airBaltic’s ground team gets off to a flying start with Microsoft Teams and Power Apps

Thanks to the digital solutions implemented by Digital Mind, the ground-handling unit of the Latvian airline airBaltic has started using mobile devices to perform its duties, thus saving 1,000 paper prints. Accounting data entry time has also been reduced from 2 days to 15 minutes. Combining Power Apps and Microsoft Teams, the airBaltic team has worked with Digital Mind experts to develop tools that optimize shift work organization, reporting, and document reconciliation. In this way, airBaltic demonstrates a passion for aviation, a commitment to customer service excellence, and a focus on innovation.

Since 1995, Latvian airline Air Baltic Corporation AS (airBaltic) has become one of the most successful low-fare network airlines in Europe. “We deliver, care, and grow,” says Arturs Erdmanis, Head of Riga Ground Handling at airBaltic. “We dedicate ourselves to providing consistent excellence in everything we do, in every aspect of our business.”

In spring 2021, the company transitioned the entire ground handling service at the Riga airport to an in-house team. “We started to look for digital solutions to enable our home-grown handling team to function efficiently,” says Erdmanis.

The goal was to empower the new hires to be their best selves at work with digital tools. “We needed one system for shift planning, preparing post-flight reports, as well as issuing and approving documents and manuals,” explains Ilona Petersone, Head of Business Technology at airBaltic IT department.

A jet-speed digital overhaul

The airline had only six months to hire nearly 150 people and train them on the new Microsoft Teams platform. “It was the one communication tool we needed for the whole company. Teams would enable our ground team to view and swap shifts through their mobile phones as well as request time off via their mobile devices,” says Petersone. “They would also be able to do post-flight reports on the go.”

The company first obtained funding from Microsoft to quickly launch and validate the project without purchasing licenses. With consultancy experts from Digital Mind, airBaltic built a scheduling module in Power Apps and deployed it via Microsoft Teams. The combined platforms have enabled multiple functions, namely: document read and sign, approval and flow, and file sharing through OneDrive. “With Power Apps, our in-house analysts team could build apps independently and quickly.”

More flexibility, higher efficiency

The airBaltic ground team can now easily manage their shifts on their mobile phones. “It’s been more convenient for everyone. When a swap request comes in, it’s sent automatically to the right people for approval,” explains Erdmanis. “We can also send notifications to those who need to take action and close the case when everything is ticked off.”

The new tools have also saved time on shift planning and payroll integration. “We used to need two days to input all employees’ details into the accounting system. Now, the automated process takes about 15 minutes,” details Erdmanis.

With the new solution, the ground team now submits post-flight reports immediately, with photos. “The information is stored in a database and can be exported into Excel,” explains Erdmanis. “Our supervisors then filter through the information and view any issues or improvements without having to ask someone. It’s been so much more efficient.”

All this digitization has allowed airBaltic to go paperless and drive sustainability. “Our vision sees airBaltic becoming a sustainable carrier in the European Union’s aviation market,” shares Erdmanis. “With post-flight reports, we’d normally have 1,000 pages printed each month. Now, we have none. Instead, selected reports are emailed to our managers automatically.”

Looking to the future, airBaltic plans to roll out the implemented modules in other departments, including the Call Center and Technical department. “We perform similar work there, and we are still using manual processes now,” says Petersone. “We are digitalizing their processes to reduce paper usage and become greener. There are many things to improve, and we’re getting there, step by step.”

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We help large and mid-size organizations implement sustainable business practices by digitalizing their core business processes. Our process digitalization solutions support environment–social – governance strategies and let clients in various industries focus on sustainable financial growth, the well-being of their employees, and making a positive impact on society.