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RFID Tracks Safety Equipment for Fiji Airways

The airline finds that safety equipment inspections, which previously took hours per plane, can now be accomplished within a few minutes using a UHF RFID solution from EAM Worldwide.
By Claire Swedberg
Sep 18, 2017

Fiji Airways reports that it has made in-cabin inspections of emergency equipment faster and more efficient across its fleet of 15 airplanes, with the use of radio frequency identification technology. The company installed the RFID system across its 4,000 pieces of emergency equipment this year, and indicates that its inspections can now be accomplished within a matter of minutes aboard a single aircraft.

The system not only makes inspectors' work faster and less error-prone, the airline reports, but also prevents flight delays that could result from delayed emergency equipment checks, according to Marco Andreacchio, the senior project manager of EAM RFID Solutions, a division of EAM Worldwide, the company that provided the technology. The solution consists of tags affixed to emergency equipment, handheld readers to interrogate those tags, and software residing on Fiji Airways' server, provided by EAM Worldwide. In the long run, the airline intends to use the technology not only to make inspections faster and more automatic, but also to collect historic data for analytics purposes.

Fiji Airways is an international airline based in Nadi that flies to 10 countries, including the United States. On monthly and weekly intervals, the airline conducts inspections to monitor the presence and condition of in-cabin emergency equipment, as well as any expiration dates. Prior to the RFID system's installation, each inspection ranged from 90 minutes for small aircraft to eight hours for larger planes, in order to ensure that all equipment was in place and in proper working order.

Fiji Airways began investigating in RFID last year as part of its Air Management Oversight System (AMOS) implementation. Mid-year, the airline began working with EAM Worldwide to develop a solution at the RFID company's Dubai office. EAM Worldwide had already been providing Fiji Airways with its RFID-enabled life vests since 2009.

The airline rolled out the technology in January of this year, beginning with a week-long training program for approximately 60 employees, who learned to use the technology on a variety of aircraft. Most of the equipment needed to be tagged. Fiji Airways applied William Frick and Co. ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags compliant with the AS5678A specification. Life vests already came with EAM Worldwide tags embedded at the point of manufacture.

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