down a lot. I don’t know if we would have achieved the level of quality that we achieved in Web Manuals in the time period required.”

How have you used Web Manuals for document checklists?

“We only have a test at the moment, but we’ve integrated Web Manuals with our IQSMS system, which is what we use for compliance and safety.”

“For example, I did a full audit checklist of the manual suite against the regulations ORO and CAT. And I was able to produce a full checklist of where everything was documented. And this is a huge help because being able to go through each step of the regulation and produce this checklist. I’ve never done it. I’ve done it in pieces, but never all together for one document. It took a bit of time. But because of the linkage in Web Manuals and the ability to produce the checklist, it was great.”

“Now what we’re doing is linking that with our audit function. So when we do the preparation for the audit, and most of it’s already done in terms of documentation, all the auditor needs to do is double-check that the document reference is correct. And because we get notified by both systems if we have any updates, we can see where we need to change documents. So I think moving forward, it’s going to assist us greatly in our audit function.”

How do you see Web Manuals supporting TUS Airways moving forward?

“I think the big thing for us now is the EFB because all of our crew have iPads. They’ll be accessing documents through the Web Manuals system, which they do already, but it will also be offline during flight. So we’ll have to test this and see how it works. And I think using the operationally critical documents filter and seeing how that works.”

“And so this is our next big challenge is getting everything set up to start flights and actually using the iPads during flight and see how Web Manuals works on the iPad.”

“We have a forum for feedback. So we’ll give you our feedback when we receive that as well.”

“I think moving forward, that’s going to be huge assistance is having the manuals offline and making sure they have the latest versions. And obviously, as I said, linking IQSMS and Web Manuals so we get a smooth linkage across, to receive where each regulations documents in the manuals. We’re still working on getting that right.”

What are TUS Airways plans ahead? What is the long term vision for the airline?

“So we actually we’re going to start flights in June, actually. Schedule-wise, we’re hoping that the situation improves all around and we can have full aircraft of people that want to fly and come to Cyprus. Our destinations are basically Cyprus and Europe and Israel and the Greek islands, of course. Our plan is to have another aircraft as well, joining the fleet for the summer, and hopefully grow over time.”

“You know, we’re all watching the pandemic to see what happens, but it seems that now with the vaccinations, starting to take effect, things are improving. Fingers crossed, we can start getting back to some kind of normality at some point in the not-so-distant future.”

Finals words

“I think just on what you’ve mentioned, one of the big things we found was very helpful was the search and replace function. Because wherever we had the previous fleet, we could easily replace it with the new fleets. And the same with job changes to job titles.”

“And when you are going through a big change, and you have Web Manuals, I think it just makes it all easier, because you can, you can make these changes very easily. And obviously, the changes attract easily.”

I think going forward, as I said, we started making revisions, but we’ll get better hopefully, at the time of doing this and it will be easier and smoother. But yeah, we’re looking forward to putting it to the test and actually operating with Web Manuals, not just being an airline that has aircraft on the ground.”

“Hopefully the next seminar that you’ll be doing, or conference, will be in person and we’ll be able to actually meet and do live presentations.”

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